The NY Times scores a telephone interview with Donald Trump and delivers a second paragraph that is utterly cryptic but has some real newsiness to it. Here we go fro the top:
Donald J. Trump unleashed a slashing new attack on Hillary Clinton over Bill Clinton’s sexual indiscretions on Friday as he sought to put the Clintons’ relationship at the center of his political argument against her before their next debate.
Mr. Trump, aiming to unnerve Mrs. Clinton, even indicated that he was rethinking his statement at their last debate that he would “absolutely” support her if she won in November, saying: “We’re going to have to see. We’re going to see what happens. We’re going to have to see.”
So what does it mean that he was "rethinking his statement at their last debate that he would “absolutely” support her if she won in November"? Let's start by going back to the debate transcript, where the question was about supporting the outcome of the electoral process, not the other candidate:
HOLT: One of you will not win this election. So my final question to you tonight, are you willing to accept the outcome as the will of the voters? Secretary Clinton?
CLINTON: Well, I support our democracy. And sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But I certainly will support the outcome of this election.
And I know Donald’s trying very hard to plant doubts about it, but I hope the people out there understand: This election’s really up to you. It’s not about us so much as it is about you and your families and the kind of country and future you want. So I sure hope you will get out and vote as though your future depended on it, because I think it does.
HOLT: Mr. Trump, very quickly, same question. Will you accept the outcome as the will of the voters?
TRUMP: I want to make America great again. We are a nation that is seriously troubled. We’re losing our jobs. People are pouring into our country.
The other day, we were deporting 800 people. And perhaps they passed the wrong button, they pressed the wrong button, or perhaps worse than that, it was corruption, but these people that we were going to deport for good reason ended up becoming citizens. Ended up becoming citizens. And it was 800. And now it turns out it might be 1,800, and they don’t even know.
HOLT: Will you accept the outcome of the election?
TRUMP: Look, here’s the story. I want to make America great again. I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Hillary will. The answer is, if she wins, I will absolutely support her.
Obviously, Trump gave a bit of a bum answer. Although we retain the concept of a Loyal Opposition, no one expects Hillary to support the policies and legislative proposals of President Trump, nor did she promise to do so - she appropriately indicated, talk being cheap, that she would accept the outcome of the election with grace.
Trump obviously should have stuck with something similar. His phrasing, "if she wins, I will absolutely support her", is ludicrous on the face of it. We certainly hope he will support the outcome of the process but we also hope and expect him to fight Hillary's likely policies and judicial nominees with at least the vim and vigor she and other Democrats would oppose him.
So now he is re-thinking a poorly phrased response. Meaning what? Lacking an interview transcript I have no idea whether he hinted that he is planning to fight an election result he already thinks is rigged, or simply made the obvious point that he will applaud politely during her inauguration but almost surely oppose most of her policies, although he is "going to have to see".
The Times seemed pretty excited in the second paragraph but not excited enough to come back to this. That makes me guess they want their readership to guess the worst but don't have the scary quotes to back that up.
Whatever - there is no chance of honest reporting from the Times over the next seven weeks.