President Donald Trump on Thursday night stumbled his way through an incoherent, rambling answer to a softball question on his priorities for a second term from Fox News anchor Sean Hannity during a town hall with voters.
"This incoherent babble doesn't even come close to answering a simple question," tweeted journalist Dennis Mersereau.
Sean Hannity just asked Trump in his townhall what his priority items would be for a second term and wtf please listen to this. It goes from saying he never slept over in D.C. before becoming president and ends with calling John Bolton an idiot. pic.twitter.com/53Hsf1ZOjg
— Sara Pearl (@skenigsberg) June 26, 2020
Hannity, a unflinchingly sycophantic supporter of the president, asked Trump what he planned for his next term and to reflect on his first four years in the White House.
"If you hear in 131 days from now, at some point in the night or early morning: 'We can now project Donald J. Trump has been re-elected the 45th president of the United States'—let's talk," said Hannity. "What's at stake in this election as you compare and contrast, and what are your top priority items for a second term?"
Trump's reply did not address the question but rather devolved into a rambling series of non sequiturs about sleeping in Washington and his distaste for former National Security Advisor John Bolton:
Well, one of the things that will be really great, you know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I've always said that. But the word experience is a very important word. It’s a very important meaning. I never did this before—I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington I think 17 times, all of the sudden, I'm the president of the United States. You know the story, I'm riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady and I say, 'This is great.' But I didn't know very many people in Washington, it wasn't my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York. Now I know everybody. And I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes, like you know an idiot like Bolton, all he wanted to do is drop bombs on everybody. You don't have to drop bombs on everybody. You don't have to kill people.
"This isn't a man with a plan or who cares about Americans' wellbeing," tweeted progressive activist Melanie D'Arrigo. "He's a 140 decibel megaphone amplifying the GOP's hateful agenda."
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The president's reply did not shake Hannity, who immediately changed the subject as if nothing had happened. But for critics of Trump, the response was another example of how out of touch the president is with his actual electoral prospects and the stakes of the contest—and raises ongoing questions about his mental sharpness.
"Trump can't even hit a softball from Hannity at this point," filmmaker Adam Best said on Twitter.
Hannity: What are your goals for a second term?
Trump: Bolton is an idiot https://t.co/dDUUrszgVt
— Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) June 26, 2020
At Bloomberg, columnist Jonathan Bernstein opined that Trump just doesn't get what his job is, even after nearly four years in office.
"He doesn't understand the presidency very well," wrote Bernstein.
If Trump can't nail an easy question on Fox News, Rolling Stone's Peter Wade wrote, he's in trouble.
"Trump had it all: Home-field advantage, an adoring audience, a pitcher who was determined to make him look good by serving up nothing but softballs, and yet again the president struck out," wrote Wade.