Donald Trump, as is his wont, gave an absolutely bonkers interview this week, this time to venerate reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of The Washington Post. The transcript, which reads like the transcript of a young child’s screed about wanting to be king of the playground, is chock-full of bizarre ramblings from the Republican presidential frontrunner. And through it all, Woodward and Costa try in vain, sometimes hilariously so, to get a single coherent answer out of Trump.
After one lengthy back-and-forth wherein Woodward and Costa try and fail to get Trump to tell them exactly when he actually decided to run for president, the reporters bring up what now seems such an obvious question: didn’t anyone warn you?
BW: Did anyone recommend no? Did your wife, or did your son?
DT: Oh. Yeah.
BW: Did anyone say, “Dad, Donald, don’t do it?”
DT: I think my wife would much have preferred that I didn’t do it. She’s a very private person. She was a very, very successful — very, very successful model. She made a tremendous amount of money and had great success and dealt at the . . . .
BW: What’d she say?
DT: She was, she said, we have such a great life. “Why do you want to do this?” She was . . . .
BW: And what’d you say?
DT: I said, “I sort of have to do it, I think. I really have to do it.” Because it’s something I’d be — I could do such a great job. I really wanted to give something back. I don’t want to act overly generous, but I really wanted to give something back.
Another awkward exchange came up when the conversation turned to former President Richard Nixon, and Trump seemed not to understand the gravity of the Watergate scandal, which Woodward himself helped uncover. The segment is poignant—and the parallels to Trump’s evocation of hatred in the U.S.—is all too real:
DT: ....And Nixon failed, I think to a certain extent, because of his personality. You know? It was just that personality. Very severe, very exclusive. In other words, people couldn’t come in. And people didn’t like him. I mean, people didn’t like him.
BW: And he broke the law.
DT: And he broke the law, yeah. Yeah. He broke the law. Whether that’s insecurity . . . .
BW: I mean, you listen to those tapes, and he’s a criminal.
DT: Yeah. Whether that’s — right. And he broke the law.
BW: And time and time again, break in, get the FBI on this, get the IRS on.
DT: Sure. Sure.
BW: I mean, it is an appalling legacy of criminality.
BW: And at the end, the day he resigned, an amazing day, he gives that speech which is kind of free association about mom and dad.
BW: He’s sweating. And then he said, “Always remember: Others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.” The piston was hate.
DT: Well, and he was actually talking very much about himself, because ultimately, ultimately, that is what destroyed him. Hate is what destroyed him. And such an interesting figure. I mean, you would know that better than anybody. But such an interesting figure. And such a man of great talent. I mean, Nixon had great potential, great talent. Unfortunately it was a very sad legacy in the end. It turned out to be a very sad legacy. Such an interesting figure to study. I think. . . .
Those are only the tip of the iceberg for this interview, which also includes Trump misreading the success of Vince Lombardi, and promising to give the names of 10 to 12 people he wants to nominate to the Supreme Court. I highly recommend you read it here, if you can stomach it, and what Woodward thought of the interview here.