- REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump dismissed radio host Hugh Hewitt on Friday morning for asking him specific foreign-policy questions the day before.
Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Trump lamented that Hewitt, the moderator of the next GOP debate this month, asked too many “gotcha” questions.
“It was like ‘gotcha, ‘gotcha,’ ‘gotcha.’ Every question was, do I know ‘this one’ or ‘that one,'” Trump said, adding that it seemed like Hewitt had extensively prepared his questions in order to stump him.
“It was like he worked hard on that,” the real-estate mogul said.
Hewitt, a former Reagan administration official who has interviewed virtually the entire presidential field multiple times, is fond of pressing candidates on national-security issues in particular. Thursday was no exception, but Hewitt’s Trump interview stumbled right out of the gate.
Trump initially said he was familiar with Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the notorious commander of the country’s elite Quds Forces who oversees the country’s network of proxy organizations.
However, Trump then mixed up “Quds” and “Kurds” in his response, arguing that the US needed to boost the Kurdish troops in neighboring Iraq in their fight against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). He explained that he had misheard the question.
Later in the Hewitt interview, Trump said it was not yet important for him to know the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas, the Islamic militant groups based in Lebanon and Palestine, respectively. He also said he didn’t recognize a wide range of Islamic militant leaders listed by Hewitt.
“Of course I don’t know them,” Trump told Hewitt. “I’ve never met them. I haven’t been in a position to meet them. If they’re still there – which is unlikely in many cases – but if they’re still there [when I’m elected], I will know them better than I know you.”
Trump has a penchant for sparring with interviewers – even debate moderators – he feels have asked him unfair questions. He went on a tirade against last month against Megyn Kelly, who moderated the first GOP debate, and he has revisited that criticism at multiple points since.
During his “Morning Joe” interview, Trump took a tongue-in-cheek tone to dismiss both Hewitt and the Quds-Kurds mix-up.
“When you said ‘Quds’ versus ‘Kurds,’ I thought he said ‘Kurds’ – this third-rate radio announcer that I did his show,” Trump said. “While we’re on it, I do think the Kurds are not being utilized properly and not being treated properly by us.”