Joe Scarborough Asked Trump If He Could Read, Awkward Silence Followed

White House/Public Domain

"Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semiliterate." -Michael Wolff

The question of whether or not President Donald Trump can or does read has been floating around the internet almost from the beginning of his presidential campaign. But according to MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, there is more to it than pure internet rumor.

Writing for the Washington Post, Scarborough recounts a troubling conversation he and co-host Mika Brzezinski had with then-candidate Trump:

Mika Brzezinski and I had a tense meeting with Trump following what I considered to be a bumbling debate performance in September 2015. I asked the candidate a blunt question.

"Can you read?"

Awkward silence.

"I'm serious, Donald. Do you read?" I continued. "If someone wrote you a one-page paper on a policy, could you read it?"

Taken aback, Trump quietly responded that he could while holding up a Bible given to him by his mother. He then joked that he read it all the time.

If the writings of Michael Wolff are accurate, Scarborough is not the only one questioning Trump's reading abilities.

An email Wolff describes as "purporting to represent the views" of chief economic adviser Gary Cohn neatly summarizes what campaign workers and White House staff have been telling me about Trump for two years. He is an "idiot surrounded by clowns. Trump won't read anything — not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored. And his staff is no better."

..."Trump didn't read," Wolff writes. "He didn't really even skim. If it was print, it might as well not exist. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semiliterate. Others concluded that he didn't read because he didn't have to . . . He was postliterate — total television."