Donald Trump and The Botched Gotcha
Tonight we had another great example as to why the media and basic facts are losing their battle with Donald Trump. ABC's David Muir interviewed the President and he had a kind of GOTCHA! moment when he told Donald Trump that the author of the Pew report that the White House has been citing as evidence of voter fraud actually disagrees with President Trump and claims there was no evidence of voter fraud.
But the President then responded with, "Really? Then why did he write the report?"
Muir had no response.
Trump seized the silence and spun it that the author must be groveling to reporters.
And with that, the moment was lost.
What's most frustrating is that Muir's response was a very easy one. Why did the person write the report? Because it was an analysis of our current voter registration system, which most people would agree is flawed. However, admitting there are flaws in the system doesn't prove that there were fraudulent votes. For instance, Muir could have pointed out that Steve Bannon, Steve Mnuchin, and Tiffani Trump are all registered in two states; that doesn't mean they voted in both places.
Unfortunately, because Muir failed to make this point and instead responded with silence, it allowed Trump to give his completely made up rationale for why the researcher would claim zero voter fraud; an anti-media excuse that his base will undoubtedly eat up and regurgitate whenever someone questions the need for an investigation into voter fraud.
(The better-informed supporters might point to this report that claims non-citizens do vote and while it is small, it could swing electoral votes. Although there's a response to that study as well.)
Muir is hardly alone, though. I think he made a mistake that many people dealing with Donald Trump make. The mistake is that they don't truly understand the depth of Trump's misunderstanding of an issue. They don't understand that, when faced with a fact that he doesn't comprehend or like, he's going to search out a different way to cling to the "truths" he believes. One GOTCHA! moment isn't going to shake his faith in his own opinion. Trump's the guy who asks 19 friends "Should I?" and if they all say "No!" he'll look for a 20th friend to ask. Honestly, even if Muir had answered Trump's "Why did he write the report?" question, Donald probably would have clung to the idea that messed up rolls mean fraud. He would have put the onus on Muir to prove that they weren't used for fraudulent reasons. But at least then Muir could have asked, "Well, voter registration is messed up everywhere so why do you only think fraud happened where you lost? Why, a few weeks ago, did your team say there was zero proof of election fraud? Have you questioned Bannon and Mnuchin about their possible roles in the fraud?"
But perhaps what's most frustrating of all is that the Left has been handed a great opportunity to push for Automatic Voter Registration and they're passing it by to mock Trump. Yes, Mr. President, voter registration rolls are an issue. We do need to modernize. And the best way to make it cheaper, easier, and more reliable is Automatic Voter Registration! The gift and the curse of President Trump is that his ham-fisted way of dealing with things leads to a lot of opportunities but we usually miss them because we're focused on the ham-fisted way he deals with things.