The narrative surrounding Donald Trump for the longest time has been that he's politically unflappable. "Teflon Don" he was called, mostly because any political gaffe or story bounced off of him like it was nothing, but also partly because listening to the word vomit coming out of his mouth is as corrosive to your body as ingesting Teflon. Of course, the narrative of "Teflon Don" is largely bullshit, or at the very least, mischaracterized to give Trump way more credit than he deserved, and that was never clearer than after his interview yesterday.
It's hard to label someone as politically unflappable when they can so easily be flapped as Donald Trump was when responding to, frankly, a straightforward question. It should be obvious why it comes off as thickheaded to answer a person of Chinese descent with "Why don't you ask China?" And while you can debate whether Trump meant to be racist, or whether casual racism is just part of his natural skillset, you can tell he wishes he had that one back when he refers to it as a "nasty question." Still, he presses on, but even he is vaguely aware that he might have just pulled a racist gaffe, and when Trump realizes the question isn't going away he storms out of the White House Presser like a toddler who just got scolded for crapping his pants.
Yes, it is true that this one incident will not affect poll numbers in any meaningful way or likely at all, but that's not my point here. I just think this story we're told that Trump is some kind of political Houdini that can shake off scandal and outrage is hard to square with a guy who runs away when a reporter is about to ask him a question. I can't tell if I'm more in awe of his cowardice or his stupidity. Imagine any generic Republican answering that question.
Weijia Jiang: Why is this a global competition to you when Americans are losing their lives every day?
Generic Republican: The American way of life is this administration's utmost priority, but it's also important to set realistic expectations for the people. We compare to other countries to provide perspective, and we take it as a point of pride that our testing capabilities are doing so well.
It could be any type of bullshit like that, but Trump, while well versed in bullshit, is not so great at thinking quickly. So he stammers and whines and yells "ask China" which the political pundit could point out is a further call to tribalism and whataboutism that got him here in the first place, but I tend to think looks more and more like an old man running scared because he is completely in over his head.
Dan is on Twitter and will talk about life with you in lieu of getting a therapist and he also hosts The Bachelor Zone Podcast, where you can hear him give a sports-style breakdown of all things happening on The Bachelor.
Top Image: The White House