When Donald Trump botched a question Thursday about General Qassem Suleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force, it wasn’t the first time. He did the same thing last month during the Fox News debate, but his answer was largely overlooked in the post-debate hysteria over Trump’s answers to questions on a third party candidacy and his treatment of women.
Bret Baier asked Trump about Suleimani and offered the candidate a helpful tutorial in the introduction.
“Candidates, you may not have seen the late developing news today our Fox Pentagon team broke earlier this evening about a top Iranian general traveling to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Baier said. “His name is General Qassem Soleimani. He's blamed for hundreds of U.S. troops death in Iraq and Afghanistan. His trip to Russia appears to directly violate U.N. Security Council resolutions to confine him to Iran. So, Mr. Trump, if you were president, how would you respond to this?”
“I would be so different from what you have right now. Like, the polar opposite,” Trump said, before setting off in several different directions at the same time. “We have a president who doesn't have a clue. I would say he's incompetent, but I don't want to do that because that's not nice. But if you look at the deals we make, whether it's the nuclear deal with 24 hour periods—and by the way, before you get to the 24 hours, you have to go through a system. You look at Sergeant Bergdahl, we get Bergdahl, a traitor, and they get five of the big, great killers leaders that they want. We have people in Washington that don't know what they're doing. Now, with Iran, we're making a deal, you would say, we want him. We want out our prisoners. We want all these things, and we don't get anything. We're giving them $150 billion dollars plus, they are going to be—I'll tell you what, if Iran was a stock, you folks should go out and buy it right now because you'll quadruple—this, what's happening in Iran, is a disgrace, and it's going to lead to destruction in large portions of the world.”
In his Thursday interview with Hewitt, Trump asked for some help before attempting an answer. Here is that exchange:
HH: Are you familiar with General Soleimani?
DT: Yes, but go ahead, give me a little, go ahead, tell me.
HH: He runs the Quds Forces.
DT: Yes, okay, right.
HH: Do you expect his behavior…
DT: The Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by …
HH: No, not the Kurds, the Quds Forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Forces.
DT: Yes, yes.
HH: …is the bad guys.
HH: Do you expect his behavior to change as a result…
DT: Oh, I thought you said Kurds, Kurds.
HH: No, Quds.
DT: Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said Kurds, because I think the Kurds have been poorly treated by us, Hugh. Go ahead.
HH: Agreed. So Soleimani runs the Quds Forces. Do you expect his behavior is going to change as a result of this deal with Iran?
DT: I think that Iran right now is in the driver’s seat to do whatever they want to do. I think what’s happening with Iran is, I think it’s one of the, and I covered it very well. I assume you saw the news conference. I think Iran is, it’s one of the great deals ever made for them. I think it’s one of the most incompetent contracts I’ve even seen. I’m not just talking about defense. I’m not talking about a contract with another country. I’ve never seen more of a one-sided deal, I think, in my life, absolutely.
HH: Well, Soleimani is to terrorism sort of what Trump is to real estate.
HH: Many people would say he’s the most dangerous man in the world, and he runs the Quds Forces, which is their Navy SEALs.
DT: Is he the gentleman that was going back and forth with Russia and meeting with Putin? I read something, and that seems to be also where he’s at.
HH: That’s the guy.
DT: He’s going back and forth meeting with other countries, etc., etc.
HH: That’s the guy.
DT: Not good.
HH: And so do you think…