Donald Trump has been consistently asked to get specific on a potential foreign policy team for his presidency, and the repetitive yet vague candidate isn’t acquiescing.
It began during a wide-ranging interview with Meet The Press on Aug. 6, when host Chuck Todd asked him whom he spoke to for military advice.
“Well, I watch the shows,” Trump said.
Pressed by Todd to give some actual military names, Trump replied there were probably “two or three.”
The following month, at the second Republican debate of the cycle, radio host Hugh Hewitt hit the same note.
“You can’t run the world by yourself,” Hewitt said. “When are we going to get some names on your military and your foreign policy advisers?”
“Very soon, and I’m meeting with people that are terrific people, but I have to say something because it’s about judgment,” Trump said.
Almost five months later, Fox News host Martha MacCallum broached the subject during a February
“And one the things that I think a lot of people – maybe the voters who are not supporting you right now – would love to know is who do you talk to for foreign policy advice? What specific people do you talk to?” she asked. “Because I think you might be able to move outside of the percentage that you already have if you were willing to say, it might give people increased level of confidence if they knew who you were talking to.”
“Well, I can do that and I’m going to release a list in about two weeks,” Trump said.
“Why don’t you release it right here right now?”
“Well, it just wouldn’t be appropriate,” he said, adding he felt he knew more about foreign policy than anyone else in the race. This was a notable statement, given Trump didn’t know the difference between the Quds and Kurds, didn’t know what the nuclear triad was, and announced he would commit war crimes by killing the families of terrorists.
In the generally friendly confines of Morning Joe, Trump has been questioned often about this subject by co-host Mika Brzezinski.
During a town hall hosted by her and host Joe Scarborough on Feb. 17, Brzezinski asked if he could name three people he consults with on foreign policy. Trump said he would “rather not because I’m going to be announcing a team in about a week that is really a good team.”
“I know the people but we’re announcing a team in about a week,” Trump said. “And I’m going to keep it a little bit secret.”
Brzezinski pointed out during a Morning Joe interview on March 3 that it had been “15 days” since Trump made that statement.
“I asked you to share with me three people that you would consult with on foreign policy and you said you wouldn’t at the moment because you would be announcing your team in a week,” she said. “Where is that team? Who is that team? If that team is not put together yet, who are three people that you would respect and consult with on foreign policy?”
“Mika, I’ve met with and spoken to the team,” he said. “I’m going to do it very shortly. I don’t think there’s any rush but I’ve met, I’ve spoken to the members of the team and I’m going to do it very shortly. You know at least one of the members of that team. But I’ll do it very shortly. I just don’t want to do it now.”
Pushed again the issue at that night’s Fox News debate by Bret Baier, Trump said he admired such foreign policy experts as Richard Haass, Gen. Jack Keane and Col. Jack Jacobs, all of whom make frequent television appearances.
“I have many people that I think are really excellent, but in the end, it’s going to be my decision,” Trump said.
Brzezinski tried again on March 8 with Trump, to no avail. She did point out it had been a full 20 days since Trump had promised he would announce his foreign policy team in “about a week.”
“Who are the giants that are going to join you?” she asked.
“Well, I’ve already got Jeff Sessions,” Trump said. “He’s endorsed me. Well, I’m not doing it this morning, Mika. You know, you do always ask me that question. I said I would have it in due time and I’ve been meeting with some tremendous people and I haven’t made exactly my decision yet, but you’ll have it in due time.”
“Is there a team?” she asked.
“Yes, there is a team. There’s not a team,” Trump said. “I’m going to be forming a team. I have met with far more than three people, and I will be forming a team at the appropriate time.”