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Donald Trump: I will know the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah 'when it's appropriate'

Donald Trump: I will know the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah 'when it's appropriate'.








US presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks in New York on 3 September.
Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Republican presidential candidate Donald
Trump did not take kindly in a radio interview on Thursday to being asked to
identify the affiliations of various militant leaders in the Middle East, saying
the host was asking “a gotcha question”.


Discussing Islamist extremism, conservative
talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt told Trump he was looking for the next president
to identify the leaders of major militant groups, naming the heads of Islamic
State, Hezbollah, al-Qaida and its Nusra Front wing in
Syria.


“Do you know the players without a scorecard yet, Donald Trump?” asked
Hewitt, who will co-moderate the next official Republican presidential debate on
16 September in California.


Related: Donald Trump signs
pledge not to run as independent


“No, you know, I’ll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office,
they’ll all be changed. They’ll be all gone,” Trump replied.


“The names you just mentioned, they probably won’t even be there in six
months or a year,” he added.


Hassan Nasrallah has headed Hezbollah since 1992.


Hewitt pushed Trump on the question, asking him: “So the difference between
Hezbollah and Hamas does not matter to you yet, but it will?”


Trump replied: “It will when it’s appropriate. I will know more about it than
you know, and believe me, it won’t take me long.”


The billionaire real estate mogul has risen to the top of
the polls in a crowded Republican field more than a year before the
November 2016 election.


When Hewitt said these were not meant as “gotcha” questions, Trump responded:
“Well, it sounded like gotcha. You’re asking me names that, I think it’s
somewhat ridiculous, but that’s OK. Go ahead, let’s go.”


Trump added that when it came to individuals: “Of course I don’t know them.
I’ve never met them. I haven’t been, you know, in a position to meet them. If,
if they’re still there, which is unlikely in many cases, but if they’re still
there, I will know them better than I know you.”


Earlier in the interview, Trump brought up the Kurds after being asked about
the leader of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard’s Quds forces, before adding: “Oh, I thought you said
Kurds, Kurds.”


He also confirmed that he owned a gun and a licence to carry a concealed
weapon: “All I can tell you is that I am totally a second amendment person, and
totally in favour of not doing anything.”


Trump was not the only would-be Republican candidate to slip up on Thursday.
Former Texas governor Rick Perry – languishing close to the bottom of the polls
– was mocked after he responded to a claim by Trump that he was about to
withdraw from the race by saying: “A broken clock is right once a day.”


Trump on the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah

Hugh Hewitt: So the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas does not matter to
you yet, but it will?


Donald Trump: It will when it’s appropriate. I will know more about it than
you know, and believe me, it won’t take me long.


HH: All right, that, I believe.


DT: But right now, right now, I think it’s just something that, and you know
what, if you ask these candidates, nobody’s going to be able to give you an
answer. I mean, there may be one that studied it because they’re expecting a
fresh question from you. But believe me, it won’t matter. I will know far more
than you know within 24 hours after I get the job.


Trump on the difference between Quds and Kurds

HH: Are you familiar with General
Soleimani?


DT: Yes, but go ahead, give me a little, go ahead, tell me.


HH: He runs the Quds Forces.


DT: Yes, OK, right.


HH: Do you expect his behaviour …


DT: The Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by …


HH: No, not the Kurds, the Quds Forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds
Forces.


DT: Yes, yes.


HH: … is the bad guys.


DT: Right.


HH: Do you expect his behaviour to change as a result …


DT: Oh, I thought you said Kurds, Kurds.


HH: No, Quds.


Trump on extremist leaders

HH: But on the front of Islamist terrorism, I’m looking for the next
commander-in-chief to know who Hassan Nasrallah is, and [Al-Qaida leader Ayman
al-] Zawahiri, and
[Nusra Front leader Abu Mohammad] al-Julani, and [Islamic State leader Abu Bakr]
al-Baghdadi. Do
you know the players without a scorecard, yet, Donald Trump?


DT: No, you know, I’ll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to
office, they’ll all be changed. They’ll be all gone. I knew you were going to
ask me things like this, and there’s no reason, because number one, I’ll find, I
will hopefully find General Douglas
MacArthur in the pack. I will find whoever it is that I’ll find, and we’ll,
but they’re all changing, Hugh.


Related: Donald Trump loves
Kanye, hates Jeb, but most of all adores being Trump


You know, those are like history questions. Do you know this one, do you know
that one … But as far as the individual players, of course I don’t know them.
I’ve never met them. I haven’t been, you know, in a position to meet them. If,
if they’re still there, which is unlikely in many cases, but if they’re still
there, I will know them better than I know you.


Trump on his military strategy

HH: OK, looking to Asia, if China were to either accidentally or
intentionally sink a Filipino or Japanese ship, what would commander-in-chief
Donald Trump do in response?


DT: I wouldn’t want to tell you, because frankly, they have to, you know,
somebody wrote a very good story about me recently, and they said there’s a
certain unpredictable, and it was actually another businessman, said there’s a
certain unpredictability about Trump that’s great, and it’s what made him a lot
of money and a lot of success. You don’t want to put, and you don’t want to let
people know what you’re going to do with respect to certain things that happen.
You don’t want the other side to know.


I don’t want to give you an answer to that. If I win, and I’m leading in
every single poll, if I win, I don’t want people to know exactly what I’m going
to be doing. 
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