What a coincidence that on the day when CNN reported Donald Trump was angry with aides and advisers acknowledging to reporters he lost the first presidential debate, adviser Mike Flynn, a retired general, got four minutes of friendly Fox News air time to declare that Trump was a big winner. Even though it was pretty clear Flynn thought no such thing.
Thursday, CNN.com reported:
In a conference call with surrogates Wednesday afternoon, Trump aides made clear the Republican nominee is upset that his allies publicly acknowledged they pushed him to change his preparation and tactics before his next bout with Hillary Clinton. And he wants them to stop it immediately.
The message was “not subtle,” a source familiar with the call said.
Trump wants his supporters to make an energetic defense of his performance and refuse to concede that he didn’t nail it.
Trump was probably at least partly reacting to a devastating article in The New York Times the day before:
In interviews, seven campaign aides and advisers, most of whom sought anonymity to speak candidly, expressed frustration and discouragement over their candidate’s performance Monday night.
They blamed his overstuffed schedule, including a last-minute rally in Virginia that was added days before the debate. They blamed the large number of voluble people on his prep team, including two retired military figures with no political background. And they blamed the lack of time spent on preparing a game plan in the first place.
On Fox’s The Kelly File Thursday night, Flynn acknowledged he was one of the “two retired military figures” cited but he also dismissed the Times article as “pretty laughable.”
First, Flynn tried to blame Trump's Alicia Machado debacle on Hillary Clinton, which is not the kind of thing you start off with if you think your candidate won:
FLYNN: Frankly the poor judgment on some of the issues that were picked up on by Hillary Clinton. You know, where she brought in the Miss Universe pageant winner and I thought that that was, I mean, you know, you look at some of the things that have come out about this young lady…
Host Megyn Kelly interrupted to say that yes, Machado has had “some troubles” but that Trump’s “comments about her weight are on camera.”
Then Flynn complained about the debate questions - also not the kind of thing you say after a win.
“But you know as the candidate you’ve got to be able to get in the stuff that you want to get in,” Kelly replied.
Then, to cut to the chase, she asked if Flynn is still on the debate prep team and when he said he was, she asked what’s going to be different next time.
In short, probably not much, if Flynn is any guide.
“Just continuing to show” Hillary Clinton’s “bad judgment,” he said. And of course, the emails.
So “What will change?” Kelly wanted to know.
FLYNN: I actually thought that he won the debate – I mean, hands down won the debate. I think that we didn’t do a good enough job probably spinning it after all the spin stuff that happens. And I think that the mainstream media actually did, they did sort of their job of making sure for the last couple of days talking up about how Hillary Clinton did and how Donald Trump you know didn’t do.
So you know I really look at this thing and I say, “Hey look, I think that Donald Trump won that debate the other night.”
Then Flynn tried to argue that people should pay no attention to the polls (which show Clinton won).
FLYNN: And I think – I believe, and you can do all the scientific polling and I’m not a pollster, but what I saw and the people that I’ve been talking to, and I pay very close attention to these sort of information domain, and there are an awful lot of people that are looking at Donald Trump in a much different way and saying, “This is a guy that I can see as the president of the United States or the Commander-in-Chief.”
Kelly didn’t challenge a word.
Watch it above, from the September 29, 2016, The Kelly File.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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