STEPHANOPOULOS: You know where I'm going to take this next. Americans could be assured on that if they saw your tax returns.
TRUMP: My tax returns are very simple. They're under a minor audit, a routine audit, as they have been for many years. Every year I get audited.
TRUMP: George, it is very simple. Yes, but they're all linked. It's called the link.
It's very simple, if my audit is finished, that's great.
Now, I have to tell you. I watched Mitt Romney four years ago. He waited until September to give them, just before the election. They made him look so bad, it was so unfair, I actually think he didn't lose because of the 47 percent, I think he lost because of a couple of really minor items in tax return where he did nothing wrong. So it is unfair.
It is ironic that Trump referred to the "47 percent" during Romney's campaign. When I first heard of the Stephanopolous interview and the fact that Trump had dismissed the significance of Mr. Kahn's remarks and appearance at the DNC, I mentioned to my better half that this could be Trump's equivalent of the "47 percent" remark.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mike Bloomberg very tough on you a the Democratic convention.
Called you a con man, reckless. Even seemed...
TRUMP: He doesn't know me well.
Michael Bloomberg couldn't get elected as a dogcatcher in New York.
This is another example of Trump's thin-skinned, bullying style: when criticized, his first (and practically only) reaction is to divert, go on the offensive, and avoid addressing the issue at hand. It is all directed to show how great he is compared with anyone else. It is a central theme of his temperament.
STEPHANOPOULOS: In the past you said he was a great mayor.
TRUMP: Sure, he was good. But his last term was terrible. He did a terrible thing his last term. And frankly a lot of people didn't like him. He spent a fortune to get elected. Shouldn't have gone to a third term. Michael Bloomberg had a big problem with Ferry Point in the Bronx. They called me. I made a deal. I took it over. I got it built. I got it open. It's open today. It's very successful.
And think, personally, I think he made a deal with Hillary where he gets a job, because he'd like to -- because Michael Bloomberg has wanted to run for president for probably as long as you have known him and guess what? He never had the guts to do it. And now I see this guy up on stage saying negative things. He knows nothing about me. He's never been to my office. I don't know him well.
Trump is making this up on the spur of the moment -- he has no obvious proof of any such deal, only the seed of a conspiracy movement.
STEPHANOPOULOS; You played golf together.
TRUMP: Maybe once. And I hit the ball a lot longer, and a lot better.
Of course Trump hit the ball better. How could he come in second to anyone or anything?
STEPHANOPOULOS: He hit you for hypocrisy in the speech. For selling products overseas, gaming the visa system to hire foreign works at low wages. And just this week BuzzFeed reported that Mar-a-Lago is putting out application for 78 more visas for foreign workers even though...
TRUMP: Should I tell you about it? Mara-a-Lago is a very successful club in Palm Beach, Florida, the Mar-a-Lago club, and during the season, it's very, very hard to get employees.
It's always someone else who is to blame for his downfalls.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're out there saying other American companies must come and create jobs here, but you're not willing to do it yourself.
TRUMP: This is nothing new what you're saying. I talk about this during my speech. When I do ties, I bid them out. And I go all over the place. You have companies over in different countries where they devalue their currency and they make it impossible for American companies to compete.
Wrong! They make it inconvenient for American companies to compete. True, the American company has a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders to give them a fair return on their investment -- or run the risk of losing those investors. It boils down to a question of profit vs. patriotism.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He [Khizr Khan] said you wouldn't have let his son in America.
TRUMP: He doesn't know -- he doesn't know that.
I saw him [Khizr Kahn]. He was, you know, very emotional. And probably looked like -- a nice guy to me. His wife, if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably -- maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me, but plenty of people have written that.
There is little doubt that Trump just doesn't "get it." We have here a real live case of a man who has no empathy for a family who has suffered an incredible loss, a surviving family and son who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the execution of his duties -- as an American serviceman. He gave his life protecting his men.
Trump is a man who has never worn the uniform, had never put himself in danger's way in wartime. His greatest dangers have related to the financial difficulties of facing creditors who eventually lost out through Trump's bankruptcy actions. Here is a man who, over the years, has demonstrated no tolerance of criticism, deflecting negative remarks by pure obfuscation, denial, counter-claims based upon fictitious numbers, and exaggeration of his own accomplishments .
He has built upon the fears of others, many of which were legitimate subliminal feelings that have now been exposed through group reactions and support. He has consistently played the know-it-all bully -- "believe me." He has identified grudges and insecurity and has built upon them in his rallies. He has built upon his Constitutionally-given right to free speech, but is less considerate of the free speech of protestors or the freedom of the press.
When speaking of the silence of Mrs. Khan, Trump asserted that "maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me, but plenty of people have written that."
"...plenty of people have written that." Really? This sounds like a typical statistics-on-the-fly off-the-cuff remark that Trump has employed through the entire campaign. I am only surprised that he didn't insert a "Believe me" or a "Right?" in that sentence. He uses such comments to excuse or ignore facts that are contrary to his preconceived notions, or to support a view that would strengthen the bond that he has with his followers.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What would you say to the father?
