The usual suspects are at it again, taking a small portion of one of President Trump's quotes out of context and making it sound like he said the exact opposite of what he actually said.
MSNBC Senior Producer Kyle Griffin started the ball rolling with a tweet that said: "Trump on Fox: 'I think the concept of chokehold sounds so innocent, so perfect.'" The implication clearly being that Trump was praising chokeholds.
Trump on Fox: "I think the concept of chokehold sounds so innocent, so perfect."— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin) 1591982700.0
As of the time of publication of this article, Griffin's tweet had been retweeted almost 5,000 times, including by many prominent journalists and the director of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's rapid response team.
Your *current* president. https://t.co/Mr421Ynqge— Andrew Bates (@Andrew Bates) 1591985464.0
There's one problem: The full context of the quote makes it clear that Trump was doing the opposite of praising chokeholds.
As with many of Trump's off-the-cuff answers during live interviews, the full question and answer is a bit of a word salad on Trump's part when you actually type it all out, but when you watch the clip, you can tell very clearly that what Trump is TRYING to say, in a conversation that gets confused in the transcript because of some cross-talk, that chokehold merely sounds like an innocent thing, but then you start to look at the reality and "it should be ended." Those are literally the last words of Trump's answer, so there should be no confusion as to what his ultimate position is.
Here is the video with the full discussion in its entirety. It is important to note what comes both before and after the portion Griffin quoted. The relevant portion begins at the 5:24 mark:
Here is a transcript of the relevant remarks in their entirety:
Q: Say no to chokeholds?
A: I don't like chokeholds. Now, I will say this: As somebody that, you know, you grow up and you and you wrestle and you fight and you this, or you see what happens, sometimes if you're alone and you're fighting someone who's tough, and you get someone in a chokehold, what are you gonna do? Say, oh... and it's a real bad person, and you know that, and they do exist. I mean, we have some real bad people... and you get somebody in a chokehold and what are you gonna do now? Let go and say, oh, let's start over again, I'm not allowed to have you in a chokehold? It's a tough situation. Now, if you have two people...
Q: Or four.
A: Yeah, in the case that we're talking about you had four people.
A: And two of them, I guess, just pretty much started. It's a very, very tricky situation [crosstalk] so the chokehold thing, is good, because... to talk about, because, off the cuff it would sound like, oh, absolutely, but if you're thinking about it, then you realize, maybe there is a bad fight, and the officer gets somebody in a position that's a very tough position...
Q: So, you're saying that there's a sliding scale depending on what the circumstances are...
A: I think you have to probably say...
Q: Do you wanna be in that conversation? Are you in that conversation?
A: I really am. And I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent and so perfect, and then you realize, if it's a 1-on-1, now if it's 2-on-1, that's a bit of a different story, depending. Depending on the toughness and strength. You know, we're talking about toughness and strength. There's a physical thing here also. But if a police officer is in a bad scuffle and if he's got somebody in a chokehold...
Q: Then it's a 1-on-1 fight for their life...
A: Yeah. And that does happen. [crosstalk] So you have to be careful. With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that generally speaking it should be ended.
The full context is clear that Trump's position is that: 1. Generally speaking, chokeholds should be ended, and 2. There might be exceptions available for a one-on-one fight where an officer is in a fight for his or her life. Furthermore, the full context also makes it clear that his point was that the chokehold might sound innocent to some people, but in fact it is not.