There’s persistent … and then there’s Jake Tapper.
The CNN anchor posed the following question to Donald Trump on Friday:
“Let me ask you about comments you made about the judge in the Trump University case. You said that you thought it was a conflict of interest that he was the judge because he is of Mexican heritage, even though he is from Indiana. Hillary Clinton said that that is a racist attack on a federal judge.”
Actually, Tapper didn’t quite get to form a question. Trump interjected to talk about Clinton’s emails. So Tapper tried to steer the conversation back to whether Trump’s complaint about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel was racist. Trump deflected again. Tapper tried again. And again.
In all, Tapper made an astounding 23 follow-up attempts.
Tapper’s relentlessness ultimately paid off. He finally got a straight answer out of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Tapper: “If you are saying he cannot do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?”
Trump: “No, I don’t think so at all.”
Tapper presumably had other subjects he would have liked to get to. Trump likely figured as much and assumed he could stall long enough for his interviewer to move on. That’s usually how it goes.
But Tapper refused to drop the subject until Trump offered a yes-or-no answer. It was clearly an exhausting effort. But it showed that even Donald J. Trump can be worn down by a journalist who never gives up.