What did Donald Trump really say during his Person-of-the-Year interview with Time magazine? We will never know, because Time has published only edited excerpts of that interview. At the end of the “transcript,” Time includes this disclaimer: “This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.”
I strongly suspect that the disclaimer is an understatement. If the verbatim transcript of Trump’s earlier interview with the New York Times is an indicator, Time’s editors must have done a lot of editing, condensing and clarifying. The New York Times transcript included many shocking passages that were rambling and incoherent. With that as a yardstick, it’s hard to imagine—as Time magazine’s edited transcript would have us believe—that Trump was as cogent and paragraph-based as he seems in the Time magazine interview.
I will acknowledge that Time’s edited excerpts still manage to reveal a wandering thought process, a tendency to brag, and Trump’s trademark narcissism. Here’s an example:
HOW TRUMP WILL MEASURE SUCCESS
I think we’re going to have a lot of jobs brought back. I think we’re going to have a lot fewer companies leaving our country. I believe we will be successful with defeating ISIS or bringing them down to a level where it’s almost the same thing. And I hope I’m judged from the time of the election, as opposed to from January 20th, because the stock market has had a tremendous bounce. And people are seeing very good things for business in this country. So I think we’re going to have a lot of victories.
HOW TRUMP CONNECTS WITH AMERICANS
I’m sitting in an apartment the likes of which nobody’s ever seen. And yet I represent the workers of the world. And they love me and I love them. But when I was in Brooklyn I worked for my father on construction sites where he built houses or what he built, a building in Brooklyn. And I got to understand the construction workers and the police. These are great people. These are the people that built the country.
Others try to hide their wealth. I mean I could tell you other candidates that have money, they’ll go around and they’ll get into a bad car just before they get to a rally. I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe in that. Because I think aspiration’s a very important word. I think people aspire to do things. And they aspire to watch people. I don’t think they want to see the president carrying his luggage out of Air Force One. And that’s pretty much the way it is.
Having read the word-for-word transcript of the New York Times interview, and comparing it to the more succinct portrayal we get here from Time Magazine, I don’t believe that Trump’s speaking style could have changed this much in the past two weeks. For example, I really doubt that Trump’s answer to a question about prescription drug prices was this brief:
I’m going to bring down drug prices. I don’t like what’s happened with drug prices.
So, I would very much like to see the un-condensed, unedited and unclear parts that Time’s editors left out. I know that it’s standard journalistic practice to use only the most quotable parts of interviews in the body of their reports. But a transcript should be a transcript–especially when it’s documenting a person known to be as temperamentally unfit and as unqualified for the job as is Donald Trump. As Trump assumes the most powerful office in the world, bringing with him a very vague and unfocused way of approaching issues, it seems important to avoid cleaning up his language and syntax—making him sound more reasoned than he is–and instead to pull back the curtain, so we can see what we really have.
Fair use prevents me from copying and pasting the entire, condensed transcript as published in Time. But you can read it here.