Trump’s interview with Sean Hannity reveals he doesn’t know how any of this works

Sean Hannity, Donald Trump

Sean Hannity, Donald Trump (Credit: Fox News)


On Tuesday, President Donald Trump sat down with Fox News’ Sean Hannity for a wide-ranging fanfest that masqueraded as an interview. When the two were not complimenting each other, they touched on a number of issues, from the economy to North Korea to former President Barack Obama. The president spoke entirely off the cuff — to his own detriment.


Take for example, Trump’s bizarre statement on the state of the U.S. economy.


“The country — we took it over and owed over 20 trillion. As you know the last eight years, they borrowed more than it did in the whole history of our country. So they borrowed more than $10 trillion, right? And yet, we picked up 5.2 trillion just in the stock market,” the president said. “Possibly picked up the whole thing in terms of the first nine months, in terms of value. So you could say, in one sense, we’re really increasing values. And maybe in a sense, we’re reducing debt.” (That’s not how any of this works.)


“We’re very honored by it. And we’re very, very happy with what’s happening on Wall Street,” he added.


Wall Street, of course, has no direct correlation with the country’s debt. So while the stock market has improved under the Trump presidency, in no way has that had an impact on the debt. The stock market dictates the value for shareholders, while the debt has to do with money owed by the government.


The economy was not the only subject that Trump muddled.


His statements on inner-city crime were similarly incoherent. Hannity asked Trump what he has done in the 10 months as president to improve the conditions in the inner city. Trump answered by rambling on about a campaign slogan he used to tout.


“I’m reading the statistics of a certain inner city, which were terrible. Education is terrible, crime rate is terrible, every single element, economic development, jobs, everybody was unemployed,” Trump said, reliving a moment from the 2016 campaign. “And I just said, ‘what the hell do you have to lose?’ And the place went crazy. Then I’d actually use it again and again and we went up [in the polls] and we’re doing a good job.”


Trump forgot to note that most of his crowds during the campaign were filled with white people who rarely venture into big cities. Trump never campaigned in urban centers such as Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. So while Trump may have heard a positive reaction to his vapid “what do you have to lose?” line, it was coming from the wrong source.


The two then moved on to another serious issue: North Korea. The president again demonstrated a lack of competency on the subject. Trump said that the U.S. has missiles that can knock out a missile “in the air” 97 percent of the time.


“If you send two of them, it’s going to get knocked out,” he said.


But current and former military experts had no idea what system he was referring to and have argued that his “97 percent” confidence in the U.S. missile defense system is misplaced.


Trump’s commentary on North Korea did not stop there.


The president then took a swipe at Obama for failing to unify the region. “This should have been handled 25 years ago, it should have been handled 20 years ago, and 10 years ago, and five years ago,” Trump said of ratcheting tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. “It should have been handled by numerous – not just Obama, but certainly President Obama should have taken care of it. Now it’s at a point where it’s very, very far advanced,” he said.


Before the interview ended, Trump then graciously thanked Hannity for the “incredible” job he was doing on Fox News.


“You have been so great, and I’m very proud of you, and — you know I’m a ratings person, you notice I always talk — OK. Has anyone seen his ratings? What you are doing to your competition is incredible. Number one, and I’m very proud of you, and it’s an honor to be on your show, I have to tell you that,” he said.


Watch the full interview below: