“We love you, buddy, but what are you here for, if you can’t answer basic questions?”
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, was destroyed on Morning Joe Wednesday morning because he tried to tap-dance around the most basic questions about his candidate’s stands on issues.
Things started to go downhill about two and a half minutes into the interview when Willie Geist asked Mook if Clinton had regrets about the way Syria was handled. Completely ignoring the question, Mook’s response was that Hillary left the State Dept. with a 70% approval rating.
MOOK: Well, obviously, she’s been out of office for some time now.
GEIST: But she was there when it started.
MOOK: Well, right, but, but, uh, you know, she, I, I think she’s well regarded for her leadership as secretary of state. She came out of that office with a 70 percent approval rating. In contrast to Donald Trump, she has released a clear and decisive plan to defeat ISIS. Donald Trump has said that he thinks he knows more about it than the generals and refuses to tell us what his secret plan is.
GEIST: I understand, Robby. What about in Syria, though? She supported the drawing of the red line. Obviously, she was out of office when Assad used chemical weapons. Was it a mistake to draw the red line if the president was not willing to go — to do something about it when it was crossed?
MOOK: Well, as you pointed out, the decision regarding that was made after she was out of office, so I think you’d have to ask President Obama —
GEIST: Was she disappointed that the president didn’t act when the line was crossed?
MOOK: I think you’d have to ask her about that question, how she would characterize —
GEIST: Well, you’re here to speak for her, Robby, so you haven’t discussed that at all?
MOOK: She — look, what matters is what she’s going to do as president and, as I said, she has a clear plan to defeat ISIS. Donald Trump does not. It’s a secret; he won’t tell anybody what it is, and he says he knows more about it than the generals. I think the choice for voters is clear.
Geist’s question was pretty open ended, he didn’t have to answer by ripping Obama, could have said he regretted the Russian bombing. But he began to rile up the panel by avoiding the question.
Them it was Mike Barnicle’s turn, he asked a question that might very well come up during the Hofstra debate.
BARNICLE: So, Robby, we do realize you are not secretary of state, but in the debate next Monday evening, how would Secretary Clinton respond to somewhat of a version of the following question: We’ve had a relief convoy bombed — potentially a war crime — leading into Aleppo. What would you do, Secretary Clinton, about providing food, water and medicine to the citizens of Eastern Aleppo today, right now, differently than what the Obama administration is doing? What would she do differently?
MOOK: I, I, again, I think you’re going to have to ask her that question. That’s a matter of policy I’m going to leave it to her to determine that.
Now Mook had just finished blasting Trump for not having a plan, but he couldn’t recite a Clinton plan? Joe Scarborough chimed in and he was not happy. He compared Mook’s answer to Gary Johnson’s Aleppo gaffe
SCARBOROUGH: What are you here, what are you — we love you, buddy, but what are you here for, if you can’t answer basic questions? That, I mean, I don’t know if there’s — I mean, we may be tiptoeing into Gary Johnson territory here, if you don’t know the answer to that basic of a question — “What is the response to Aleppo?” — then why do we have you here?
MOOK: I think, I — look, you’re asking new policy questions. You would have to ask the secretary for that. My job is not to set policy.
SCARBOROUGH: No, Aleppo’s been around — Syria’s been around for some time. The red line being drawn’s been around for some time. I’m not being difficult here at all. These are basic questions.
Robby Mook’s final tap dance was the most incredible. Later on in the interview, Willie Geist gave him a soft ball. He asked about no-fly zones, an approach that has previously had Hillary Clinton support.
GEIST: One aspect of the Syria policy for Secretary Clinton we do know is she has supported no-fly zones in the country. Is that still her belief, that no-fly zones are a good idea?
MOOK: I’m gonna, I’m gonna let her statements speak for themselves.
GEIST: Robby, Robby, aren’t you here representing her point of view?
MOOK: I am indeed, and I’m going to let her language speak for itself.
GEIST: Well, you’ve been saying that Donald Trump won’t tell us what the policy is, but here you are not telling us what the policy is.
After the interview was over a stunned Joe Scarborough said:
“What’s going on? I mean, like, even — I don’t understand that. I am completely flummoxed by that interview. I mean, first of all, are they pleased with the openness with the press? I had heard after the pneumonia deal they all were chastened, and they were changing their relationship and trying to be more open with the press. Won’t even respond to Aleppo, won’t respond to the no-fly zone. What’s going on here? Better not to come on.”
Heck next time have me on, I will tell him what the answers should have been.
Watch the full nine-minute interview below.