No excuse for Trump to talk to Stephanopoulos except hubris, which by the way is a fatal flaw

Not too long ago, I wrote a column warning Republicans not to do interviews on CNN or MSNBC or other Trump-hating media.

Alas, I don’t have direct access to President Trump, so I could not stop him from giving extended access to Democratic shill George Stephanopoulos at ABC. But probably no one could have talked him out of it, and now the damage is done. The president said he would take information from a foreign government on a political opponent, which among other things gave a free pass to Hillary Clinton for accepting Russian dirt on Trump. How can she ever be prosecuted for doing what Trump said he would happily do? Sure, Hillary paid someone to talk to Russians, but is it really that different?

Despite White House denials, I really have to wonder whether Sarah Sanders’ departure as press secretary is because she failed to prevent this PR disaster. Perhaps she tried to talk the president out of giving access to Stephanopoulos; perhaps not. Either way she probably felt responsible, and she no doubt wasn’t happy about cleaning up the mess.

Sadly, Republicans seem incapable of learning this lesson. As I wrote in my earlier column about Hogan Gidley appearing on Hallie Jackson’s show:

As the interview ended, I hoped that Gidley had learned his lesson  — a lesson that Steve Bannon tried to instill in the Trump White House two years ago when he called the mainstream media “the opposition party.” But unfortunately, this is apparently a hard lesson to learn. The president continues to allow himself to be interviewed by the New York Times, and Hogan Gidley will probably be back on MSNBC within the month.

It is hard to comprehend how President Trump thought it was a good idea to say he would accept opposition research from a foreign government. I can make excuses for it, but there is no doubt that Trump handed his opponents a huge gift. Just like when he made a joke about the Russians having Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, he should have known better.

It’s possible that President Trump is trying to bait the Democrats into impeaching him, but if so that is a reckless and possibly dangerous strategy. In either case, I think we can say that this latest misstep makes impeachment more likely, not less. Just because Trump is a great president doesn’t mean he can’t make mistakes, and we supporters can’t pretend they don’t exist.

This president does the right thing when he governs, but if he has a fatal flaw in the sense of Greek tragedy, it is the same old same old — hubris, overweening pride. Sometimes you have to know when to walk away from an interview. If you don’t, you may find yourself a tragic hero, which usually doesn’t turn out well.

Frank Miele writes from Kalispell, Montana, at and is a columnist at Real Clear Politics. To read more of my columns about the Dishonest Media, the Deep Swamp, the failed presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and Trump’s war to restore American greatness, read my “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy or “The Media Matrix: What If Everything You Know Is Fake?”. They are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. 

Also visit Heartland Diary on YouTube at

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