Donald Trump senior adviser Barry Bennett said the notion that the presumptive Republican nominee's "words matter" was "ridiculous" in a combative exchange with Dan Senor Thursday on CNN.
Senor, a former adviser to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, grinned when Barry Bennett uttered those words, calling that his favorite line of the 2016 campaign so far.
In an appearance on Erin Burnett's OutFront, Bennett called Trump's controversial proposals no different than "a suggestion to Congress." Senor hit Bennett for Trump's varying stances on numerous issues and wondered if any of his campaign promises, like banning Muslims from entering the U.S. or building a southern border wall, would ever come to fruition.
"Can be build it without Congress' approval? No," Bennett said. "So he has to persuade Congress to do it."
"So we can now caveat every policy proposal as it's just a suggestion," Senor said.
"Dan, you've been around Washington long enough that it takes Congress to go along," Bennett said. "All he can do is try to persuade Congress to go along with him. You know that as well as I do."
"I do, but typically words matter when political leaders—" Senor said.
"Oh please, this ‘words matter' stuff, I mean, this is ridiculous," Bennett said. "You are looking desperately for a reason not to vote for him. I don't care. Don't vote for him."
Senor couldn't help but smile at the other panelists when Bennett ridiculed the idea that what politicians say matters.
"My favorite line, honestly, of this campaign may have just been articulated by you," Senor said. "'This words matter stuff is ridiculous. Don't take him at his word. Don't take him at his word.'"
Bennett, unfazed, criticized the idea that Trump wasn't actually a conservative and touted his high Republican primary vote total as proof.
"Do you think he's a conservative?" Senor said.
"Yes, I do think he's a conservative," Bennett said. "I think they're all different kind of conservatives. A lot of the conservatives that you think are good conservatives I don't think are good conservatives because they don't believe in the social causes that I believe in."
"Does Donald Trump?" Senor asked.
"I think he does, yes," Bennett said.
"You think he does," Senor repeated.
"I think he does," Bennett said.
Senor said he didn't have particular insight as to what was inside Trump's head and wondered why Bennett had such faith.
"All I can see is him bouncing around on just about every issue which tells me he doesn't actually believe in anything," Senor said.