14 deeply revealing words from Donald Trump's '60 Minutes' interview

President Donald Trump has a very simple worldview: The end justifies the means -- and the only acceptable e...

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 4:32 AM
Updated: Oct 16, 2018 4:32 AM

President Donald Trump has a very simple worldview: The end justifies the means -- and the only acceptable end is victory.

Never has that win-at-all-costs philosophy been on more vivid display than in a back-and-forth with "60 Minutes" anchor Lesley Stahl during an interview that ran on Sunday night. The conversation focused on Christine Blasey Ford, her allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Trump's mocking of her at a campaign rally in Mississippi. Here it is, in full (bolding is mine):

Donald Trump

Political Figures - US

Christine Blasey Ford

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Misc people

Sex crimes

Sexual assault

Sexual misconduct

Society

Brett Kavanaugh

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Politics

US federal court system

US federal government

US Supreme Court

STAHL: Professor Blasey Ford got before the Senate and -- and was asked what's the worst moment. And she said, "When the two boys laughed at me, at my expense."

TRUMP: OK, fine.

STAHL: And then I watched you mimic her and thousands of people were laughing at her.

TRUMP: They can do what they -- I -- I will tell you this. The way now Justice Kavanaugh was treated has become a big factor in the midterms. Have you seen what's gone on with the polls?

STAHL: But did you have to --

TRUMP: Well, I think she was treated with great respect, I'll -- I'll --

STAHL: And -- but --

TRUMP: be honest with you.

STAHL: but do you think -- you treated her with --

TRUMP: There are those that think she shouldn't have --

STAHL: Do you think you treated her with respect?

TRUMP: I think so, yeah. I did.

STAHL: But you seem to be saying that she lied.

TRUMP: W -- you know what? I'm not gonna get into it because we won. It doesn't matter. We won.

Fourteen words. And a perfect encapsulation of Trumpism. He is the living, breathing epitome of the old cliche that winning isn't everything, it's the only thing. Trump sees -- and has always seen -- every moment in his life, whether it's a business deal, a TV show, as fundamentally a battle in which a winner and a loser will be determined. There's no gray area for Trump. The world is divided into people who win and people who lose. And he is very much one of the former.

"My whole life is about winning," he told The Washington Post in December 2015. "I always win. I win at golf. I'm a club champion many times at different clubs. I win at golf. I can sink the three-footer on the 18th hole when others can't. My whole life is about winning. I don't lose often. I almost never lose."

On the campaign trail, he developed a now-familiar riff about, well, winning. Here's one example from a speech in Albany, New York, in April 2016:

"We're going to start winning again. We're going to win so much. We're going to win at every level. We are going to win economically. We are going to win with the economy. We're going to win with the military. We're going to win with health care and our veterans. We're going to win with every single fact. We're going to win so much you may even get tired of winning. And you'll say, 'Please, please, it's too much winning. We can't take it anymore, Mr. President, it's too much.'' And I'll say, 'No, it isn't. We have to keep winning. We have to win more.' We're going to win more. We're going to win so much."

Short version: I win.

During the campaign, this riff worked for Trump because it was seen by lots of people as aspirational. The not-so-subtle pitch from Trump went like this: I win. Do you want to win? If so, you should vote for me and we can all win.

That was, of course, a vast oversimplification. But it was also campaign rhetoric, which is not exactly known for its strict adherence to fact.

What Trump is doing in the clip above with Stahl is far more insidious and dangerous. He's concluding that whatever he said about Ford must have been right because Kavanaugh is now on the Supreme Court. Watch how Trump reacts when Stahl tries to nail him down on whether he was purposely making fun of Ford.

First, he seems to blame the audience for laughing ("They can do what they ... ") before pivoting to note that "the way Justice Kavanaugh was treated has become a big factor in the midterms." Uh, what?

The second time Stahl asks a similar question -- pointing out that Trump's mockery of Ford "seem(ed) to be saying that she lied," Trump goes to his ace in the hole: "I'm not gonna get into it because we won. It doesn't matter. We won."

What, exactly, is Trump saying doesn't matter? Whether he thought Ford was lying? Whether he was purposefully making fun of her to score political points? Why the crowd in Mississippi was laughing?

Go back and read the full exchange. I did. A bunch of times. And it sounds a lot like Trump is saying, essentially, that if you win, anything you do to win is entirely justified by your winning. That sort of reductive logic leads down a very dangerous -- and, unfortunately, well-worn -- path.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
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