I haven't had time to listen to the entirety of the Charlie Sykes interview of The Donald, but from all reports it didn't go well for Trump. There are links to the audio of interview all over the place, but I haven't been able to find a transcript yet. Patterico has a few quotes:
“Is this your standard?” Sykes asked. “That if a supporter of another candidate, not the candidate himself, does something despicable that it’s okay for your personally –a candidate for president of the United States– to behave in that same way? I mean, I expect that from a 12-year-old bully on a playground. Not someone who wants the office held by Abraham Lincoln.”
“I did a retweet,” Trump said. “And it was art by someone else.”And regarding Trump's record for business:
“Your wife is a beautiful, classy woman, why can you not say the same about Ted Cruz’s wife?” Sykes asked.
[*I don’t know Ted Cruz’s wife. I’m sure she’s excellent though. I don’t know her, but you know, all this was was a response to what he did.]
In response, Trump explained that his decision to tweet the photo of Cruz’s wife grimacing was a very “mild” response.
“I didn’t even know it was necessarily a very bad picture of her versus [my wife] Melania,” he said.
“Why shouldn’t conservatives here in Wisconsin think your claim to be a conservative is just a giant fraud?” Sykes asked.As damaging as this stuff is, the larger problem for Trump is that it reveals something that people need to understand -- he doesn't do his homework. Trump was completely unaware that Charlie Sykes has been opposing Trump pretty much from the get-go and if he'd even bothered to do any rudimentary research, he would have understood the landscape and avoided Sykes entirely. For a guy who has overseen as many enterprises as Trump has, you would think he'd have information at the ready to counter such questions. Attention to detail isn't his thing, though.
“As a businessman, I never even thought about all the things you’ve talked about,” Trump said before lauding his past business successes.
“You’re not answering my question,” Sykes responded.
“I am a conservative,” Trump said. “I’m not so conservative when it comes to the pure aspects of trade… I believe in free trade, which is nice and conservative,” he said before repeating his usual talking points about being a tougher negotiator with other countries by threatening to implement costly tariffs on imported goods.
“It’ll never happen,” Trump said of a tariff. “But you have the threat out there.”
“Well you’re a much better negotiator than I am,” Sykes said. “But you just said it’ll never happen, so you’ve basically said your negotiating ploy is a bluff.”
Which brings up another point -- Trump has a big problem looming with keeping his delegates in line. Ace Commenter Chuckwagon Boy brings to our attention a Politico piece that describes how Trump is winning the votes, but losing the count:
More than 700 GOP activists are running for the state’s 34 delegate slots (34 more will be elected as alternates). Steve House, Colorado's GOP chairman, has put all of their names, phone numbers and candidate allegiances on the state GOP website, which shows Cruz with more than 100 would-be delegates in his corner, compared to just over 70 for Trump.Ted Cruz has his faults, but he's a smart guy and he pays attention to details. He spends a lot of time doing the blocking and tackling, building the local networks and getting the support of the party organizations at the local level. Colorado is a key state and Trump not having an organization to woo the party activists shows that he doesn't understand what it takes to win. The popular vote doesn't mean much if it doesn't translate into delegates.
“Cruz has the activists behind him, it’s pretty clear,” Penry said.
On Saturday, Cruz drew 71 percent of the more than 1,000 ballots cast in an unofficial presidential straw poll at the El Paso County GOP assembly, the largest county Republican gathering in the state. Trump, meanwhile, drew 18 percent, and Kasich won 11 percent.
“Trump has no operation here. Zero,” Murray said. “I see no evidence of organization from him. I see evidence of support; there are a lot of people who support him. There are people organizing and strategizing about slates at the county assemblies. I’ve seen no one from Trump.”
We're at a point where things could change. Watch carefully.