Donald Trump's Iran idiocy: The interview that should have ended his candidacy once and for all

In a CNN interview, Donald Trump lays bare exactly why he would be such a disastrous choice for president

Published February 5, 2016 9:54PM (EST)

In this photo taken Dec. 21, 2015, Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump addresses supporters at a campaign rall in Grand Rapids, Mich. The former reality television star and tabloid king has relied on free news coverage to power his presidential campaign. And he wants to control that coverage as much as possible. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) (AP)
In this photo taken Dec. 21, 2015, Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump addresses supporters at a campaign rall in Grand Rapids, Mich. The former reality television star and tabloid king has relied on free news coverage to power his presidential campaign. And he wants to control that coverage as much as possible. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) (AP)

Donald Trump gave an interview this week all of his potential supporters should watch. In his own words, Trump lays bare the very reasons why he would be such a disastrous choice for president.

The interview with Anderson Cooper on Thursday, which can be seen here,  took place in New Hampshire where Trump is campaigning for the upcoming Republican primary in New Hampshire, and the setting included a small group of ordinary New Hampshire voters.

The topic turns to President Obama’s recent nuclear agreement with Iran.  Trump unwittingly displays for all to see that he simply does not understand the most basic elements of the agreement.

Trump proclaims his familiar boast that he is the best deal-maker ever and the best negotiator ever, and that the Obama administration completely botched the negotiation with Iran.  And then Trump graced us with an inside account of how he, as a master deal-maker, would have negotiated the agreement with Iran and obtained a much better outcome for America.

Primarily, Trump would have spared America from having to pay $150 billion to Iran.  (I won’t quibble with the dollar amount even though it is likely inaccurate).

As Trump explained, he would have said to the Iranians:

“Fellas, we [as America] owe $19 trillion [in debt].  We’re a country that has no money.  We can’t give you the $150 [billion dollars].”  The Iranians would have said, “But we want it!”  And Trump would have responded, “We can’t give it!  We don’t have it!  We don’t have it!”

Trump would have stood his ground and absolutely refused to pay the $150 billion.  At that point, the meeting would have broken-up with no agreement.  But then, two days later, the Iranians would have folded by calling Trump and saying, “Let’s make a deal.” Iran would then have agreed that America would not be required to pay the $150 billion.

Wow. Now there’s a genius negotiator for you. What an amazing display of virtuosity.

Unfortunately, however, there is one little problem with Trump’s entire analysis. And this problem is that the $150 billion was, in fact, readily available. The reason it was readily available is because all of this money actually belonged to Iran, not to America.  This was Iran’s own money.  This was Iranian money that America had seized and frozen. It was never American money. Not one penny. American money was never at stake. Rather, America was simply returning Iran’s own money that America had seized and was holding in frozen accounts pending the resolution of the sanctions against Iran.

Trump obviously had no clue that this money belonged to Iran.  Trump was utterly ignorant about the facts of the deal.  Yet this did not prevent Trump from spouting off and denouncing the deal to the American public. This is classic Trump. Even though he may appear to some to be authoritative, the truth is that his demeanor is superficial and he actually has no idea what he is talking about in substance.

There was another little humorous aspect on the subject of this Iranian agreement as well.  In his typical bluster, Trump bragged that as part of this deal he would have secured the return of the American prisoners that were being held in Iran. And how, exactly, would Trump have accomplished this? Again, Trump graced us with a master lesson in his wondrous negotiating ability.

Trump said that he would have demanded the return of the prisoners upfront. Trump would not have even begun talks with the Iranians until they first returned the prisoners. When the Iranians refused, Trump would have walked out of the meeting.

Oh, now there’s a real novel idea. Does Trump really think that the professional American negotiators never thought of this? In fact, America had already demanded the return of the prisoners numerous times, and America had already been engaged in all sorts of diplomatic efforts to secure their return. But Iran was still refusing to release the prisoners.

Yet according to Trump, his simplistic maneuver of refusing to negotiate would have somehow magically secured the release of the prisoners “within 24 hours.” This is simply ridiculous.

In fact, we all witnessed a real-life example of how Trump’s supposedly brilliant negotiating skills work-out in reality. This unfolded right before our very eyes in the fiasco Trump created over the presidential debate with Fox News just days before the Iowa caucuses.

Trump demanded that the Fox News host Megyn Kelly be removed as a moderator of the debate. This is akin to Trump demanding that Iran release the prisoners. Fox refused to remove Kelly, just as Iran would have refused to release the prisoners. Trump then deployed his “tough-guy” tactics of walking away and refusing to participate in the debate.

How did that work out for Trump? Well, not so hot. Fox News didn’t exactly fold within 24 hours and yield to the almighty will of Trump.  Instead, Fox ignored Trump’s ridiculous demands and went forward with the debate without him.  Trump proceeded to lose the Iowa caucuses even though he had been significantly ahead in the polls prior to dropping-out of the debate.

Here we see what happens in real life when Trump’s ridiculous course of action is followed.  Utter failure.  The entire nation would encounter a similar fate if it followed Trump as president.

In another segment of the video, a local man from the audience explained that he was raising three young daughters, and given Trump’s many insults, disparaging comments about women and foreigners, and profanity, Trump as president would not seem to make a good role model for his daughters.

Trump’s reaction was stunning.  Trump immediately accused the man of being a plant.  “Who asked you to give this question?” Trump demanded.  Did Anderson put you up to this?  “This is a CNN set-up!”

Unbelievable.  This was highly revealing of Trump’s character.  He exhibits a tendency toward paranoia, he immediately concludes that others are conspiring against him without a shred of evidence, and he perceives himself as being victimized.  These are traits that are not exactly well suited for a leader of a nation.

In another encounter, a lady from the audience expressed concern that Trump had not provided enough specificity about his policies. Trump’s answer was that he prefers not to provide detailed policies because he desires to remain unpredictable.

Seriously?  A presidential candidate running on a platform of unpredictability?  Hey, why don’t we just select our president through a national random lottery?

Actually, come to think of it, I’ll take those odds over Trump.



By Cody Cain

Cody Cain is the author of the new book, "Mend or Spend: How to Force Rich People to Solve Economic Inequality," available here. Follow Cody on Twitter @codycainland.


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump Fox News Iowa Caucus Iran Deal Megyn Kelly