Quotes him word for word: In an obvious attempt to embarrass Candidate Trump, Maggie Haberman has quoted him word for word.
She did so for the New York Times. She quoted part of what the candidate told John Dickerson in an interview which will be broadcast tomorrow on Face the Nation.
Trump was discussing his recent chat with Chris Matthews about abortion law. Believe it or not, these are accurate quotes. Nothing has been left out:
HABERMAN: [Trump's] comments Friday are likely to give fresh ammunition to conservatives who are eager to make abortion illegal, and who have been skeptical of his conversion from an abortion-rights Democrat to an anti-abortion Republican in the last several years.Those are accurate quotes from Candidate Trump. Except for one tiny error, that's a word-for-word transcription of what he actually said.
“A question was asked to me,” Mr. Trump told the CBS host John Dickerson. “And it was asked in a very hypothetical. And it was said, ‘Illegal, illegal.’ ”
He added, “I’ve been told by some people that was an older line answer and that was an answer that was given on a, you know, basis of an older line from years ago on a very conservative basis.”
To watch the videotape of Trump's exchange, you can just click here. This is a slightly fuller transcription of his colloquy with Dickerson, which started with the CBS star playing an obvious game:
DICKERSON (4/1/16): Let me ask you a question about abortion. What would you do to further restrict women's access to abortions? As president.Trump could see where Dickerson was going with his slippery question. He could see that the CBS star was playing a slick old game.
TRUMP: Look, look. I know where you're going. And I just want to say—
A question was asked to me. And it was asked in a very hypothetical. And it was said, "Illegal, illegal."
I’ve been told by some people that was a older line answer, and that was an answer that was given on a, you know, basis of an older line from years ago, very—on a very conservative basis.
DICKERSON: Your original answer, you mean.
TRUMP: My original.
Trump answered in his native tongue, a Queens-inflected version of Stengelese. Playing Dickerson's slippery game, Haberman simply wrote down the very words Trump had said.
She transcribed his remarks word for word. She performed no translation service.
Because Haberman played this slippery game, it will seem to New York Times readers that Trump said the following:
It will seem he said that a question was asked to him "in a very hypothetical." It will seem he also said that "it was said, 'illegal, illegal.' "
From there, it will seem that Trump explained what he's been told about his own statement to Matthews. It will seem he said that some people have told him that his unspecified statement "was a older line answer," "an answer that was given on a, you know, basis of an older line from years ago, very—on a very conservative basis."
In search of elementary fairness, let's make a few observations:
Some conservatives favor "English only" for the nation's civic events. Defiantly, Candidate Trump has generally tended to insist on speaking his native language.
Casey Stengel invented the language, developing it from years of watching Abbott and Costello perform the old vaudeville standard, "Who's on First?" Inevitably, Haberman knew what to do when Trump spoke his language this day:
Slickly, the baby-faced Times assassin wrote down the words he had said!
What's in a word: At Face the Nation's official site, Jake Miller reported on the interview.
Here's how Miller reported the session. With genuine sorrow, we'll highlight one puzzling word:
MILLER (4/1/16): Trump sought to clarify his position during an interview on Friday with "Face the Nation" moderator John Dickerson. The interview will air, in part, on Sunday's broadcast.Trump "explained?" Out of all the gin joints in the world, why would a journalist decide to walk into that one?
"A question was asked to me. And it was asked in a very hypothetical. And it was said, 'Illegal, illegal,'" Trump explained. "I've been told by some people that was an older line answer and that was an answer that was given on a, you know, basis of an older line from years ago on a very conservative basis."
Trump has spoken his own native language at many points in the past nine months. Journalists generally react this way, by pretending they haven't noticed the world-class incoherence.