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Donald Trump didn’t really show up for Megyn Kelly’s interview

For weeks, we’ve been waiting with bated breath for Megyn Kelly’s interview with Donald Trump. The way he treated her following the August debate (when he implied that she was menstruating because she asked him a tough question about how he talks about women) was disgraceful and childish, and to Kelly’s credit, she responded in the best way possible: by not responding.

But still, there was a part of all of us that wanted to see her take him on and thump him. So when she announced her one-on-one interview with him, there were high hopes. Then she said this about her meeting with Trump to arrange the interview: “The meeting was at my request, and Donald Trump was gracious enough to agree to it.”

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It appears that our slug fest has become a pillow fight.

The actual interview turned out to be a mix of both — a pillow fight with a couple of good punches thrown in. She asked some of the questions you have to ask in order to keep Trump in the room, like “When did you realize that you could actually be president of the United States?” And, in a series of rapid-fire questions at the end, “What’s your favorite movie?” (He said Citizen Kane, but I think we all know that’s bullshit. Trump’s favorite movie is either Mannequin or Howard the Duck. Period.)

For most of the interview, however, Kelly asked excellent questions that many of us wanted to know the answers to, and Trump answered them more or less exactly the way we knew he would. For example, when she asked if he thought that his retweet that compared Heidi Cruz’s looks to one of his wife’s modeling photos was a mistake, he said that he never said it was a mistake, but that, “I could have done without it.” To Trump, it wasn’t a mistake to share that horrible tweet; it just didn’t do him any good. Got it. He also said that he felt Heidi Cruz was “fair game,” which is delicious coming from a man who went after the reporter who wrote a piece about Melania Trump that he didn’t like. As usual, the rules apply to everyone else but Trump.

Trump also refused to say that he had any regrets about some of the things he has said during the campaign. As he put it, “If I were soft and presidential, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am.” That sentence alone is an example of some of Trump’s biggest faults: that he views being kind and mature as “soft,” that he believes the end justifies the means and that he is an enormous asshole.

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As a parent, I appreciated it when Kelly pointed out the confusion that comes when parents try to teach their kids not to bully or name call, and yet the frontrunner for the Republican nomination does it. Again, his response was to say that he only “counterpunches.” The “I didn’t start it, he started it” argument is something you’re supposed to learn is meaningless and beside the point by the time you’re about 6 years old. Apparently, this never made it over the learning curve.

“No, Donny. It doesn’t matter if Teddy called you a name first. You need to be the bigger person and walk away. Now go wash your face. You’ve got a meeting with Putin in an hour.”

Kelly also tried to get Trump to talk about the power that he has over his followers. She pointed out that when he targets someone, those followers fall in line and try to destroy that person, as they did Kelly in the fall. Trump acknowledged that his fans really, really love him and said that he takes his role as “a messenger” (because messiah complex) very seriously. Again, not exactly the point, but congratulations on all that and such.

The best line of the evening was when Kelly questioned him about retweeting a tweet that called her a bimbo. Trump’s response? “Come on, you’ve been called a lot worse.” Ha! What a perfectly tone-deaf response from a misogynistic egoist. Jesus, Donald. I’d ask you to throw us a bone, but I’m pretty sure you would take that inappropriately.

All in all, we didn’t learn anything new tonight from Donald Trump. We saw, yet again, that he is exactly who we think he is. What we should remember, however, is that the Trump we saw tonight is the Trump before he potentially becomes the most powerful man in the free world. If he does get elected, he would be even more satisfied with himself, which might not be possible either emotionally or physically. How do you turn the amp up to 11? How do you puff your chest out that far without falling over backward? And how will America ever show its face in public again?

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Megyn Kelly’s interview with Donald Trump reminds us that even a quiet Trump with an audience of one is still Trump, just with less yelling and eye rolling. And the answer to the question, “Is there a likable side to Donald Trump?” is “Only if you already love him.”

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