Donald Trump Doesn’t Know Foreign Groups Because They’re Just “Arab Name, Arab Name”

Max Whittaker/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


During Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate, Donald Trump—the Republican who’s still running laps around the competition in the polls—faced a seemingly tough question from moderator Jake Tapper: can he really serve as an effective president when he can’t name or even recognize many foreign leaders and groups?

The question stems from Trump’s appearance earlier this month on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, in which he confused Iran’s Quds Force, a special forces unit within the country’s Revolutionary Guard, with the Kurds in Iraq.

Tapper framed the question around Sen. Marco Rubio’s recent criticism of Trump over the gaffe. “If you don’t know the answer to these questions, then you are not going to be able to serve as commander and chief,” Rubio said earlier this month.

How’d Trump deal with Tapper’s question? After all, confusing and mispronouncing foreign names was a standard criticism that dogged George W. Bush throughout his presidency. But Trump? Nah, he’s not worried. First, he boasted about how Hewitt—a co-moderator of the CNN debate—had since apologized and said that “Donald Trump is maybe the best interview anywhere that he’s ever done.”

“I will say this though,” Trump continued, “Hugh was giving me name after name—Arab name, Arab name, Arab—and there are few people anywhere, ANYWHERE, that would have known those names. I think he was reading them off a sheet.”

Oy vey.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate