Donald Trump the full blown Republican Candidate for President of the United States has been quite elusive on providing details on how he would handle specific political issues throughout the world.  We will lay out the direct questions and answers posed to Trump.

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trump answering real questionsI personally believe that it dumbs down the American public when we take our news in by headline or soundbite.  We have become accustomed to choosing our leaders based off of very limited information.  Understanding that most Americans will not take the time to read full interviews, and the mainstream news sources generally only report via headlines, we will provide the legwork so you can get to the meat of the topics.

This is the first, in a string of articles, were we will find hard questions posed directly to the Republican Candidate, with his direct responses.  All of the questions and answers will be direct quotes from interviews and nothing will be added or redacted from the question or the response.

In an interview with Donald Trump, David E. Sanger and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times ask very direct questions — here are the responses.

When Donald Trump Was Asked About Details of NAFTA:

HABERMAN: What kind of change could you make in terms of Nafta without fully withdrawing from it? How could you?

TRUMP: You’ve got to be fair to the country. Everyone is leaving. Carrier just announced they’re leaving. Ford is building a massive plant. So I have a friend who builds plants and then I have to go. I have a friend who builds plants, that’s what he does, he’s the biggest in the world, he builds plants like automobile plants, computer plants, that’s all he does. He doesn’t build apartments, he doesn’t build office space, he builds plants. I said to him the other day, “How are you doing?” He goes, “Unbelievable.” Oh, great, that’s good, thinking about the United States, right, because he’s based in the United States. So I said, “Good, so the country is doing well.” He said, “No, no, not our country, you’ve got to see what I’m doing in Mexico.” He said: “The business there is unbelievable, the new plants we are building. People moving from the United States.” That’s what he does. One-story plants. You understand?

Here is a short, but poignant response on if Trump would use cyberweapons as an alternative to traditional weapons of war:

SANGER: Would you support the United States’ not only developing as we are but fielding cyberweapons as an alternative?

TRUMP: Yes. I am a fan of the future, and cyber is the future.

Here is the response of Trump when being asked if we should support Assad in his battle against ISIS:

SANGER: You would keep Assad there if he’s also fighting ISIS?

TRUMP: I don’t want to say that, I have a very specific view on Assad, but I think we have to get rid of ISIS before we get rid of Assad.

SANGER: So you agree with President Obama in that regard?

TRUMP: Look, Assad hates ISIS; ISIS hates Assad. They are fighting each other. We are supposed to go and fight them both? How do you fight them both when they are fighting each other? And I think that ISIS is a threat that’s much more important for us right now than Assad. You understand what I’m saying?

SANGER: Mmm.

TRUMP: Because Assad and ISIS are fighting. Now we are going to go in and fight them both, because we have people that don’t know what they are doing. We have people that don’t know what they are doing. So I would get rid of ISIS, but I don’t want to fight at the same time. The other thing you have is, is Assad is backed by a country that we made a power, O.K.? Iran. And Russia, O.K.? So why didn’t we do something about that before we made Iran rich, and before we gave them this tremendous power that they now have, that they didn’t have and shouldn’t have had?

This is Donald Trump’s response to how well he personally believes the Republican National Convention went:

HABERMAN: What do you think people will take away from this convention? What are you hoping?

TRUMP: From the convention? The fact that I’m very well liked. Look, I got more votes than anybody in the history of the Republican Party. Almost 14 million votes. I got 37 states. Kasich has one. As an example, Ted had, you know, not many. Thirty-seven states. Now, with the roll call, I had 44 states. It was 44 to seven and the seven was everybody else: 44 to seven. It was 44 to six because we are including the different islands. And when you are in that hall and you see those people, like yesterday, my daughter called up, she said, “Dad, I’ve never seen it — it’s total love.”

Trump made headlines when he said he would back out of NATO and possibly not support a NATO Nation if they couldn’t pay for it.

