"Donald Creates His Own Reality": David Cay Johnston on Trump Rewriting History at 3rd GOP Debate

October 29, 2015


David Cay Johnston

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter previously with The New York Times. He’s currently a columnist for Al Jazeera America as well as a contributing writer at Newsweek. His latest book is Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality. He has been covering Donald Trump for various publications for decades.

At Wednesday’s Republican debate in Boulder, Donald Trump denied making several statements only to be shown the source of the claims came from his website. "You have to understand Donald creates his own reality," says Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston. "Whatever Donald says at the moment is, to Donald, the truth."


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking about last night’s third Republican debate in Boulder, Colorado. Let’s turn to CNBC moderator Becky Quick questioning Donald Trump at last night’s debate.

BECKY QUICK: Mr. Trump, let’s stay on this issue of immigration. You have been very critical of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who has wanted to increase the number of these H-1Bs.

DONALD TRUMP: I was not—I was not at all critical of him. I was not at all. In fact, frankly, he’s complaining about the fact that we’re losing some of the most talented people. They go to Harvard. They go to Yale. They go to Princeton. They come from another country, and they’re immediately sent out. I am all in favor of keeping these talented people here, so they can go to work in Silicon Valley.

BECKY QUICK: So you’re in favor of increasing them?

DONALD TRUMP: So, I have not been at all critical of him.

BECKY QUICK: Where did I read this and come up with this that you were—

DONALD TRUMP: Probably—I don’t know. You people write this stuff. I don’t know where you—

BECKY QUICK: I didn’t write this stuff. ... You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator because he was in favor of the H-1B visas.

DONALD TRUMP: I never said that. I never said that.

BECKY QUICK: So this was an erroneous article the whole way around?

DONALD TRUMP: He’s got another gentleman in Florida, who happens to be a very nice guy, but not—

BECKY QUICK: My apologies. I’m sorry.

DONALD TRUMP: Somebody’s really doing some bad fact checking. ...

BECKY QUICK: Mr. Trump, I want to go back to an issue that we were talking about before, the H-1B visas. I found where I read that before. It was from the website. And it says—it says that, again, "Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities."

AMY GOODMAN: So, there you have it, the questioning of Donald Trump. He says, "I never said that Marco Rubio was, what, the personal senator of Mark Zuckerberg." David Cay Johnston—of course, he did say it; it was right on his website, and it was reported widely in every newspaper.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, you have to understand, Donald creates his own reality. Whatever Donald says at the moment is, to Donald, the truth. And he believes his own stuff. And this is partly Carson’s problem. You know, there’s no objective reality out there. You know, Carson doesn’t seem to understand it took an enormous army of multiple countries to to defeat the Nazis. He thinks a group a persecuted people with, you know, small weapons are going to stop the Nazis. But this is very typical of Donald, and his views are highly flexible depending on what he sees as his momentary negotiating advantage.

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