Donald Trump went on "Meet the Press" Sunday. "MTP" host Chuck Todd asked Trump about the apparent contradiction between his insistence throughout the campaign that he had spoken out in opposition to the war in Iraq from the start and a 2002 quote in which Trump suggests he is in favor of the invasion. What happened next is amazing.
"I really don't even know what I mean, because that was a long time ago, and who knows what was in my head," Trump said.
Okay. Let's take a step back here. Trump is the clear favorite for the Republican presidential nomination. He has insisted that his lack of experience in elected office is a non-issue because he has demonstrated the good judgment that many of his politician rivals have not. Point number one of that argument has always been that he was the only Republican candidate running for president who opposed the Iraq war from the start.
Except that he didn't. And, his explanation for that fact? 1. It was a long time ago. 2. And I quote: "Who knows what was in my head."
Now, imagine any other candidate for president in either party offering up that response to any question -- much less one about the central foreign policy decision of the past two decades. That candidate would be filleted, roasted for his lack of knowledge. Doubts would be raised among his supporters about whether he was ready for the job he was seeking. The candidate would be compelled by his advisers to give a high-profile speech explaining the contradiction in positions and the remarkably flip initial answer he offered to explain away that contradiction.
For Trump, it's just another Sunday. There will be no big speech to explain anything. There won't even be a statement trying to clarify. The man most likely to be the Republican nominee for president this fall -- and, therefore, to have a real chance at being the next president -- will simply stand on his it-was-a-long-time-ago-and-anyway-I-just-say-stuff explanation for taking two absolutely contradictory positions.
That reality tells you everything you need to know about Trump and his position in this race. Normal rules of politics don't apply to him. Rules of any sort don't seem to apply to him. His supporters seem uninterested or unbothered -- or both -- by the fact that something that Trump used as a proof point for his judgment has been proven wrong.
Any suggestion that Trump's acknowledgement that he just doesn't really remember what he said or meant about Iraq will slow his momentum in the Republican race is based on having spent the last eight months on another planet. It will not slow him. It will not stop him. It may, in fact, further convince those who are for him of his anti-political chops: What politician would ever admit they have no idea why they said what they said, after all?
Donald Trump has created a bizarro world of politics. What looks like up is down. What looks bad is good. The rest of the field -- and the media horde covering them -- need to adjust to the fact that this is the new normal.
• 02/22/16:Jeb Bush never really had a chance in the 2016 presidential race
• 02/18/16: Senate Republicans will never hold a Supreme Court vote this year. This poll shows why
• 02/17/16: South Carolina isn't Bush Country anymore
• 02/12/16: Winners and losers from the 6th Dem debate
• 02/10/16: Winners and losers from the New Hampshire primary
• 02/06/16: Winners and losers from the fifth Democratic presidential debate
• 01/29/16: Winners and losers from the 7th Republican presidential debate
• 01/27/16: Ranking the Republican 2016 field
• 01/25/16: Trump is the favorite to be the Republican nominee. Period
• 01/22/16: Who had the worst week in Washington? Hillary Clinton
• 01/18/16: Feeling bad for Jeb Bush
• 01/15/16: Winners and losers from the sixth Republican presidential debate
• 01/12/16: Here's exactly how Bernie Sanders can beat Hillary Clinton
• 01/11/16:The fantasy scenario that could become reality for Hillary
• 12/30/15: The five big lessons from a weirdly watchable year of politics
• 12/21/15: Winners and losers in the third Democratic presidential debate
• 12/16/15: Winners and losers from the 5th Republican presidential debate
• 12/16/15: Cruz, not Trump, looking like GOP favorite for 2016
• 12/04/15: Ted Cruz is the sleeping giant in the Republican race
• 11/24/15:Trump is leading an increasingly fact-free 2016 campaign
• 11/23/15: A ranking of GOP presidential candidates who can still make a case --- and the nominee
• 11/16/15: The remarkably unappealing anger of Donald Trump
• 11/11/15: Winners and losers from the fourth Republican debate
• 11/02/15: Jeb Bush says he still doesn't get why his terrible debate performance matters so much
• 10/29/15: Winners and losers from the third Republican presidential debate
• 10/22/15: Paul Ryan might be saving his party. But at what cost?
• 10/20/15: Six things we know Joe Biden is thinking
• 10/19/15: Who had the worst week in Washington? Lincoln Chafee
• 10/14/15: Winners and losers from the first Dem presidential debate