Back in 1989, I was among a group of finalists from all over the country for a prestigious television fellowship in Boston. That I was even in the room was a testament to my determination. But the paucity of my preparedness for all aspects of the process, particularly the boardroom interview filled with industry professionals, was painfully apparent. I was literally shown the door.
That still-humiliating experience flooded back Wednesday night as I watched Donald Trump’s disastrous and disqualifying performance at the NBC/MSNBC “commander-in-chief forum.” Over the course of 30 minutes, the Republican presidential nominee demonstrated why he should never, ever be commander in chief.
Trump praised the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin while denigrating that of President Obama. “Certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” Trump said. Heaven help the Democrat who would so much as even cast a favorable glance at the leader of Russia. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, was right to call Trump’s remarks “unpatriotic.”
Trump stood by an incredibly ignorant three-year-old tweet about sexual assaults in the military. It said, in part, “What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” When NBC’s Matt Lauer pushed him on it, Trump said, “Well, it is, it is a correct tweet.” No, no it’s not. Not then. Not now.
Trump incorrectly mansplained (is that redundant?) to a female veteran struggling with PTSD about the number of veteran suicides.
Trump violated all sorts of protocols when answering a question about what he has learned in his national security briefings.
LAUER: Did you learn anything in that briefing — again, not going into specifics — that makes you reconsider some of the things you say you can accomplish, like defeating ISIS quickly?
TRUMP: No, I didn’t learn anything from that standpoint. What I did learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts and our truly — when they call it intelligence, it’s there for a reason — what our experts said to do.
TRUMP: And I was very, very surprised. In almost every instance. And I could tell you. I have pretty good with the body language. I could tell they were not happy. Our leaders did not follow what they were recommending.
And then there was Trump’s pablum on generals being “reduced to rubble,” his erroneous suggestion that his still-secret Islamic State strategy would be implemented by “probably … different generals, to be honest with you” and he posited that the United States should have broken international law and kept Iraqi oil because “it used to be to the victor belong the spoils.”
At that forum, Trump displayed the same lack of preparedness and seriousness that was overshadowed during the crowded debates during the primaries. And it illustrated for all to see that the man who has run a racist, xenophobic and misogynistic campaign for the presidency is neither fit nor ready nor prepared to be president of the United States. Ever.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj