In the oddity that is the 2016 presidential race, one story that was a little off from the time it was reported earlier this week and the Republican establishment candidates got hold of it and wouldn’t let go, was the whole recorded discussion Donald Trump had on immigration with the New York Times off the record. Some details trickled out, possibly out of context, and before we knew it, BOOM! Donald Trump MUST be a hypocrite on immigration.
Well…as it happens, the opinion page editor at the Times, Andrew Rosenthal, told the Washington Examiner that there is no there there.
“It’s not as if we are sitting on a news story here, or holding something back from publication,” Rosenthal said.
The whole story stemmed from a blog post describing a meeting Donald Trump had with the New York Times’ editorial board. Such meetings are not uncommon, and do include quite a bit of “off the record” discussion. Where the issue for the other candidates became a focused lightning rod was in the knowledge that the meeting had been recorded. One of the words Trump likes to use in all his comments is “negotiate.” The concept of his being willing to negotiate on his immigration stance and “building a wall” on the southern border was put forth and took hold as part of the narrative of the establishment’s efforts to unseat him. Trump himself had something to say on it all.
Appearing Monday on Fox News, Trump himself acknowledged that at least some parts of his meeting with the Times was off the record. “We had a board meeting, it was off the record, all of a sudden they leak it, it’s all over the place,” he said. He also said as president, he would be willing to negotiate on immigration policy, of which his trademark policy is to “build a wall” on the Southern border.
“Things are negotiable, I’ll be honest with you,” he said. “You know, I’ll make the wall two feet shorter or something. I mean, everything’s negotiate. Building it? Not negotiable.”
Now we are hearing that there is no story. The New York Times people claim that they are NOT, NOT sitting on any bombshell or information that would influence public opinion. They also say they are willing to release the tapes to the public if Trump agrees.