Donald Trump, on the second night of his Hannity interview, makes hair-raising comments about foreign affairs: The former president, in the second portion of his interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News Tuesday night, seemed to praise China’s lack of democracy.
What Did Donald Trump Do Now?
The second portion of the interview aired on Hannity’s show Tuesday night and featured more questions about foreign affairs.
Hannity asked him about Nikki Haley, one of the declared candidates, who had called during her launch speech for candidates over a certain age to undergo mandatory cognitive testing. The age cutoff for Haley’s proposal is 75, which would apply to both President Biden and Trump.
“I’d like to see it for anybody running for president,” Donald Trump replied, per The Washington Post. “I think somebody from running for president, taking a cognitive test—”
Then, as the Post’s Philip Bump pointed out, Trump went off on a tangent about China.
“You know, they do it in China… but it’s done in a different way. They have a caste system. And the smartest person gets to the top. The smartest and most vicious.”
This was interpreted by Bump as Trump preferring dictatorship to democracy.
“What Trump appears to have been trying to describe is the stratified system of political ascent in the Chinese Communist Party, in which potential leaders work their way up through the ranks to power,” the columnist wrote. “It’s a system that includes ostensible elections, but superficial ones; in March President Xi Jinping won a third term in office by a unanimous vote of the country’s toothless parliament… It was simply praise for a process in which ruthless actors can scramble for power and climb their way up to the top. He implies that it’s inherently meritocratic, which itself is a misread of the system, but it’s obvious why he sees that process as appealing. He’s been rejected by a majority of American voters two elections in a row but has thrived in the cutthroat realm of Republican primaries.”
Meanwhile, per Insider, Donald Trump claimed in the interview that he “got rid of NATO,” presumably confusing that defensive alliance (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) with NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement.)
While Trump was frequently critical of NATO as president, he did not “get rid of it,” and the alliance remains in existence.
Trump did negotiate a new agreement, the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA), that is NATO’s successor.
“I got rid of NATO and built USMCA. I made a great trade deal with China. Our farmers, to this day they made tremendous money because of the deal,” Trump said in the Hannity interview.
“I would fix that within 24 hours and, if I win, before I get into the office, I will have that war settled,” Trump said, seemingly having forgotten that contacts by members of his administration with Russians got a lot of people in trouble during his first term.
According to The Hill, one Fox News contributor described Trump as “absolutely horrific” in his interview with Hannity. Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who represented Utah in Congress, went on “Fox and Friends” and said that “I watched that and I thought, ‘Where is Donald Trump?… “I voted for Donald Trump twice. I have defended him countless times. I thought he was horrific. I think that was the worst interview I’ve seen the president do.”
Chaffetz was the Congressman who, following the release of the Access Hollywood tape in 2016, pulled his endorsement of Trump, claiming he could no longer look his daughter in the eye if he continued to support the party’s nominee. Less than three weeks later, Chaffetz declared that he was, in fact, voting for Trump.
The following year, Chaffetz quit Congress, in order to ‘get off the crazy train.”
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic.