Never mind the game — the relatively recent institution of the presidential Super Bowl interview once again delivered nothing special either. The offenses for CBS News and the White House performed better than those of New England and Los Angeles, but that’s not saying much. And neither Margaret Brennan or Donald Trump said much of note that hadn’t been said elsewhere already.
The newsiest of the sparse crumbs may be that Trump hasn’t considered a pardon for Roger Stone. And that’s probably just because no one’s asked him about it before now:
MARGARET BRENNAN: –they were posted on WikiLeaks and your friend Roger Stone was just indicted for his involvement there and for lying.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: First of all, Roger Stone didn’t work on the campaign, except way way at the beginning long before we’re talking about. Roger is somebody that I’ve always liked, but a lot of people like Roger some people probably don’t like Roger, but Roger Stone’s somebody I’ve always liked. I mean Roger’s a character but Roger was not- I don’t know if you know this or not- Roger wasn’t on my campaign except way at the beginning–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So, it’s all- and- and yet you will ask me a question like that, wasn’t involved in my campaign.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you pardon him?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I have not thought about it. It looks like he’s defending himself very well. But you have to get rid of the Russia witch hunt because it is indeed. And remember–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Because you think–
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Remember this. Remember this. There’s been no president that has been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.
That’s an improvement on Trump’s responses to questions about a pardon for Paul Manafort. To be fair, though, most of that damage was done by Rudy Giuliani rather than Trump himself, but not all of it. Let Roger defend himself is a very good non-denial answer, but other interviewers will now want to check in with Trump on this question to see if the answer changes. Trump likes to ad-lib these answers, but he does seem to have learned to stay away from any comment that might look like obstruction, especially on issues that have nothing to do with himself or Russia-collusion.
The most shocking part of the interview might have been Trump’s preferences for Barron. Did the president of the United States endorse that globalist game of soccer over good ol’ American football? Get the pitchforks:
MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you let your son Barron play football?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It’s very, it’s very tough question. It’s a very good question. If he wanted to? Yes. Would I steer him that way? No, I wouldn’t.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Why?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I wouldn’t. And he actually plays a lot of soccer. He’s liking soccer. And a lot of people, including me, thought soccer would probably never make it in this country, but it really is moving forward rapidly. I- I just don’t like the reports that I see coming out having to do with football—I mean, it’s a dangerous sport and I think it’s- I- it’s- really tough, I thought the equipment would get better, and it has. The helmets have gotten far better but it hasn’t solved the problem. So, you know I- I hate to say it because I love to watch football. I think the NFL is a great product, but I really think that as far as my son- well I’ve heard NFL players saying they wouldn’t let their sons play football. So. It’s not totally unique, but I- I would have a hard time with it.
That was a clever question by Brennan, and Trump handled it by being a concerned father — a good moment for both of them. There weren’t many in this edition of Super Bowl With the Prez, but there usually aren’t anyway. It’s one part of the Super Bowl tradition we can put aside in years to come. Perhaps we can even have presidents issue “pardons” to news anchors to relieve themselves of responsibility for them.