Alex Wagner - Making Sense of Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech

July 21, 2016 - Alex Wagner 07/21/2016 Views: 39,886

Alex Wagner, senior editor at The Atlantic, weighs in on Donald Trump's speech accepting the GOP presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention. (4:22)

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Please welcome Alex Wagner.

(applause and cheering)

-Live TV, baby.-Live TV.

-(Wagner laughs)-It's live.

-It's all live, and it's all...-It's really live.

-Yup. Welcome to the show.-It's good to be here.

-Thanks for having me.-You were watching the speech

the same way we were-- backstageand waiting for everything.

Yeah, it was like that...

They're going hardon that heel spur thing.

I mean, uh, what did you thinkof the speech?

Let's get straight into it.

You've been coveringthe Trump campaign.

You've written some amazingarticles about it.

What did you make of the speech?

Was this presidential?

Um, it was likethe end of days with balloons.

-(laughter) -Um, I was...So, I... -Which is how

-the end of days should be,don't you think? -Yeah.

You'd hope. There's justa little silver lining

on the apocalypse.

Um, so I was struckby the contrast

between Ivanka Trump,who is apparently a Democrat...

-Yes. -(laughter)-and her father who...

I mean, and look,we've been asking,

Is Donald Trump presidential?

Can he execute?Etcetera, etcetera?

If being presidential is beingable to read a teleprompter,

then I guess he's presidential.

If being presidential is beingable to unite

and lead the country, I thinkthe jury's very much still out.

It's interesting that you saidthat about Ivanka,

'cause we were watching,and then there was a point

where I was like, "Wait.Is this Donald Trump?"

'Cause she was going in hardon women's rights,

whether it would be working,whether it be provisions.

Things that the Republican partyhas often voted against,

or not chosen to vote on,I should say.

-Sure. -And then going inon college tuition,

and it's like switchingto Bernie Sanders.

Was that a Democrat speech?

Is she going to turnDonald Trump into a Democrat?

-Can she flip her dad?-Um, I... Look, so...

-That didn't sound right,but carry on. -(laughter)

-Yeah, that... I didn't meananything by that. -Carry on.

Although there was awkwardtouching again tonight.

Um, she... so she talkedabout maternity leave.

She talked aboutaffordable childcare.

-Yes. -I mean, these are planksof Hillary Clinton's message.

And the other weird thing wasthat she began her remarks

saying, "I'm not a Democrator a Republican."

And it was like,"Lady, you're at the RNC,

and you're father's the titularhead of the Republican party."

Um, so that was weird.

I think that, you know, she hastaken it upon herself

to sort of soften his image,

but I feel like that's kind ofall wiped asunder

when he comes out,and it's literally 77 minutes--

-but who's counting-- of...-(laughter)

...of kind of thisapocalyptic demagoguery

that's all about divisionand, you know...

Well, I think you misheard him,because he said

on January 20, 2017,

he will get law and order goingso fast.

-Yeah. Yeah.-(laughter)

Law and order will, like...

-On the first day...-Yeah.

-It's just gonna...-It's gonna be like...

-Everyone's just, "Aah!" Gone.-Yeah.

There won't be anyone leftin the United States of America

-at that point.-That's how the fear...

-That's how the law andorders... -It just may be done.

It just may beThe Trump Organization.

There cannot be crimeif there are no people.

-Yeah, exactly.-It's a smart move.

-It's totally smart.-It's a really smart move.

These are the Americans left,

and there names all endin the... in Trump.

So, do you think now

the Republicans are lookingat Trump, going,

"Yes, actually that is our guybecause he can read,"

-or is this one of those wherethey're going...? -(laughter)

-He did the prompter. He isours! -Yeah, that's... He did.

Um, I lookedat Mike Pence's face

every time they went to him,and I thought,

man, this guy really looks like

he has a caseof buyer's remorse.

You know, he kind of like

brought his family up on stage,

and they kind of hadthese half smiles.

And I feel likethat is a sort of...

He is the id of theestablishment Republican party,

which is like,"I guess we're here now.

-I guess we're doing this."-We're writing it.

You know, one thingI will say is this.

Do you think Mike Pence will bethe secret president, though?

Well, from all...I mean, it doesn't seem like

-Donald Trump is gonna be thepresident. -No, he won't. No.

I mean,he doesn't have any intention

of actually governing,I don't think.

No, this is a family store.

-Like he's running a familybusiness. -Yes. No. I...

-It's just gonna be... you know?-Yeah, I mean,

Ivanka Trump and Donald Trumpand Eric Trump

may actually be running...

The kitchen cabinet,

the Trump organization mayactually be the presidency.

Um, Mike Pence will be used,as, I think, a figurehead

to calm the...

to lull the countryinto a state of, uh, perhaps...

-Hating LGBTQ communities.-(laughter)

Yeah. I don't know.I mean, honestly...

That's probably whatit's gonna go into.

Trevor,there is so much bloodlust

in that convention hall,

you almost expect lionsto kind of run out

in the endlike the Roman coliseum.

And yet the lions are going,"We are classy individuals

who do not engagein such activities."

Yeah. Exactly. No thanks.

So, we're gonna go out there,

and we're gonna have funwith them.

The Republicans on the streets.

-Thank you for being here withus. -Thank you, Trevor.

-Great to see you. -Alex Wagner,everybody. Thank you so much.