Tina Brown: Donald Trump doesn’t believe what he says

By Alex Bregman

Tina Brown, president and CEO of Tina Brown Live Media and founder of Women in the World, joined Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga ahead of the seventh annual Women in the World Conference this week. She also discussed various aspects of the 2016 election campaign: Donald Trump’s rise, Hillary Clinton’s “slog” to the nomination and the role women have played in the campaign.

Brown called Trump’s campaign rhetoric, particularly about women,
“a rolling momentum of disgust.” She said, “I think at this point you’re starting to see such a pattern of sort of galloping misogyny that is beginning to give people pause.”

Brown thinks people are beginning to wake up to the idea of a Trump presidency. She said, “I think there’s beginning to be a fear factor about Donald Trump, which is: ‘What if he says this stuff when he’s out there on behalf of America?’”

Brown, however, who has known Trump for years, is not convinced that the real estate mogul believes the things he’s been saying on the campaign trail. She told Golodryga: “I’ve known him for years. I’ve always found him as sort of a great huckster, a showman, a Barnum & Bailey. I don’t think he believes all this stuff for a minute. That’s what’s so fascinating to me.” She continued, “I don’t think he’s particularly an antiwomen’s rights kind of a guy. I think he’s kind of an unreconstructed kind of 1985 Playboy Mansion sort of a man of a certain generation. But I don’t see him as a person who is a dark racist.”

Brown thinks he’s just saying things that he thinks will win him the presidency. She said, “I don’t think those things are actually particularly true about him, which makes it almost worse because he’s almost adopted this stuff because he thought he’d win. Now it’s sort of taken root whether he actually believes it. I don’t think he believes it. I think the reason he’s making these gaffes is that he’s sort of making it up as he goes along.”

Brown is more concerned about Sen. Ted Cruz than she is about Donald Trump. She said, “I think that Ted Cruz does believe the stuff that he says, which is why I find him rather more alarming than Donald Trump, because he’s a very plausible candidate. He might be very good in a debate with Hillary Clinton because he’s not an uneducated or un-deft politician. He’s quite good, where I think she would eat Donald Trump’s lunch at this point because he really can look like a fool I think.”

On the Democratic side, Brown thinks the nomination will ultimately go to Hillary Clinton despite her recent losses. “Nobody expected Sanders to get this far, but, you know, everything about Hillary Clinton’s life has been a slog. This is not a woman who has ever done it on ‘magic’. … It’s about a slog. I think she’ll slog it out. She has this unbelievable stamina.”

She is concerned about Sanders’ genuine knowledge on policy issues. She told Golodryga: “It’s scary having someone in the White House who doesn’t know anything, and Bernie Sanders, you know, I agree with a huge amount of what he says actually, but how is he going to get it done?” She concluded, “Bernie behaves like he can wave a wand and buy everybody a drink.”

Brown is fascinated by what she called a “mismatch” between Sanders’ supporters and the candidate himself. She said, “Isn’t it amazing that these young people are going with a 75-year-old guy with the unruly hair and the honky voice?”

She does think that Sanders supporters will come out for Clinton in the end because of who she might be facing: “I cannot believe that even the young, euphoric kids who love Bernie Sanders are going to sit on their hands and let either a Donald Trump or a Ted Cruz win the White House.” She continued, “I think the way she’ll unite them is with who is going to be on the other side.”