The Trump campaign has two primary responses to criticisms of its candidate: bald-faced lying and “I know Hillary Clinton is, but what is Trump?”
This latter tactic could also be described as a kind of Freudian projection: The candidate who has said America should respond to offensive “gestures” from Iranian navy vessels by shooting them “out of the water” has accused his rival of being “trigger happy.” The leader of the birther movement has called Hillary Clinton “totally bigoted.” The founder of Trump University has explained that, with the Democratic nominee, “Everything is a scam.”
At Monday night’s debate, Clinton confronted Trump with his well-documented claim that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. The GOP nominee then opted for tactic No. 1: Despite the fact that this theory was still published on his Twitter feed, Trump interrupted his opponent to protest, “I did not, I do not say that.”
On Tuesday morning, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was asked to explain this contradiction. And she deployed tactic No. 2, in especially gobsmacking fashion.
“I think that’s based on a tweet,” Conway told CNN. “I just love that, that this whole man, whether he’s giving a ‘Yeah, I guess so’ answer to Howard Stern about invading Iraq as a private citizen on an entertainment radio show, or through a tweet, we’re supposed to understand all of his policies.”
This statement seems to imply that Trump has produced a publicly available position statement on climate change, but the media had chosen to fixate on a years-old tweet instead. (Which is not true).
But then Conway got her “I am rubber, you are glue” game on.
“He believes climate change is naturally occurring,” Conway said. “We don’t know what Hillary Clinton believes because nobody ever asks her.”
To review: Conway was asked about an exchange in which Clinton touted her belief in man-made climate change, and contrasted it with Trump’s stated position on that subject. Trump disavowed that position, but neglected to clarify what his actual stance is. And Lester Holt never asked him to do so.
Conway responded to this question by complaining that Clinton’s position on climate change is unclear, and that the media has failed to hold her accountable for her obfuscation.
But remember: Hillary Clinton is the elitist, while Donald Trump and his associates have a deep respect for the intelligence of the American people.