It's much harder to interrupt someone on the phone than it is to do so in person.
Think about it. Think about how many times you've been on the phone, waiting to ask a question, waiting for an opportunity to get a word in. You can't rely on physical cues to signal that you have something to say, and attempts to interject may not be heard by someone in the middle of a sentence.
If you're someone who'd rather not be interrupted, that's a handy feature to keep in mind.
Here, for example, was Trump calling in to CNN, as recorded by the New York Times's James Poniewozik. Poniewozik describes Trump's ignoring the host's rejoinder as "steamrolling;" it might better be described as "willfully ignoring."
During his phone interview with the "Today" show, he did the same thing. You can see it at about the 1:45 mark in this clip, but the exchange with host Savannah Guthrie, centered on whether or not Trump supported a ban on assault weapons, went like this:
TRUMP: People need protection. They have to protect. So the bad guys will have the assault rifles, and the people trying to protect themselves will be standing there with a BB gun. So I do not call for that at all. And Hillary Clinton is...GUTHRIE [interjecting]: Can you think of an instance where somebody on the good side used an assault weapon?TRUMP [ignoring her]: Look, she's the wrong person, she's the wrong person at the wrong time. She does not understand the issue.
That doesn't do it justice, really. Guthrie starts asking her question as Trump is saying "So I do not call..." The overlap between the two is extensive.
It's perhaps not a coincidence that both of these instances concern a talking point that Trump has used a lot over the last few months, but which was apparently contradicted by what happened in Orlando.
For some time, Trump has insisted that during the attacks in Paris last November, having guns pointed in the other direction (that is, at the terrorists) would have decreased the death toll. (Why weren't those guns pointed the other direction? Because, Trump says, France is "one of the toughest gun control countries in the world.") As the CNN host notes, though, there was an armed guard at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. There should have been, in other words, bullets flying in the other direction (though it's not clear whether they were). Guthrie's question gets to the same point; Trump doesn't answer it.
Trump is by no means the only candidate to use call-in interviews. In recent weeks, Hillary Clinton has done several, including on "Today" on Monday. The fact that Clinton is doing interviews at all is an improvement over her reluctance to hold press conferences over the past few months. But the argument still holds: The weird power dynamics that are in play when a member of the media interviews a newsworthy politician are shifted toward the latter when he or she gets to opine remotely.
Consider what happened when Trump sat down for a television interview with CNN's Jake Tapper earlier this month. The situation was a bit different; this was not a brief discussion but an extensive interview. However, Tapper was able to press Trump on his comments about the judge overseeing the Trump University case more than 20 times, with Trump unable to ignore or deflect. Part of that was Tapper's insistence. Part of it was that Trump couldn't simply hang up.
Oh, he's done that, too. Interviews for print publications like The Post are different beasts, since they're not live. But when we asked him to explain his having acted as his own publicist in the past, Trump hung up on our reporters.