On Monday, The Daily Wire's Michael Knowles broke down a "very telling" moment during an exchange between President Donald Trump and George Stephanopoulos when the president stopped the interview because someone coughed in the background. Video and partial transcript below.
This clip from Donald Trump's interview with George Stephanopoulos, which just leaked out, was some of the extra footage. It shows an interaction that is actually very telling about Donald Trump. Donald Trump is talking to Stephanopoulos. He's giving an answer and his former budget director, now his chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, coughs in the background. Trump stops the footage, stops the cameras, and says we've got to reset because he was coughing.
Donald Trump: At some point, I hope they get it.
George Stephanopoulos: You're going to turn it over?
Donald Trump: No, at some point I might. But at some point, I hope they get it because it's a fantastic financial statement. It's a fantastic financial statement. Let's do that over — he's coughing in the middle of my answer.
George Stephanopoulos: Yeah, ok.
Donald Trump: I don't like that. You know.
George Stephanopoulos: Your chief of staff...
Donald Trump: If you're going to cough, please leave the room. You just can't do that. Okay. You want to do that a little differently then? So, at some point — So at some point I look forward to, frankly, I want I'd like to have people see my financial statement. Because it's phenomenal. No, it's not up to me. It's up to lawyers it's up to everything else. But they're asking for things that they should never be asking for. That they've never asked another president for. They want to go through every deal that I've ever done. What they're doing is a disgrace. They've tried to do—step, step, step. They want to keep it going as long as possible to try and demean and hurt as much as possible so they can possibly win the presidential election.
Knowles: This is a very telling exchange. I hope it puts to rest one of the stupidest takes on Donald Trump, which is that he's this completely undisciplined wacko lunatic who doesn't know what's going on and he shoots from the hip and he's only just belching various emotions all the times. No, this guy knows how to work a camera. This is a pretty calculated guy. How do I know that?
Because he's giving this answer that he wants to give to Stephanopoulos, and he hears a cough in the room. Trump's a show biz guy and he's had 15 seasons of a hit network show. He knows that that sound is going to ruin that clip and they're not going to be able to use it. So, he says, alright stop, you can't cough on set. What are you doing? Get out of here if you're going to cough on set. He says ok, let's reset it. Maybe we'll do it a little differently. He's talking like a guy either who's in a movie or at least who's doing a nonfiction TV show. They're like reset and then the guys reset and then the camera guy screws up and he moves. Trump catches that again and he reset.
He resets and then Trump gives the message that he wants to the American people. He gives it as though it's right off the cuff. He gives it like he's in a reality TV show and look and this and that - it's not like he's giving this perfectly scripted monologue, but he is letting you know, you the American people. The people who watch ABC News. Just a lot more people than watch cable news or Fox News. He's telling them what he wants them to hear.
This is a disciplined guy. This is a guy with situational awareness. This is a guy who knows how to communicate. No accidents here. People are still going to pretend that he's this total buffoon who just accidentally has succeeded at the highest levels of everything he's ever tried. But this was more revealing than the Billy Bush tape which was a guy engaging in locker room talk when he thought he was off camera. This is much more telling about how Trump's brain works and how he views politics in the Oval Office and imagery and how he views mass communication.