Given how the PR gaffes have been stacking up, coupled with the GOP team’s work to have their candidate strike a more presidential pose, it had to happen sooner or later. Last week it did. Donald Trump admitted a mistake. Then, with standard Trump deftness, he pivoted and turned that mistake into a jab at his opponent. Folks who want to talk about Trump being “new” to this political thing may want to pay attention. This guy is not any kind of wet behind the ears.
Unless you were under a rock last week, there was a big snafu about whether or not hundreds of millions in cash delivered to Iran was, in fact, a ransom or not. Trump, of course, came down on the side of “of course it’s ransom, how could it not be.” He might be right. Those who “really” know probably aren’t going to say. That wasn’t Trump’s mistake, though you can bet Team Hillary tried to pin it on him.
The mistake happened when, after watching the morning news, Trump said he “saw” footage of the money plane landing in Iran. Then he repeated that story for a couple of days on the campaign trail. He was still repeating the story while his campaign team was desperately trying to walk it back. Because the plane in question was not the money plane, and it wasn’t landing in Iran. It was another plane, and it was landing in Geneva, Switzerland. Because Trump went on and on about it, and because the media was not the least bit interested in letting it go, this “issue” became a prime opportunity for the candidate to admit he is, like the rest of us, fallible.
Trump is not known for admitting errors. He’s known for flatly denying them, so you can bet the liberal-leaning media reps in his stump speech audience were salivating, hoping desperately for another split screen opportunity of Trump contradicting himself. They didn’t get that gift. Trump tossed some coal in their stocking. He looked straight ahead, gripped the podium and said he screwed up. Sorry folks, I got it wrong.
You could have heard a pin drop. Gone were the already written headlines. Gone was another chance to mock and/or defend the candidate. All that was left was, hey, good form Donald. Makes you wonder if he was setting this up all along.
David Firester is an intelligence analysis expert in New York.