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[Commentary] Trump Has Perfected the Art of the Walk-Off

For all of his proclamations that he has perfected “the art of the deal,” Donald Trump has proven himself, first in business and now as president, as actually being pretty lousy at getting people to reach agreement. Where’s that big, beautiful stimulus package? When can we cash that check from Mexico for the non-existent wall? Is it infrastructure week yet?

The one thing he has expertly dialed in is the art of walking off the set of an interview that he feels is going badly for him. He’s done it many times and the most recent chapter of that book was written this past Sunday on “60 Minutes.” Right after his misogynistic admonishment to correspondent Leslie Stahl “that’s no way to talk” as she asked him pointed questions and did real-time fact checking on his answers, Trump abruptly got up from his chair and walked away. Looking off camera to an advisor he said, “I think we have enough of an interview here, Hope (Hicks), okay? Let’s go. That’s enough.” Stahl was left with many unanswered questions.

He was so smooth and confident in his great escape because he’s done it many times before. Take a look at this March 1990 interview with CNN. Reporter Charles Feldman was asking Trump about the financial health of his Atlantic City casinos. At the time financial analysts were predicting that his ultra-expense Taj Mahal casino would not survive the cold, dank New Jersey shore winter. Trump took extreme umbrage. “You aren’t going to talk about positive people,” he said to Feldman. “You’ll talk about the negative. You want to talk about the negative.”

While he didn’t use the “fake news” phrase that he now throws around, Trump attacked the reporter’s credibility.

Feldman: “What was inaccurate so far?”

Trump: “I thought your demeanor was inaccurate. I thought that questions that you were posing to people in my organization were inaccurate and false and unfair.”

Feldman: “Well, questions by definition can’t be inaccurate.”

After some more back and forth Trump declared the interview over, saying. “Do the interview with somebody else. Really. You don’t need this. Do it with somebody else. Have a good time. Frankly, you’re a very negative guy, and I think it’s very unfair reporting. Good luck.”

Little more than a year after that interview, Trump Taj Mahal entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Trump executed the same maneuver in 2017 when he walked out of an interview in the Oval Office after he was asked about the wiretapping accusations he had made against President Barack Obama.



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