Donald Trump just had an awkward foreign-policy interview where he admitted he didn't know many of the answers

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Quds, Not Kurds: Trump Stumbles Over Foreign Policy Question

Real-estate magnate Donald Trump admitted he didn't know the answers to what he called "gotcha" questions in a Thursday interview focused on foreign policy.

Among other things, Republican presidential front-runner suggested it was not yet important for him to know the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas, the Islamic militant groups based in Lebanon and Palestine, respectively.

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The interview went awry from the very start. Hugh Hewitt, the high-profile conservative radio host who is moderating the next GOP debate, asked Trump about Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the country's elite Quds Forces who is responsible for overseeing Iran's network of proxy organizations.

"Are you familiar with General Soleimani?" Hewitt asked.

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Donald Trump just had an awkward foreign-policy interview where he admitted he didn't know many of the answers
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Trump said he was — but added that Hewitt should "go ahead, give me a little, go ahead, tell me."

Hewitt informed Trump that Soleimani runs the Quds Forces. ("Soleimani is to terrorism sort of what Trump is to real estate," Hewitt said.) But Trump started talking about how the US needed to treat the Kurdish forces in Iraq better, a reference to the US-led coalition's fight against the Islamic State.

After a quick back-and-forth, Trump explained that he had misheard Hewitt.

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In a later question, the radio host listed a series of other notable Islamic militant-group leaders — Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah, Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Nusra Front's Abu Muhammad al-Julani, and the Islamic State's Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — and asked if Trump was familiar with them.

Trump said didn't know their names but dismissed the question as unimportant because new people will lead all the groups by the time the next president is elected. He also vowed to hire an extremely talented general to lead the US armed forces.

"But as far as the individual players, of course I don't know them," Trump said. "I've never met them. I haven't been in a position to meet them. If they're still there — which is unlikely in many cases — but if they're still there, I will know them better than I know you."

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Donald Trump just had an awkward foreign-policy interview where he admitted he didn't know many of the answers
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Hewitt noted that Nasrallah, the veteran Hezbollah leader, has actually been in power for a long time. In fact, according to the Israel Defense Forces, Nasrallah has been the group's leader since 1992.

The two then debated whether or not Hewitt's questions were fair inquiries or "gotcha" attempts to get the candidate to admit he doesn't know obscure facts.

"Well, that is a 'gotcha' question, though. I mean, you know, when you're asking me about who's running this, this, this. ... I will be so good at the military, your head will spin. But obviously, I'm not meeting these people. I'm not seeing these people," Trump said, repeating his claim that the groups' leaders will likely be gone by the time he would take office in January of 2017.

Hewitt insisted he was not trying to stump the real-estate developer, but Trump said it "sounded like 'gotcha'" and called it "ridiculous" to know all the Islamic militant leaders' names.

The interview then moved onto more favorable topics, including broader foreign-policy questions about the Middle East and Asia. But Hewitt, clearly baffled from their initial exchange, ended the interview by returning to the questions Trump admitted he didn't know much about.

"I really do disagree with you on the 'gotcha' question thing, Donald Trump. At the debate, I may bring up Nasrallah being with Hezbollah, and al-Julani being with al-Nusra, and al-Masri being with Hamas. Do you think if I ask people to talk about those three things, and the differences, that that's a 'gotcha' question?" Hewitt asked.

"Yes, I do. I totally do. I think it's ridiculous," Trump said. "I'm a delegator. I find great people. I find absolutely great people, and I'll find them in our armed services, and I find absolutely great people. ... But when you start throwing around names of people and where they live and give me their address, I think it's ridiculous, and I think it's totally worthless."

Donald TrumpTrump then repeated again that the militant group leaders "probably won't even be there in six months or a year," causing Hewitt to repeat his argument that Nasrallah, of Hezbollah, is probably not going anywhere anytime soon.

"Last question," Hewitt said, "So the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas does not matter to you yet, but it will?"

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"It will [matter to me] when it's appropriate," Trump answered. "I will know more about it than you know, and believe me, it won't take me long."

In fairness to Trump, he is not the only presidential Republican candidate who has not always kept up with Hewitt, a former Reagan administration official and military wonk, during interviews on his daily radio show.

On the same day of the Trump interview, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina also was not especially familiar with the individual militant leaders in the Middle East but showed much more proficiency with questions about their organizations. And in March, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson appeared to botch Hewitt's questions about NATO members and the origins of the Islamic religion.

Check out Hewitt's full Trump interview trancript here — or watch below:

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