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OTR Interviews

Krauthammer: With Trump, it's a character Issue now and that's his problem

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 5, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Back here in Washington, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer just wrote a blistering opinion piece about Donald Trump.

Charles is here to go ON THE RECORD.

Nice to see you, Charles.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST/FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be here.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, you define Trump as a man who "defied every political rule and prevailed to win his party's nomination."

Can you explain that?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I mean, he did stuff you don't expect anybody would do and survive. We called his demise a million times. We were wrong, every time. The John McCain episode. The Megyn Kelly episode.

I mean, there are sort of so many you can't remember. It was almost like as if the whole idea was to create so many scandals that one would erase the one before. But, of course, he prevailed in a decisive way against 16 other candidates. That to me is an amazing feat.

But I think what's going on right now is he's in a general election. The pivot that we've all heard about is never going to happen because it's not a matter of wrong strategy; it's a matter of character.

He didn't make a mistake when he attacked the Gold Star father and mother. He was reacting to insults, to what he saw as an insult, a slighting, disrespect. And he did it. That's what he does reflexively. That defines him.

And anybody else, I think, would have reflected on this, of the damage it would do. It's done tremendous damage. We know that. He's been told that. He seems to have stopped. But I think it's a character issue and that's his problem.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. But if everyone called for his demise during the primary and he defied all odds, and right now you're sort of calling for his demise now in light of this latest Gold Star. I mean, what -- does this sort of --

(CROSSTALK)

KRAUTHAMMER: The difference is --

VAN SUSTEREN: What's the difference?

KRAUTHAMMER: The constituency. When you are running in a more narrow constituency, a conservative constituency, Republican constituency, he had about 15 million votes.

The electorate is ten times that size. You've got a far different audience, far less receptive to the message he had about immigration, about trade, about NATO, about isolationism.

This is a very different universe he's operating in. Given that, he may not have the success he did before. I'm not saying this is his demise. He's come back too many times. But I think everybody would agree the odds of his winning are a lot smaller now than they were two weeks ago.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Being a candidate is a lot different than actually governing.

How do you rate or how do you assess or -- Secretary Hillary Clinton as a candidate? How is her race?

KRAUTHAMMER: I've been saying this for two years. She is one of the weakest candidates I have ever seen. She is probably the weakest Democratic candidate at least since 1988. Probably longer.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why? I mean, for what reason?

KRAUTHAMMER: She is not a good politician. I mean, her husband is a great politician. And he could lie extremely well. Look at her performance now trying to explain away the e-mails.

She started with a lie when it first happened. A major lie. Several layers of lies about why she did it? How she did it? Whether anything was classified. She can't escape it.

Her husband was often caught in those situations. He found his way out.

So number one, she's just is not -- look, the fact, it was Obama himself who in 2008 was asking in the debate whether she was likable or not.

VAN SUSTEREN: "Likeable enough," he said.

KRAUTHAMMER: Likeable enough. And, unfortunately, he was right. Unfortunately, from her point of view.

Look, she starts her campaign. Remember, the first -- when she was launching her book, that was essentially the launching of her campaign. She talks to Diane Sawyer and she says my husband and I, when we left the White House, we were broke. We had trouble paying the mortgages on our houses.

Well, politics 101. When you're pleading poverty, you don't refer to your domiciles in the plural. I mean, she doesn't get elementary politics. And her style is not attractive.

She's a solid -- I mean, could she govern? I think she probably could. But as a candidate, she's extremely weak. And she is lucky to have drawn the weakest candidate on the Republican side.

VAN SUSTEREN: Charles, thank you.

KRAUTHAMMER: My pleasure.