After five massive wins along the Acela corridor Tuesday night, Donald Trump has set his sights on November. And to prepare himself for his title match with Hillary Clinton, the Donald plans to read up on this democratic socialist all the kids are talking about.
“Bernie Sanders has a message that’s interesting. I’m going to be taking a lot of the things Bernie said and using them,” a very drowsy Trump told the Morning Joe crew. “I can reread some of his speeches and get some very good material.”
Earlier this month, Sanders argued that Clinton’s bad judgment called into question her qualifications for the presidency. Trump expressed admiration for that line of attack.
“He said some things about her that are actually surprising. That essentially she has no right to even be running. She’s got bad judgment,” the GOP front-runner continued. “When he said bad judgment, I said ‘sound bite!’ But Bernie has been treated very badly by the Democrats and Democratic Party. Frankly, he should run as an independent, I think.”
Sanders has sworn off an independent run, and took a decidedly more conciliatory tone in his concession statement Tuesday night, implicitly framing the rest of his campaign as an effort to influence the platform Clinton runs on. However, many of his core supporters feel their candidate has been treated unfairly throughout the process, and the Donald seems intent on stoking their grievances.
But no matter how well Trump apes Sanders’s critiques of trade deals, the Iraq War, and Goldman speeches, he’s going to have a hard time defeating Clinton, for reasons he deftly illustrated later in the interview. Asked about the former secretary of State’s strength on women’s issues, the presumptive Republican nominee replied, "Well, I haven’t quite recovered, it’s early in the morning, from her shouting that message. And I know a lot of people would say, ‘You can’t say that about a woman,’ because of course a woman doesn’t shout. But the way she shouted that message was … oof … that was the way she said it. And I guess I’ll have to get used to a lot of that over the next four or five months."
Finally, Trump said he was probably okay with the president’s decision to send more troops to Syria, but he had a big problem with Obama informing the American people of what he was doing in their name.
“I can live with it, but [what] I don’t like doing is sending them in so — I mean, with such fanfare,” Trump said. “Let them go in, go in quietly. Be unpredictable, but I just — from my standpoint, I find it very, very hard every time we do something we announce it for publicity reasons, and I think that’s very negative. I think it’s a bad thing.”
Some would argue that a president should inform the American public of his decision to escalate a foreign war less for “publicity” than for democratic legitimacy (which is already, arguably, undermined by the executive’s expansive war powers). But Donald Trump is not one of those people.