Trump knows foreign policy because he ran a Miss Universe pageant and maybe had a secret meeting with Putin

Writing about Donald Trump isn’t difficult because he doesn’t give you material to work with. Writing about Donald Trump is difficult because he gives you too much material to work with. In any given day, Il Douche can rattle off three or four things that, in isolation, would warrant their own media frenzy. But he moves from one cringeworthy moment to the next, none of them seem to stick.

For instance, yesterday Trump celebrated Cinco de Mayo by tweeting a photo of him leaning over a taco bowl — excuse me, a taco fiesta! — while giving a half-hearted thumbs up and insisting that “I love Hispanics!” He also went to West Virginia, donned a hard hat and complained that climate regulations have led to a serious decline in the quality of hairspray. In between, he gave an interview with Bret Baier in which he refused to comment (again) on whether he had ever met with Vladmir Putin, but claimed that he could help mend America’s relationship with Russia because he judged a Miss Universe pageant a few years ago.

Baier: About Russia, you were asked yesterday if you’ve ever spoken to Vladmir Putin, and you said, “I don’t want to say.”

Trump: Yeah, I have no comment on that. No comment.

Baier: But one of the things people like about you is that you answer any question.

Trump: Yeah but I don’t want to comment because — Let’s assume I did. Perhaps it was personal. You know, I don’t want to hurt his confidence. But I know Russia well. I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago — Miss Universe contest, which was a big, big, incredible event. An incredible success. I got to meet a lot of people, and you know what? They want to be friendly with the United States. Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got along with somebody?

The big takeaway from this exchange that made the rounds on Twitter was that Donald Trump had just made one of President Obama’s jokes from the White House Correspondents Dinner last Saturday come true:

As foreign policy qualifications go, being involved in the Miss Universe pageant is a notch below being able to see Russia from your house.

Donald Trump, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

However, lost amid the frenzy of mockery that came out of Trump’s claim was any sort of followup on the fact that he is being super sketchy about having possibly held a secret meeting with Vladmir Putin, who has become something of a super-villain in this presidential race. Especially on the Republican side. If a Democratic candidate had gone to Russia and refused to tell the media whether they had met with Putin — let alone what was discussed — Fox personalities such as Bret Baier, to say nothing of the entire Republican field, would have tagged them as a Manchurian candidate.

And they wouldn’t be wrong to be suspicious! Vladmir Putin has made it clear that he does not like the United States very much. He’s also a generally shady dude. The next president is going to spend quite a bit of time dealing with the man. It’s worth knowing if they’re already chummy. It’s really strange that Trump is being so cagey about this in particular, especially given how candid he is on most things.

Still, perhaps the most consequential of Trump’s statements yesterday went largely ignored because it was stuck in the middle of a full day of nonsense.

This is going to be a long six months.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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