It seems more and more likely that Donald Trump will be the GOP presidential nominee. And so the hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts has been paying keen attention to when Trump will announce who will be helping him to hammer out his foreign policy platform.
As it turns out, it has been very easy to keep track of Trump’s public promises and pledges on this question:
1. Sept. 16, 2015: At that night’s GOP debate, Trump promises to put the “finest team anyone has put together” on foreign policy.
2. Sept. 21, 2015: Trump promises Hugh Hewitt on his radio show that he’ll be announcing his foreign policy team “very soon.”
3. Throughout the fall: Trump names foreign policy people as advisers; those people say they have not talked to the candidate.
4. Feb. 9, 2016: Trump promises Fox News Channel’s Martha MacCallum that he’ll name his foreign policy team, saying, “I’m gonna release a list in about two weeks.”
5. Feb. 17, 2016: At an MSNBC town hall event, Trump says, “I’m going to be announcing a team in about a week that is really a good team.”
6. March 2, 2016: GOP foreign policy experts release a petition stating that they are “united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency.” That list is now at 117 people (full disclosure: I am one of the signatories).
6. March 3, 2016: Trump responds to Mika Brzezinski’s question on “Morning Joe” about his foreign policy team and when he’ll announce it by saying, “I’ve met and I’ve spoken to the team. I’m going to do it shortly.”
7. Later on March 3, 2016: Trump names a chairman of his national security advisory committee. It’s Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Admittedly, as Reuters reports, “Sessions is not known as one of the party’s leading foreign policy voices in the Senate.” Still, it’s … a name! So all Trump and Sessions need is an actual team!
8. March 8, 2016: Again on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Trump offers what might be the quickest flip-flop in campaign history:
“Yes, there is a team,” Trump said, before reversing himself within seconds, “There’s not a team. I’m going to be forming a team. I’ve met with far more than three people, and I’ll be forming a team at the appropriate time.”
Pointing to Sessions, “who wasn’t on board the last time I spoke to you because he just endorsed me last week,” Trump said he is “dealing with numerous other people,” adding that he will be making a decision “in a fairly short period of time.”
Which brings us to — scans news feed — the present moment. By my count, Trump has broken at least three explicit promises to name his team by a certain date.
Now far be it for me to distrust a man who blatantly lies about his own brand-name products, but I’m beginning to suspect that maybe, just maybe, Trump is not going to be naming his foreign policy team anytime soon. It’s almost like he can’t close the deal with anyone who knows anything about international relations, like they know his foreign policy proposals are unworkable or something. Sad!
Fortunately, the hard-working staff at the Truman National Security Project have created a clock to keep track of how long Trump has made this promise and not kept it:
So in case you’re wondering whether or how Trump will honor any foreign policy pledge he has made during this presidential campaign, remember that he has not kept the one concrete, tangible promise he has made during this election cycle.