It has been a very bad week for Donald Trump. He seems to be attempting to offend just about everybody who doesn’t share his last name with attacks on the family of a dead soldier. Then there’s the fire department he accused of being in the tank for Hillary because they stopped letting people into a Trump rally when the room reached its occupancy limit. And national polls over the past few days all show Clinton with a lead that appears to be growing.
Naturally, the Trump surrogates have been out in force, trying to spin all of that bad news as best as they can. And in some cases, they have been able to get away with it. But if one of those surrogates, Boris Epshteyn, thought that he could ignore the questions and talk about anything he wanted when he spoke to MSNBC’s Chris Jansing, he soon got a rude awakening.
Jansing starts by asking Epshteyn about President Obama’s statement at a press conference where he said that Trump is “unfit to serve as president.” Jansing observes that the president is “channeling the frustration” of many, including some Trump supporters, who don’t understand why Trump attacked the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, and why he hasn’t apologized.
Epshteyn decides to turn the question around and attack President Obama. Jansing lets him talk briefly, then says, “But we are talking about your candidate,” and tries to refocus the conversation on Trump. When she is done offering a rephrased question, Epshteyn goes right back to his attack on the president.
“You’re not answering my question,” Jansing scolds.
When Epshteyn finally mentions Trump, he claims that he, the candidate and the entire campaign have “utmost respect for Capt. Khan and the Khan family.” What an amazing statement, given the things Trump has been saying. But Epshteyn immediately walks back that statement by criticizing the Khans for appearing at the Democratic convention. And as soon as he finishes with that, he blames the Iraq war on Hillary Clinton.
By this point, Jansing appears to be getting fed up. She notes that the RNC did something similar when they featured the mother of a Benghazi victim. Oh, but that person wasn’t on stage nearly as long as the Khans were, Epshteyn replies.
Jansing looks disgusted. She fires back,
You didn’t hear Hillary Clinton going after her [the Benghazi mother], and you did hear Donald Trump going after — not just the father, but the mother, and questioning why she stayed silent.
Jansing says that she wants to move on, and editorializes that it doesn’t make sense that Trump would go after the Khans in the way he has. “He didn’t go after the parents,” Epshteyn shoots back.
“He DID!” Jansing exclaims, appearing amazed at what she just heard.
Next, she turns the conversation to the firefighters Trump attacked and wants to know why he would accuse them of being political when they were following the law and trying to keep people safe. Epshteyn weasels out of answering, saying Jansing should ask someone who was there because he didn’t know whether the room was full or not.
Finally, the conversation moves to which candidate is best prepared to be president. Jansing displays a poll that shows 60 percent of Americans believe Clinton is ready to be president, compared to only 35 percent who say the same thing about Trump. What does Epshteyn do? He calls Clinton a “liar” and a “failure,” and brings the email controversy into the discussion.
Jansing does allow Epshteyn to get in the last word as the segment ends, and he uses it to blame Hillary — who hasn’t been Secretary of State for almost four years — for the spread of ISIS. But other than that, Jansing challenged him on virtually every statement he made in defense of Trump. Maybe if other news anchors had taken a similar approach with Trump himself over the past few months, there wouldn’t be a nominee Trump for surrogates like Boris Epshteyn to have to defend.
Here’s the conversation, via MSNBC:
Featured image via MSNBC screen capture