Exclusive: Trump Says Obama Shows ‘Total Desperation’ on Iran - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Exclusive: Trump Says Obama Shows ‘Total Desperation’ on Iran

Donald Trump wrote the book on deal making. Literally.

Back there in 1987 Trump’s The Art of the Deal was, as Trump books tend to be, a number one bestseller. It was a primer on — what else? — how to do a deal. The man who built a global empire and gained a reputation almost thirty years ago for “an unprecedented education in the practice of deal-making” gave readers a “streetwise” look at how to do a serious deal. To do it well, to make it good — to get what you want.

Now, in an exclusive conversation with The American Spectator The Donald talks about President Obama’s negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons — and makes plain Obama has violated several of what his long ago classic on deal-making called “Trump Cards: The Elements of the Deal.” 

Where did Obama go wrong? The President violated the basic Trump rule that to get a good deal “use your leverage.” Wrote Trump:

The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead. The best thing you can do is deal from strength, and leverage is the biggest strength you can have. Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without.

And what has the President done in this deal? Exactly what Trump said years ago a deal maker should never do. Said Trump in a conversation with me recalling his book and comparing his “Trump Card” rules with the reality of the President’s Iran deal-making: “You can’t show desperation. Obama has shown total desperation.”

Another “Trump Card” from his book was that a negotiator must know when to “fight back.” Wrote Trump: “There are times when the only choice is confrontation.” Said Trump in our conversation about the use of confrontation in the current Iran negotiation: “No deal is better than a bad deal.” In other words, the negotiator has to be willing to walk away. Which Obama has made clear he will not do.

How is Trump’s assessment of Obama’s negotiating skills playing when the business mogul is out there on the stump in places like New Hampshire and Iowa? His crowds, he tells me, are “the biggest” — and they are reflected in the polls. We spoke for a moment about a series of recent polls that seem to have startled some political observers, but make perfect sense when one hears the reaction to Trump’s appearances. 

Trump laughed at the idea various political observers weren’t taking him seriously — yet find themselves having to deal with headlines about his rise in the polls. Like this one from Boston’s Suffolk University that was headlined by Newsmax:

Suffolk Univ. Poll: Trump Leads Cruz, Rubio in New Hampshire

He also pointed to a recent Monmouth University poll that MSNBC headlined

Donald Trump beats Rand Paul, Chris Christie in poll

We spoke on what was a characteristically busy day for Trump, who will be heading to New Hampshire again in the near future and has hired staff in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in addition to maintaining a political team in New York City. Shortly after our conversation he was sitting down for a chat with Fox’s Neil Cavuto. Continuing with his sharp criticism of Obama’s deal-making skills he told the Fox host what Obama had negotiated was a “total travesty.”

One of the increasing problems in the coverage of Trump outside of Fox (and here is Trump being interviewed by the decidedly serious Fox journalist and anchor Bret Baier) is that the so-called “mainstream media” — isn’t. As we noted here the other day, over at National Review Jim Geraghty summed up this media problem exactly in a piece headlined “The Skewed View of America Inside the Progressive Bubble.” Wrote Geraghty:

A lot of members of the media who are covering the GOP presidential candidates have exceptionally little in common with the voters who will select the Republican nominee. Thus, when the Republican candidates make their pitch to grassroots conservatives, the hot-take instant analysis from the big media voices usually concludes that the pitch was a belly flop. But the GOP candidates aren’t trying to win votes in the New York and D.C. newsrooms, and in a spectacular failure of empathy and understanding, a lot of reporters simply can’t grasp the hopes, fears, and priorities of GOP-leaning voters in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina… and Tennessee.

If you’re a particular kind of snot-nosed urban progressive, the NRA Convention — this year held in the country-music capital of the world, Nashville — is the perfect opportunity for smug eye-rolling, relished disdain, and incredulous scoffing that people actually live and think like this in the year 2015. 

This is already evident in the media treatment of Trump. Which amuses Trump, who most recently was a hit at the NRA convention’s convention in Nashville. He laughed as he told me the media didn’t like to report on him as a presidential candidate because “they don’t think I’m serious.”

The irony here is considerable. Trump on the stump is easygoing and anything but the stiff automaton that has become a Hillary Clinton trademark. And when he speaks, he is in fact cheered on by his audiences who clearly like his New York-style bluntness. Yet the media — wrapped as it is in the progressive bubble that Geraghty cites — is clueless about the irony that billionaire Trump is in fact seriously popular on the campaign trail. 

Earlier this year Trump had appeared at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines. As noted here in Raw Story (among other outlets reporting on the event), “the crowd cheered and whistled” Trump as he spoke, delivering withering assessments about Jeb Bush (“no more Bushes”) and Romney (Romney “choked” in the finish to the 2012 election and was simply not viable as a 2016 candidate). In fact, only days after Trump’s remarks and the cheering applause with which they were greeted were sent everywhere in the world of social media Romney, who had been gearing up for a third run, abandoned the race.

Last year I had raised just this subject of the mainstream media with Trump in an interview that took place in his Trump Tower office in New York. He replied:

The press is extremely dishonest. Much of it. Some of it I have great respect for, and they’re great people and honorable people. But there’s a large segment of the press that’s more dishonest than anybody I’ve seen in business or anywhere else. And the one thing you have to do is you have to inform the public. The public has to know about the dishonesty of the press because these are really bad people and they don’t tell the truth and have no intention of telling the truth. And I know who they are and I would expose them 100 percent. And I will be doing that. I mean, as I go down the line, I enjoy exposing people for being frauds and, you know, I would be definitely doing that. I think it’s important to know. Because a lot of the public, they think, oh, they read it in the newspaper, and therefore it must be true. 

Well many of the things you read in the newspaper are absolutely false and really disgustingly false.

The Donald Trump I spoke with yesterday afternoon — upbeat, positive, blunt — clearly sees what lies ahead if he makes this race. By one of those ironies of politics, the reality and the controversy surrounding the high stakes Obama/Kerry deal with Iran that Trump sees as a virtual giveaway to Iran plays directly to one of his specific strengths — the art of the deal. “Politicians are easy,” he says (here to Megyn Kelly), and he pounds away at the Iran deal and how bad it is repeatedly. It is a theme he is hitting over and over, again and again, as he travels around the country and makes his media appearances. 

“Think Big” was another of those “Trump Cards” Trump had listed in that long ago book. It’s hard to get bigger in the “Think Big” category than denying Iran nuclear weapons and the ability to do what they say they want to do — destroy Israel and bring “Death to America” as their Supreme Leader was chanting even as his “negotiators” were sitting across from the American Secretary of State.

Which brings us to Trump’s last piece of advice: Deliver the goods. Wrote Trump in The Art of the Deal:

You can’t con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.

Donald Trump — who says Obama and Kerry have long since given up using American leverage in this negotiation because they are acting in “total desperation” — is appalled at what he sees. He is convinced that as time moves on, the Obama/Kerry Iran deal will prove to be just what he believes it to be. A bad deal. A con. 

“No deal is better than a bad deal” Trump reminds me again as he prepares to hang up. Thus speaks the author of The Art of the Deal on Obama’s Iran negotiation. With a lifetime of deal-making experience, it is in fact safe to say Donald Trump knows more than most about the subject. “No one else can do what I do,” he is fond of saying.

And he’s right.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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