Last night, while Trump was dinging Ted Cruz for only tepidly supporting waterboarding—which is not really true—a woman in the audience shouted, “He’s a pussy!” Trump was clearly delighted, but danced around the word for a few seconds, scolding the woman for saying a “terrible thing,” before repeating the “terrible thing” to the audience. The crowd went wild.
Trump, habitual line-stepper that he is, was asked to explain himself this morning on Morning Joe.
It may just be that I’m watching (and loving) The People vs. O.J. Simpson right now, but this defense needs a name, so I’ll christen it the “RT defense.” After Trump retweeted a neo-Nazi account and a preposterous stat sheet that claimed that blacks killed 81 percent of white homicide victims, he defended himself by arguing that tweeting is different than retweeting. When recently criticized for retweeting a sexist take on Megyn Kelly, Trump said, “That’s a retweet. That’s different.” The distinction being that amplifying a horrible claim is far less important than being the one who initially said it.
That’s exactly how he’s defending his actions last night. He didn’t say that Ted Cruz was a pussy, he just repeated somebody else saying it.
Update: He’s literally using the defense now.