7 times Trump was ‘misunderstood’ – Politico
Donald Trump found himself at the center of controversy Tuesday with an offhand remark about stopping Hillary Clinton with the “Second Amendment.”
Trump’s campaign insists he was simply predicting that the unified political power of gun rights advocates could be enough to stop Hillary Clinton from appointing liberal justices. But to much of the rest of the world, it sounded like he was talking about someone shooting Clinton, her nominees or both.
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“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment,” Trump said at a North Carolina rally about Clinton’s plans to nominate liberal justices. “By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”
The statement produced wildly divergent interpretations, but it’s not the first time that Trump has landed in hot water over comments that his campaign says were given meaning their candidate never intended.
Here are 7 times Trump was “misunderstood.”
1. November 24, 2015: “Now, the poor guy, you ought to see this guy, ‘Ah, I don’t know what I said, I don’t remember, I don’t remember, maybe that’s what I said,’” Trump said while jerking his arms around.
Trump was referring to Serge F. Kovaleski, a New York Times reporter who is afflicted with a disability that limits joint functionality. Trump’s movements closely mirrors Kovaleski’s symptoms, and he was widely condemned — by rivals and even some supporters — of having mocked the man for his disability. Trump insists however that he had no idea of Kovleski’s disability and had never met him, saying that it was merely a coincidence that he had closely mimicked the disabled reporter.
“I didn’t know what he looked like. I didn’t know he was disabled. I didn’t know it, I didn’t know it at all. I had no idea. So I started imitating somebody — I didn’t speak to the guy — somebody that was groveling. Everyone know what grovel is?”
2. July 27, 2016: “I will tell you this, Russia, if you’re listening I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Trump’s comment was widely reported as a call on Russia to meddle in the U.S. election by hacking Clinton’s email. Trump’s campaign initially said their candidate was simply saying Russia should turn over any emails that it happens to have. Later, however, Trump and his surrogates said he was only joking.
“Of course I’m being sarcastic,” told Fox News’s Brian ‘ Brian Kilmeade. “They have no idea if it’s Russia, if it’s China, if it’s somebody else. Who knows who it is?”
3. August 7, 2015: Megyn Kelly “gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions … You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” Trump said.
Trump’s comments about the Fox News host’s performance moderating the debate were interpreted as possibly referring to menstruation affecting her perceptions, but Trump later clarified his statement in a tweet: “Re Megyn Kelly quote: “you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” (NOSE). Just got on w/thought”
4. March 30, 2016: “There has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions, Trump said.
This time, Trump says he misinterpreted himself, misspeaking when asked for his position on abortion. Trump addressed the controversial comments about abortion in a later interview with CNN’s Chris Matthews.
“I’m asked hundreds of questions a day … “You multiply that by months and months and months, and every once in awhile, if you misspeak — I was very focused on the topic of the Catholic Church.” Trump later added: “The difference is that if I say something that’s off, if I say something that’s off one way or another, it gets massive publicity. If somebody else does it, nobody cares.”
5. June 3, 2016: “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Trump said of federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over the Trump U case.
To many, this sounded as if Trump was saying that Curiel’s Mexican heritage made him unable to fairly preside over the case, a comment that — along with other attacks on the judge — to many smacked of racism. Trump, however, said his comments were being misunderstood.
“It is unfortunate that my comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage. I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent,” Trump wrote. “I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial.”
6. August 2, 2016: “Don’t worry about it. I love babies. I hear that baby crying, I like it. What a baby. What a beautiful baby. Don’t worry, don’t worry. The mom’s running around like—don’t worry about it, you know. It’s young and beautiful and healthy and that’s what we want,” Trump said, before saying two minutes later: “Actually, I was only kidding, you can get the baby out of here.”
Following those remarks, media outlets widely reported that Trump had kicked a baby out of his rally. The Trump campaign later, however, said it was a lighthearted moment. And a few days later at a rally, Trump ripped “dishonest” media for their reporting of the exchange.
“I actually said the first time, ‘All right, keep the baby here, don’t worry about it. Then, after about two minutes, I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to counteract my order. Beautiful baby, eh, if you take her outside, that’s not so bad.’ That was it,” he said. “The whole place laughed. We had a good time … The press came out with headlines: ‘Trump throws baby out of arena.’”
7. June 13, 2016: “We’re led by a man who is a very — look, we’re led by a man that either is, is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” Trump said. “He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands. It’s one or the other.”
By “something else in mind,” many believed Trump meant something nefarious, such as Obama somehow being in league with terrorists or in some other way willfully aiding the violence against Americans.
Trump ripped that conclusion as absurd and media reporting on it as evidence of bias. Indeed, he was so incensed over a Washington Post story on the remarks that he added it to his campaign’s media blacklist.