Donald Trump Fumbles on Difference Between Hamas, Hezbollah

The front-running Republican presidential candidate says he learn about major global players once it's appropriate.

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U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks in New York, September 3, 2015.
U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks in New York, September 3, 2015.Credit: Reuters

Front-running Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump seemed baffled by the names of major global players and unable to distinguish Hamas from Hezbollah in a radio interview on Thursday. 

Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, who will moderate the next Republican presidential debate on September 16, presented Trump with what he called "commander-in-chief questions," mentioning the names of Hezbollah, Al-Qaida, Nusra Front, Quds Force and Islamic State leaders, among others.  

"Do you know the players without a scorecard, yet, Donald Trump?" he asked.

"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, accusing Hewitt of quizzing him on history. 

"I mean, you know, when you’re asking me about who’s running this, this this, that’s not, that is not I will be so good at the military, your head will spin," Trump promised later in the interview. 

“So the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas does not matter to you yet, but it will?” Hewitt pressed.

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

Standing by Netanyahu

Asked whether he would unequivocally stand by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, Trump vowed that he would.

"In fact, he’s a friend of mine. I did commercials for his reelection," Trump said. "And according to what he said, I’m the only celebrity, he’s used the word celebrity, this was a while ago, that did commercials, that he asked to do commercials. But he’s a good man, and I would absolutely stand with him."

But he seemed less certain as to what he would do should Israel decide to attack Iran. 

"But you know, we have a problem, because according to the deal, and this is hard to believe, but we’re supposed to be protecting Iran against any invader. And if Israel invades, nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen I can guarantee you that clause, first of all, should have never been there, maybe they had it taken out, but we didn’t win anything. But do you know there’s a clause in there that in theory, we’re supposed to help them fight Israel?"

Trump on Thursday bowed to pressure from the Republican Party establishment and signed a pledge not to run as an independent candidate in the November 2016 election. 

His vow of loyalty was something of a victory for the Republican National Committee in its efforts to rein in the billionaire, who leads opinion polls while at the same time upsetting mainstream Republicans with his brash style. 

Rival Republican candidate Jeb Bush sharply criticized Trump for Thursday's interview.  

"He ought to know who the players are," said Bush.

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