Here is the full quote when Trump was asked about possibly not following the NATO rules by supporting a fellow NATO country:

SANGER: But I guess the question is, If we can’t, do you think that your presidency, let’s assume for a moment that they contribute what they are contributing today, or what they have contributed historically, your presidency would be one of pulling back and saying, “You know, we’re not going to invest in these alliances with NATO, we are not going to invest as much as we have in Asia since the end of the Korean War because we can’t afford it and it’s really not in our interest to do so.”

TRUMP: If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries, and in many cases the countries I’m talking about are extremely rich. Then if we cannot make a deal, which I believe we will be able to, and which I would prefer being able to, but if we cannot make a deal, I would like you to say, I would prefer being able to, some people, the one thing they took out of your last story, you know, some people, the fools and the haters, they said, “Oh, Trump doesn’t want to protect you.” I would prefer that we be able to continue, but if we are not going to be reasonably reimbursed for the tremendous cost of protecting these massive nations with tremendous wealth — you have the tape going on?

SANGER: We were talking about alliances, and the fundamental problem that you hear many Republicans, traditional Republicans, have with the statement that you’ve made is that it would seem to them that you would believe that the interests of the United States being out with both our troops and our diplomacy abroad is less than our economic interests in having somebody else support that. In other words, even if they didn’t pay a cent toward it, many have believed that the way we’ve kept our postwar leadership since World War II has been our ability to project power around the world. That’s why we got this many diplomats ——

TRUMP: How is it helping us? How has it helped us? We have massive trade deficits. I could see that, if instead of having a trade deficit worldwide of $800 billion, we had a trade positive of $100 billion, $200 billion, $800 billion. So how has it helped us?

SANGER: Well, keeping the peace. We didn’t have a presence in places like Korea in 1950, or not as great a presence, and you saw what happened.

TRUMP: There’s no guarantee that we’ll have peace in Korea.

SANGER: Even with our troops, no, there’s no guarantee.

TRUMP: No, there’s no guarantee. We have 28,000 soldiers on the line.

SANGER: But we’ve had them there since 1953 and ——

TRUMP: Sure, but that doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be something going on right now. Maybe you would have had a unified Korea. Who knows what would have happened? In the meantime, what have we done? So we’ve kept peace, but in the meantime we’ve let North Korea get stronger and stronger and more nuclear and more nuclear, and you are really saying, “Well, how is that a good thing?” You understand? North Korea now is almost like a boiler. You say we’ve had peace, but that part of Korea, North Korea, is getting more and more crazy. And more and more nuclear. And they are testing missiles all the time.

SANGER: They are.

TRUMP: And we’ve got our soldiers sitting there watching missiles go up. And you say to yourself, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Now we’re protecting Japan because Japan is a natural location for North Korea. So we are protecting them, and you say to yourself, “Well, what are we getting out of this?”

SANGER: Well, we keep our missile defenses out there. And those missile defenses help prevent the day when North Korea can reach the United States with one of its missiles. It’s a lot easier to shoot down from there ——

Below, here is the response when Trump was asked about how the Turkish Government handled the failed coup:

SANGER: Erdogan put nearly 50,000 people in jail or suspend them, suspended thousands of teachers, he imprisoned many in the military and the police, he dismissed a lot of the judiciary. Does this worry you? And would you rather deal with a strongman who’s also been a strong ally, or with somebody that’s got a greater appreciation of civil liberties than Mr. Erdogan has? Would you press him to make sure the rule of law applies?

TRUMP: I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country. We have tremendous problems when you have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore. When you have all of the things that are happening in this country — we have other problems, and I think we have to focus on those problems. When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.

Lastly, when Donald Trump was asked about the complex relationship between Turkey, the Kurdish Army and ISIS:

SANGER: You said that they could be much more helpful with ISIS. I’m sure perhaps they can. The big difference they’ve had is that we’ve been supporting Kurdish forces that have been very effective ——

TRUMP: I’m a fan of the Kurds, you understand.

SANGER: But Erdogan is not. Tell us how you would deal with that?

TRUMP: Well, it would be ideal if we could get them all together. And that would be a possibility. But I’m a big fan of the Kurdish forces. At the same time, I think we have a potentially — we could have a potentially very successful relationship with Turkey. And it would be really wonderful if we could put them somehow both together.