Did Hugh Hewitt ambush Trump with 'gotchya' questions?
Appearing on Hugh Hewitt's radio show last night, Donald Trump stumbled over some foreign policy questions and then accused the host of giving him "gotchya" questions.
Trump, the front-runner for the GOP nomination, blasted conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in an interview and said it is "ridiculous" to be questioned about who leads Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Nusra and ISIS.
"I think it's ridiculous. I'll have, I'm a delegator. I find great people. I find absolutely great people, and I'll find them in our armed services, and I find absolutely great people," Trump said.
Trump sought to downplay the importance of knowing who controls the terror groups. He suggested that those leaders -- some of whom have led their groups for years -- would likely no longer be in power by the time he would reach the White House.
"As far as the individual players, of course I don't know them. I've never met them. I haven't been, you know, in a position to meet them. If, if they're still there, which is unlikely in many cases, but if they're still there, I will know them better than I know you," Trump told Hewitt.
During the interview, Hewitt said he didn't mean to be asking Trump "gotcha questions" - but the front-running Republican candidate was having none of it.
"Well, that is a gotcha question, you know, when you're asking me whose running this, this, this," Trump said.
And Trump also said that the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah, the groups that pose the most direct threat to Israel, does not yet matter to him.
"It will when it's appropriate," Trump responded.
Trump was also flustered early in the interview when he appeared not to know the name of General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Forces who has played a critical role in Iraq and in the fight against ISIS. He is also believed to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Trump initially thought Hewitt said "Kurds" and not "Quds" and began saying that the Kurds, who have been crucial allies in the fight against ISIS, "have been horribly mistreated."
Hewitt explained that Soleimani "is to terrorism sort of what Trump is to real estate," before Trump asked:
"Is he the gentleman that was going back and forth with Russia and meeting with Putin? I read something, and that seems to be also where he's at," Trump said.
I sure would like to hear Bernie Sanders or Martin O'Malley answer some of those questions. It would be interesting to know the depth of their knowledge of the enemy we face in the Middle East. Alas, Democrats are always assumed to know these things and reporters don't think it's their jobs to make Democratic candidates look bad.
But were they "gotchya" questions, as in Hewitt attempting to embarrass Trump by exposing his ignorance of foreign policy issues? Not hardly. Any reasonably informed adult should know that Soleimani is the second most powerful military figure in Iran next to the Supreme Leader, and that Hassan Nasrallah has been the leader of Hezb'allah since its founding. And it's shocking that Trump didn't know the difference between Hamas and Hezb'allah. But Hewitt is a party man and always has been. I suspect his motive for asking the question was to put Trump on the spot.
Trump says that he will hire brilliant people to inform him of what he needs to know. That's great for a CEO, but for a president? Over reliance on staff means that they will pretty much be making the decisions. For arcane matters of domestic policy, it could work, as Ronald Reagan proved in his first term. But I don't want a President Trump sitting in the situation room getting briefed and not have a clue what or who the briefer is referring to.
I suspect at this next debate, Hewitt will look to embarrass Trump again. But the image of an outraged candidate saying that the questioning is unfair will only make the Legend of Donald Trump grow.