Tightly moderated Q&A session provided little new information about the Republican but offered a glimpse into his fervent online fanbase
Hours after a chaotic morning press conference in which Donald Trump appeared to encourage the Russian government to hack his opponents emails, internet users on Wednesday got the chance to ask questions of the Republican presidential nominee. The venue was the only place where conversations spiral more quickly out of control than at a Trump press briefing: a Reddit AMA.
Answering 13 user-submitted questions on topics ranging from media bias to moon landings, Trumps halting Q&A session revealed little new information about the notoriously candid Republican candidate, but showcased many of the issues considered important by Trumps most fervent online fans.
This is going to be SO huge and Im looking forward to answering your questions, Trump said in his introduction to the post, humbly titled: Im Donald J. Trump and Im Your Next President of the United States.
Im doing this in flight to visit the great people of Toledo, OH, so Internet connection might be spotty, Trump continued. I promise you, Ill answer all the questions I can. I want to do BIG things for America and as your President, I WILL Make America Great Again!
The AMA or Ask Me Anything was announced on Monday as the latest installment in Reddits popular series in which politicians, celebrities or people with multiple penises answer questions submitted by the sites users. Trumps AMA was hosted on the thread r/The_Donald, home to more than 190,000 subscribers and which described itself days before Trumps event as the internets largest cuck-free media source (cuck is short for cuckservative, a combination of cuckold and conservative, the alt-rights insult of choice for Trumps detractors).
Moderated primarily by anonymous Trump supporters who call themselves centipedes, the r/The Donald subreddit has grown to more than 10 times the size of the largest pro-Hillary Clinton subreddit, r/hillaryclinton. Unlike other candidate-oriented subreddits, however, r/The_Donald users spend less time on real-world campaign organizing than on sharing videos and memes lauding Trump and shaming his detractors. The most popular post in the subreddits history, for example, mocks defeated opponent Jeb Bush as a mamas boy.
As in Trumps press conferences, where numerous media outlets are banned from participating, the barrier for submitting entries to the AMA was high.
For this AMA we have temporarily taken extra security measures to keep our community free from troublemakers, posted the AMAs moderator, adding that the subreddit built the wall 10 ft taller. Comments from new accounts were filtered out, as were any comments supportive of other candidates.
Trump, who has been likened to an internet comment section brought to life, was not a natural with the AMA format. Nearly half an hour in, Trump had only written 39 words in response to two questions posed by a single user one on voter fraud (Voter fraud is always a serious concern and authorities must be vigilant from keeping those from voting that are not authorized to do so) and another on jumpstarting the space race (Honestly I think NASA is wonderful! America has always led the world in space exploration).
Where the candidate fell short, however, the moderators stepped in. Multiple lengthy and popular questions were posed by Milo Yiannopoulos, a self-styled enfant terrible of the social web whose casual misogyny and ethnocentrism have earned him a cult following and a permanent ban from Twitter. In one question, regarding abuse of H-1B visas, Yiannopoulos put the candidates wife, Melania Trump, in the same company as Albert Einstein and Wernher von Braun as the most brilliant and talented people from countries around the world who have come to the US in search of employment.
In response, Trump declared that his campaign had put forward a detailed plan for H-1B reform to protect American workers which can be viewed on the immigration paper on my website, calling his plan the exact opposite of Crooked Hillary Clinton.
As the AMA continued, Trump appeared to become more comfortable answering questions, albeit using talking points recognizable to anyone with a passing familiarity with his stump speeches.
When asked what he would do to lower the cost of health insurance, Trump posted that after repealing the disastrous Affordable Care Act: I will put forward an amazing new plan, which will include many reforms, such as letting people buy insurance across state lines, increasing choice and competition, and bargaining for better, cheaper drug prices.
In answer to a question about removing the influence of money from politics, Trump was even more succinct: Keeping Crooked Hillary Clinton out of the White House!
Trumps longest answer was a post encouraging supporters of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders to join his cause, welcoming with open arms all voters who want an honest government and to fix our rigged system so it works for the people.
It may have been a canny move given the nature of Reddit: the only candidate subreddit with more subscribers than r/The_Donald is in support of Sanders. The Vermont senator has since banded together with Clinton in support of her candidacy, to their impassioned dissatisfaction.
For those still considering siding with Clinton, Trump cautioned that the former secretary of state and her husband have been paid millions and millions by global corporations and powerful interests who will control her every decision.
She is their puppet, Trump warned, and they pull the strings.
The novel approach to direct-address, combined with a grueling campaign schedule that had him traversing three states in a single day, appeared to have wiped Trump out. At a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio, immediately following the AMA, Trump appeared comparatively fatigued, with nary a bomb to be thrown after his media-cycle-defining press conference on Wednesday morning.
Immediately after the conclusion of that rally, however, one of the first questions Trump answered in his AMA came back to haunt him: a breaking report from BuzzFeed News revealed that Trump is seeking to import foreign workers for various positions at his Mar-a-Lago resort and a nearby golf course.
The H-1B policy Trump referred to in his AMA condemns companies that do this, and proposes forcing companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the US, instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas.