CNN’s Jake Tapper joined me this AM to discuss the rough week Donald Trump has been through:
HH: I’m joined now by Jake Tapper, host of, of course, CNN’s many, many shows, including State of the Union, but also every afternoon. Jake Tapper, first question, can Donald Trump still win?
JT: Yes, but he’s making it very, very difficult for himself. He’s salting the fields right now, which doesn’t mean he won’t be able to grow anything come October and November, but he’s making it very tough. I mean, I’m telling you that diehard Republicans I know, who support Donald Trump and do not like the Republican establishment, are you know, pulling out their hair. And many of them, many of them very upset with his back and forth with the Gold Star family and his inability to understand, seeming inability to understand why that’s not appropriate and why he should be the bigger man.
HH: Now I just had Dorothy Woods on, wife of Ty Woods. She doesn’t do much media, very little at all, but I’ve known her a long time. Here’s what she said about the Khan-Trump imbroglio this week.
DW: I believe that Major Khan was an American first that day, and that’s very important.
HH: Dorothy Woods…
DW: My issue…
HH: Okay, go ahead.
DW: So my issue here is I believe that the Khans are only public because they are Muslim. And to me, that sends the wrong message that they are more important than the rest of us. No loss is more or less important than the other.
HH: Jake Tapper, isn’t that the way Donald Trump ought to have handled, respect the Khans, thanked them, and then say all losses are important, and politics ought not to enter into this?
JT: I think that the general, first of all, you know, obviously my deepest condolences to the victims of the horrific Benghazi attack by those detestable terrorists. And Tyrone Woods was an American hero. I mean, I think the general response to Gold Star families from politicians, whether it’s George W. Bush responding to Cindy Sheehan or disagreements anybody might have with a Gold Star family, and obviously, we all know that they run the gamut, politically, from the far left to the far right. But the response is, you know, we honor and respect the sacrifice that your loved one made, and the sacrifice and the loss that you feel, and I respectfully disagree with what you’re saying. But most importantly, thank you for what you’ve done for this nation. I mean, that has been, I just think that that’s the only, I mean, Chris Christie basically said that when asked what he thought about Donald Trump’s response. He said that would be his response, and anything beyond that is inappropriate. It is true that the Khans were there because they were, because they’re American Muslims. They were objecting to Donald Trump’s original proposal on a total, and this is a quote, a total and complete ban on Muslims entering the United States until we figure out just what the hell is going on. And since then, there have been questions about whether his proposed ban has modified or not. But that’s what they were objecting to, and the notion that their son, Capt. Khan, was anything less than an American hero is what they were objecting do.
HH: Yeah, she also talked about the treatment, Jake Tapper, that followed Donald Trump receiving a Purple Heart. Here’s what Dorothy said about that.
DW: Well, I was disturbed that he was criticized for accepting the Purple Heart. Some have said that he should not have accepted it. As someone who has actually served, I understand what it means to give your award to someone.
HH: So Jake, is she right? She went on to say the Silver Star had recently been left at Ty Woods’ grave, and that it’s a great honor, even if Donald Trump was inept in his language of accepting it. It’s a hard thing for civilians sometimes to deal with things like that.
JT: Yeah, I don’t, I mean, I haven’t said anything about his, the acceptance of the Purple Heart, and obviously the gentleman who gave it to him, I believe he was a Vietnam veteran, but I’m not sure, has every right to do whatever he wants to do, and give his medals, his Heart or his medals, to whomever he wants. I think, and again, I have not criticized Donald Trump for this. But I think what people took issue with was the way in which he accepted it, like I always wanted one of these, this is the easy way to get it. And the truth is, nobody who serves and nobody who knows anything about service wants a Purple Heart.
JT: The Purple Heart, yeah, you get one if you get wounded or if you get killed.
JT: So I mean, I think the criticism that I’ve heard is it just kind of illustrated a lack of understanding of what the Purple Heart is.
HH: I agree. I agree. So Jake, last question, this week, Chuck Todd has said no, he can’t win. John Dickerson said yes, he could. You said yes, but it’s getting hard. Eliana Johnson, Charles Cooke, David Drucker said yes, he can turn it around. It’s up to events, isn’t it? Events are in the saddle. We have 45 seconds. Elections are decided in September and October.
JT: 100% that’s true. Hillary Clinton remains a flawed candidate that many Americans, most Americans do not trust. And we don’t know what emails Putin has in his back pocket. We don’t know what horrific events might happen economically or in terms of terrorism. So anything could happen. That said, Donald Trump, right now, is on the wrong trajectory if he wants to win.
HH: Understatement. Jake Tapper, we’ll watch you on State of the Union this weekend. Always good to talk to you, one of the guys I expect will be sitting in on one of the debates this summer.
End of interview.