We interrupt this program for an important political announcement. Rather than cancel the now-meaningless series of Democratic Party presidential debates between now and next March, and give up more than 12 hours of free air time, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has invited “the master brander” Donald Trump to join in all five of its remaining debates. The front-running Republican Party candidate has accepted the invitation, issuing this statement:
“This country is dying of stagnation… I mean, dying… and part of the reason is all of the dead air in prime-time viewing in places like Fox News. Everyone knows that I have caused millions of people who wouldn’t have bothered to tune into the Republican Party debates. That was all me. It sure as hell wasn’t anything Jeb, or Ben, or Carly said or did. Why shouldn’t I do same thing for the Democratic Party debates? The way I see it, when Trump speaks, the people listen, and America wins. It’s time to make America great again.”
As a trial run, Trump sat in a back room at the first Democratic Party debate in Las Vegas on Oct. 13 and acted as a silent participant, joining in the discussion at several key points. Here is an updated transcript of highlights from the debate that include Mr. Trump’s contributions:
Bernie Sanders (rushing to Hillary Clinton’s defense on her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state): The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails. Enough of the emails! Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.
Hillary (effusively): Thank you, Bernie, thank you.
Trump: Hey, how bout some love here, too, Hillary. You don’t hear me going on and on about all the emails you erased… or who said what to whom on the night on September 11, 2012 when a few of our people were killed in Benghazi. That was some bad stuff. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as what happened during George W. Bush’s watch. The World Trade Center fell down when he was president and thousands died.
Hillary (less warmly): Thank you, Donald.
Donald: And thank you — and Bill — for being there for me at my last wedding. Of course, you had to be there — as a result of the big contributions that I have made to Bill and you and the Democratic Party over the years. You might just say that you owe me and I own you — and a lot of other politicians too, of course. That’s part of the reason I’m really, really rich. The same people who came to my wedding because I paid them to be there will do other things that I ask them to do in making all kinds of really smart deals.
Sanders: Can we get back to the real issues facing this country? Let’s talk about education. This is the year 2015. A college degree today is the equivalent of what a high school degree was 50 years ago. And what we said 50 years ago and a hundred years ago is that every kid in this country should be able to get a high school education regardless of the income of their family. I think we have to say that is true for everyone going to college. In my view, what we need to do is… make every public college and university in this country tuition free. I pay for my program, by the way, through a tax on Wall Street speculation, which will not only make colleges and universities tuition-free, it will substantially lower interest rates on college debt, meaning you the student really don’t have to worry about anything other than studying and having a good time. It’s allpaid for.
Hillary: I think that’s going a little too far, Bernie. I think students should have to work during college, like I did, in order to earn free tuition at colleges and universities. But everyone who wants to should be able to go to college debt-free.
Trump: Let me tell you something. I don’t think you even have to go to college if you’re really, really smart and really, really tough. But I did go to college and it was absolutely, totally, free. My daddy paid for everything, and I didn’t have to wash dishes or do anything dumb like that. But even without a degree from Wharton School of Finance — where I did really, really well, by the way, competing against some of the smartest people on the planet — I know that I still would have gone on to make a very, very big fortune. You’ve already heard me say how much I like single payer health care — and how great that has been for Canada and Scotland. So, sure, I think we should have free health for everyone who needs it. Should we add college to the list of freebies that would be available in a Trump presidency? I dunno. I’ll have to give it some thought. However, speaking from personal experience, I think the value of a good education is greatly overrated. It didn’t do any good for me. I am probably the only person you know who has written more books (16) than he has read. Of course, I can afford to hire the best writers that money can buy — and I’m not bragging when I say that’s just chump change for me, being Trump.
Closing Remarks — on political philosophy
Sanders: Call me a socialist and proud of it. America is ready to elect a democratic socialist. I’m for free everything.
Hillary: I think what Senator Sanders is saying certainly makes sense in terms of the inequality we have. But whoa, we would be making a grave mistake to turn on backs on what built the greatest middle class in the world. It’s our job to rein in the excess of capitalism so that it doesn’t run amok and doesn’t cause the kind of inequities we’re seeing in our economic system.
Trump: Call me a capitalist if you want, but I prefer to think of myself as a pirate king — living by his own rules and doing as he damn well pleases, plunder and all. I don’t put a lot of stock in free trade, free markets, or limited government — and I am just as happy to be part of the debate here with you Democrats as I am debating with all those earnest, well-meaning idiots over in the Republican Party. I feel more welcome here than I am over there. What’s more, I like your cynicism in pretending that our national salvation depends on having more of the same tax-and-spend policies that have wreaked so damage on the economy over the past six years. That’s almost as good as my strongman shtick filled with this kind of bluster — “I’ll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places… and I’ll bring back our money.” Sure I will.
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