Two weeks ago, nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt was urging Republicans to replace Donald Trump as their presidential nominee at next month's national convention.
Thursday, he seemed to change course, saying that while it's been an "unusual relationship this campaign season," he said it has been "good" overall. Hewitt then offered the GOP nominee-in-waiting 10 suggestions he felt would help Trump win the general election in November.
First, because he said he felt the election is going to be about terrorism, "I think you ought to name either Tom Cotton or Chris Christie as your vice president." Cotton, he said, is a former Army Ranger who "sought out and killed terrorists," while Christie "prosecuted them" as a former U.S. Attorney.
Trump didn't exactly bite, saying he didn't want to give away his choice of running mate yet, but did say he had "tremendous respect" for both men. He also said he had a great deal of respect for others.
Hewitt, then suggested Trump unveil his Cabinet before Election Day.
"Name a lot of your cabinet," he said. "For example, former Senator Jon Kyl at Defense, or former Ambassador Bolton at State, or former Senator Lieberman to run the CIA. Will you name members of your cabinet early so that the whole conservative movement and the middle of the country see a serious team that Donald Trump has put together to fight these so many serious battles in front of us?"
Trump said that's something he is likely to do between now and the Nov. 8 election, but was reluctant to discuss anything like that until the convention next month. Hewitt said he thought that would "really rally a lot of people" to Trump's cause.
Next, Hewitt recommended Trump start practicing now for his three upcoming debates with Democratic nominee-in-waiting Hillary Clinton. Trump said he had a differing view, saying he felt 2012 nominee Mitt Romney hurt himself by going into sequester to practice for his debates with President Obama.
"I've seen that, and you know, to a certain extent, you have to be yourself," Trump said. "I actually know the issues, I think, much better than people understand that I know the issues. But I want to, obviously, I will be practicing, but I don't want to put so much practice in that all of a sudden, you're not who you are."
Hewitt offered to be Trump's Clinton surrogate for those practices, saying he would "throw the roundhouses" to help him prepare. He then offered where he thought the former secretary of state would attempt to hit Trump in the debates.
"She's going to hit you on [nuclear] triad, she's going to hit you on Hamas versus Hezbollah, the number of carriers, and I know the knockout punch," he said. "I think she's going to ask you about the chain of command and whether you have the chain of command mastered."
Saying he knows the chain of command, Trump mentioned his criticisms of NATO and how the media attacked him for his views, but after a couple weeks, many began to admit that he was right. And just this month, NATO announced it was creating a counter-terrorism division.
"Now I got no credit for that," he said. "Everybody knew, they mentioned, they did mention my name, but if it weren't, if I didn't say that, it would have never happened. And people are now giving me credit, but it's begrudging credit.
"So you know, I understand the system, frankly, and sometimes, I understand the system better than the people that do it. They couldn't see the forest for the trees. They were good people, but they were working at NATO for years. And one of the people who scoffed at me three or four days later said you know, Trump is right. So you know, I get it."
Hewitt then pressed Trump about Clinton's email scandal, asking if he planned to "prosecute the damage she did to national security." Trump said he will be, saying he thinks it's "unfair" she is able to run for office, given all that has happened so far.
"It's shocking to people. It's shocking to legal people," he said. "To your legal eagles, they are, they cannot believe that this continues to go on, because what she did is so much worse than what Petraeus did and what others did ... these are criminal acts at the highest level."
At that point, the segment almost turned into a sort of pep rally for Trump, with Hewitt encouraging Trump to "hit her with it"—meaning the email scandal—"every day of the campaign." Trump said he would, and suggested he may do another speech similar to the one he gave Wednesday, which would be focused entirely on the national security implications of her use of a private email server.
Hewitt then suggested Trump needed to have a "Sister Souljah moment" in which he strongly rebuked those who say they support him, but in reality are only advancing racist an anti-Semitic agendas that ultimately are harmful for the country. Trump said he has previously, and will continue to do so "sharply," throughout the remainder of the campaign.
It was then suggested Trump end his ban on the Washington Post's inclusion in the press pool covering his campaign. That one was a tough sell, but Hewitt asked him to "mull on it" and then jumped on to his next recommendation.
"Number eight, President Obama's legacy is in six words—leading from behind, red line, and jayvees," he said. "I hope you'll repeat those six words every time you speak about President Obama. Those are his six word legacy—leading from behind, red line and jayvees."
Trump said that was a good one, and said he was writing it down.
Hewitt's remaining two were to have his son Eric and daughter Ivanka at every campaign event because they are his "best calling card to this country," and to come back on his show twice a week until the election. The second one while somewhat serious did elicit a humorous response from Trump.
"Well, I wouldn't mind doing it. I mean, you know, it is a little bit of a question of time. And I know you do well when we do the show, and I'm happy for you," Trump said. "And you sometimes treat me very well, and sometimes you don't."
To conclude the segment, Trump told Hewitt he was "having fun" on the campaign trail, even though it was "grueling," and that he believes he's going to fare much better than the polls are currently predicting. He also said he's fundraising much better than the media is reporting, and that he thinks he can help down-ballot Republicans in November.
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