Sam Clovis, Trump's National co-chairman on the topic of arming Japan with nuclear weapons.
Clovis was responding to a CNN interview of Tom Friedman, who said Trump hasn't done his homework on foreign policy.
He'll blurt something out, and someone comes along says North Korea and Japan. And then you get the opposite. That's a manifestation of someone who hasn't done the original homework in the most minimum way.
Chris Cuomo then played two separate clips of Trump contradicting himself on whether Japan should have nukes or not.
In one interview Trump said, "They said I want Japan to nuke. I want Japan to get nuclear weapons. Give me a break. "
It was followed up with Trump saying, "Japan has a problem with that. I mean they have a big problem with that. Maybe they would, in fact, be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea." With nukes? "Including with nukes, yes, including with nukes."
CNN's Cuomo pointed this out to Clovis, "you understand that is an obvious inconsistency or is there an explanation for that?"
Sam tied himself in knots trying NOT to answer the question and instead called it a "hypothetical." He then switched to Trump's line that America can't afford to help our allies anymore.
CLOVIS: I think it's the context of the second conversation there is the fact he was asked a hypothetical. And I think a lot of this is in the context of what the campaign has offered up many times, that the United States simply today without the strong economy, we simply don't have the reach and the global reach that we should have, and sometimes other countries are going to have to do things that they may or may not have had to do in the past to defend themselves because we simply can't be there all the time until such time as we can get our economy back up to speed and we're able to extend the umbrella of the United States security blanket on the rest of the world.
Cuomo then tried to corner him to respond directly to his question, "Understood, Sam, but either you believe Japan should have nukes or you don't."
CLOVIS: Well, he was asked a hypothetical, Chris. Be careful, Chris.
CUOMO: You can ask me a hypothetical if you want, if I don't believe Japan should have nukes my answer will be no, no matter what the hypothetical is.
CLOVIS: "I think what he was saying is under the circumstances it may be necessary for countries to arm themselves appropriately. And whether we want to have that to happen is not really the same as saying if under those circumstances, if it's in Japan's interest, perhaps they ought to do those things. That's the nuance here that I don't think we're getting at."
That's obviously not factually true, Sam. Under no circumstance do you want to increase the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world. Ever. Period. Stop.
Pretending Trump was responding to a hypothetical is meaningless.
TPM's Josh Marshall applauded CNN's fact checking chyron:
After correspondent Jason Carroll reported Trump claimed yesterday he never said he wants Japan to get nuclear weapons, the network rolled footage of Trump earlier saying Japan should have "nukes" at its disposal and the chyron read: "TRUMP: I NEVER SAID JAPAN SHOULD HAVE NUKES (HE DID)."