By now, you probably have very strong feelings one way or the other about professional used car salesman Donald Trump. To some, the man who tweets like a random teen is a narcissistic nihilist straight out of Dostoevsky; to others, he's a narcissistic nihilist straight out of Reddit. But in case you're still on the fence, Maureen Dowd's op-ed column in the Times today may push you one way or the other.
Trump looks like he just saw what was inside the Lost Arc and this is phase 1 of his face melting pic.twitter.com/YCrBrp523Q
— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) August 16, 2015
Trump turned on the charm for the extended interview, which encompassed both the column and an additional "lightning round" piece. Besides the cringeworthy comparison between Trump and Grumpy Cat, Dowd does a good job of impartially needling Trump about his views on women and his propensity for self-aggrandizing. Of course, you might be of the opinion that Trump doesn't deserve to be treated impartially at this point, but the column is worth it to learn about his severe mysophobia:
“I don’t know how you would define insecurity as it pertains to me,” he replies.
He does have a germ phobia and carries packs of germicidal disposable wipes. He describes how a man came out of a restaurant bathroom the other night with wet hands wanting to clasp his hand. “So what do I do?” Trump asked. “I don’t eat. That’s O.K.”
How does he tone it down when he’s proud of his outrageous persona, his fiery wee-hours Twitter arrows and campaign “gusto,” and gratified by the way he can survive dissing John McCain and rating Heidi Klum when that would be a death knell for someone like Scott Walker?
“Sometimes I do go a little bit far,” he allowed, adding, after a moment: “Heidi Klum. Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.”
There's also this gem about his warped, um, code. Trump is basically the Omar of the 2016 election.
“I’m a counterpuncher,” he said. “I can’t hit people who don’t hit me. Maybe that’s my weakness. Perry started it. Lindsey Graham started it. This moron Rand Paul just started it because he is mired in 12th place and he’s a U.S. senator.”
He said Rosie was a bully and the only way to beat bullies is to smack them in the nose.
So he doesn’t think of himself as a bully?
He looks hurt. “Oh, no, the opposite,” he said. “In fact, I’ll go a step further. The way to do best with me is to be really nice to me.”
The best one-liners all come from the "lightning round," which is basically NY Times Presents: Trump's Hot Takes. Suffice to say, he likes people who are nice to him (like Ted Cruz, apparently), he likes giving himself compliments, and he has some very interesting ideas about how to stem the tide of police shooting fatalities. Check out some of our favorites below:
- Joe Biden: "A person who was very loyal to the president, which I respect. I’d love to run against him because it’s going to be an election based on competence and I’m really competent."
- Jeb Bush: "He’s a stiff. The guy can’t even talk. He has zero energy. You would fall asleep interviewing him."
- Elizabeth Warren: "She’s caught a little wave. Perhaps it’s her Indian upbringing."
- Bill de Blasio: "He’s having an awfully hard time being the mayor of New York and people are very upset. There is a lot of restlessness with crime, squeegees all of a sudden, and we are seeing things that we haven’t seen for a long time."
- Rand Paul: "Tiny little guy. Did you see the press release I put out about Rand Paul? Pretty brutal, right? A nasty, nasty guy. I gave him a lot of money for his eye center. I played golf with him. I’m a good golfer. I’ve won 18 club championships. And he’s a golfer and I killed him. I could play him a thousand times and never lose to him."
- Police: "I’m a huge fan of the police. But it’s amazing some of the things I’ve seen. What amazes me, why aren’t they shooting at the legs? It’s so bad for the police, for the image of the police. The choking incident with Eric Garner was terrible, I thought."
- Twitter: "The nice thing about Twitter, in the old days when I got attacked it would take me years to get even with somebody, now when I’m attacked I can do it instantaneously, and it has a lot of power. You see some genius statements on Twitter. You see some statements coming out which are Ernest Hemingway times two."
- Climate Change: "Well I don’t actually think it’s a Chinese hoax but I’m not a believer in man-made climate change. And again I had uncles at M.I.T. and stuff. By the way many smart people agree with me."
- Bill Clinton: "Too thin. He used to be a friend of mine, now we can’t be friends."
If you can't chuckle at his Bill Clinton comment, then maybe you just don't respond to pure charm. Or maybe all his "charm" is hard to appreciate when you hear him lay out his anti-immigration policy, which City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called "a very ugly precedent." Or when you hear him talk about his devolving beliefs on abortion. Or when he talks about where he gets his military advice ("I watch the shows").
Or maybe you just ducked into the wrong Reddit thread at the wrong time.
Basically, Trump is the "lol nothing matters" gif of Presidential candidates.
— Joseph Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) August 16, 2015