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David Axelrod talks to author and columnist Frank Bruni

Bruni said Donald Trump is "betting that noone has a memory any more" since he often says contradictory things

Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: The Axe Files, featuring David Axelrod, is a podcast distributed by CNN and produced at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. The author works at the institute.

Chicago CNN —  

Donald Trump may have wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination, but he faces a tougher opponent in the general election: his own words, says Frank Bruni, the author and op-ed columnist for The New York Times.

“It’s hard to see how (Trump) wins this thing.” Bruni told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files” podcast, produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. “(There are) all these different voting blocks that are, right now, so heavily in (Clinton’s) favor, and it is hard to see how Trump, given everything he’s said, given everything he’s done, how he moves those numbers in a significant enough way.”

Bruni added that Trump must be “betting that nobody really has a memory” anymore.

“He’ll say something on a Tuesday, and on Friday he’ll say something different, and when he’s challenged on it he just doesn’t care,” Bruni said. “It’s not that he’s a dumb man. I think he’s betting that … everyone judges in the instant.”

“One of the things we’ll learn this election is just how short people’s attention spans have become. The thing I find so interesting… about this particular presidential cycle in terms of the news, is the metabolism of events has never been faster,” Bruni continued.

Bruni noted that it remains to be seen if voters will hold against Trump some of the comments he has made in the GOP primary.

“As (Trump) tries to craft some sort of general election strategy, the … big question is, will he be haunted by all of those things [he’s said] or have we actually entered this moment that’s so utterly a historical … that Donald Trump can behave in a certain way for just the relevant two months, and that makes a difference?”

While Bruni said that he found Trump “vulgar,” he noted Trump’s appeal to voters may be his authenticity or “audacity” of speech, especially during a time when “a lot of Americans… feel muzzled.”

To hear the whole interview with Bruni, which also touched on his journalism career ranging from his start at The New York Post to his work as chief restaurant critic for The New York Times, click on To get “The Axe Files” podcast every week, subscribe at