TRUMP: Well, I would say, we have had a lot of problems with radical Islamic terrorism, that's what I'd say. We have had a lot of problems where you look at San Bernardino, you look at Orlando, you look at the World Trade Center, you look at so many different things. You look at what happened to the priest over the weekend in Paris, where his throat was cut, 85-year-old, beloved Catholic priest. You look at what happened in Nice, France, a couple of weeks ago.
I would say, you gotta take a look that, because something is going on, and it's not good.
In what has become a trademark of Mr. Trump's responses to any question that he finds threatening, he diverts the conversation to a not-always-related issue that is a part of his basic litany. The situation with Captain Khan has absolutely nothing to do with the attacks that took places from San Bernadino to Nice.
"Something is going on...". He makes it sound so mysterious, as if there were some grand conspiracy that nobody knows about. But, as if he were endowed with special powers, "I alone can fix it." What a marvelous situation we will experience after he applies his magic elixir, changes clothes in a telephone booth (whoops! - those may be hard to find now), and initiates all of those cures "on day one."
STEPHANOPOULOS: He said you have sacrificed nothing and no one.
TRUMP: Well, that sounds -- who wrote that? Did Hillary's script writer write it? Because everybody that went out there -- we also had John Allen, who failed with ISIS. I mean, he was a general -- General Allen -- he went out, and he's ranting and raving. And then I read a report. He was in there for a number of months, and he failed with ISIS. And he's telling me, you know.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You saw Hillary say it last night, you don't know more than the generals.
TRUMP: Well, I tell you, the generals aren't doing so well right now.
Now, I have a feeling it may be Obama's fault. But if you look at ISIS, General MacArthur, and General Patton, they're spinning in their graves. The generals certainly aren't doing very well right now. And General Allen, after I saw he was on ranting and raving about me, who he never met, I checked up. Guess what? They were not so happy with him. He didn't beat ISIS. He didn't beat ISIS. He didn't do well with ISIS.
Of course Trump "[has] a feeling it may be Obama's fault", and to him, "feelings" have as much credence as "fact" - which he doesn't have.
Trump is very selective in his choice of references. If he were to pursue his own illegal tactics (waterboarding, carpet bombing, killing family members of ISIS, etc.), Generals Eisenhower, Marshall, Bradley, Schwartzkopf, Clark and countless others would be turning in their graves. Now in terms of the idle boast "knowing more than the generals", he has shown little evidence of knowing much about the complex interwoven roles of family, religion, tribe, tradition, the differing interpretations and teachings of the Quran, histories as imposed by outside countries, age-old grievances, and intra-national power plays among the established states.
Trump has a colossal lack of knowledge regarding Middle Eastern affairs; he builds his knowledge upon sound bites, unsubstantiated rumors, convenient "short-cuts" to an aura of authoritative insights, and - worse yet - he disguises his incapacity in order to rally and energize crowds composed of understandably frustrated people. I don't fault the audience: many of them have experienced unemployment, underemployment, anger with all recent Administrations, and a feeling that they hope for a spokesperson who can truly represent their wants and needs.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He [Mr. Kahn] said you have sacrificed nothing and no one... How would you answer that father? What sacrifice have you made for your country?
TRUMP: I think I have made a lot of sacrifices. I've work very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I've done -- I've had tremendous success.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Those are sacrifices?
TRUMP: Oh, sure. I think they're sacrifices.
It is apparent from these remarks that Mr. Trump has no sense of relevance, but a continuation of the technique of deflection and avoidance. He deftly avoids any reference to the fact that his primary objective, in all of these "huge" efforts have been making money, self-aggrandizement, and marketing a brand. His "sacrifices" are absolutely no different from any other person - except for the issue of scale. To equate these with the heroic sacrifice that Capt. Khan made, and the continual 12-year mourning experienced by the Kahn family, is the height of heartless, inconsiderate, and cruel insult. The lack of empathy is astounding, and is a repudiation of all that he should have learned from his family, from whatever he learned from the private schools, his church, his associates, and his life experiences - unless he has chosen to insulate himself from what the rest of us think of as "the real world".
The pain that he has brought to the Khan family, to all Gold Star families, and to the friends and neighbors and other relatives of those who have known such sacrifice is incalculable. It is a poor characterization of a man who aspires to be the leader of what is arguably the most generous, caring, and supportive country in the world.
What else would he do to sully the reputation of the US and the American people? The American people are generous and kind. They, and the government, come to the aid of people and communities - both foreign and domestic - in the wake of natural disasters, food emergencies, disease breakouts, man-made catastrophes, economic failures and all manner of problems that overwhelm and incapacitate the resources of their neighborhoods, cities and countries.
Americans of all backgrounds - native born or immigrant, diverse social strata, mixed religious beliefs and economic means - voluntarily team together to ameliorate suffering. Given Trump's reaction and statements relative to his own "sacrifices" as compared with that of others, one wonders just how supportive he would be of government-sponsored relief activities that were needed in countries that "haven't paid their dues."
I think that we all hope and pray that Trump and his family -- or any other family -- would ever have to experience the pain that has been suffered by the Khan family.
Michael Duga has served in political and strategic roles beginning in the Clinton Administration. This includes serving as Chief of Staff to Former Senator Max Cleland and as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Department of Defense. Mr. Duga is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Say No To Trump political action committee,www.SayNoToTrumpPAC.com.