President Donald Trump welcomed the Air Force Academy football team to the White House Tuesday. The stated goal was to award the team the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy – given to the military academy that beats the others in football.
I say “stated goal” because what the ceremony turned into was a decidedly political speech by Trump, focusing primarily on the president’s favorite topic: Himself.
It was vintage Trump. I watched the speech and, thanks to the outstanding David Wright, was able to pick through a transcript of it. The most amazing/odd/Trumpian lines are below.
1. “We all join the very proud and distinguished heritage of the long blue line. You know what that is, fellows. That’s a long, big, beautiful blue line.”
Beautiful. The best blue line. (Also, the long blue line, explained.)
2. “My friend Martha McSally, who by the way I think can fly a plane better than anybody up here. She’s the real deal. She’s tough. She likes a certain plane which I’m going to mention in a minute. She specifically likes a certain aircraft, right?”
McSally is a Republican member of Congress from Arizona. She was the first female fighter pilot to fly a combat mission and lead a fighter squadron. The plane she likes is the A-10 Warthog.
3. “We fly a lot of those under-the-radar planes. You can fly over the radar and still not be that good. It cost a lot of money, I’ll tell you that.”
I mean, your guess is as good as mine.
4. “There will never be a time, I will tell you this, when we will be spending more money – we are doing the necessary money, we’re going to have the finest equipment of all times.”
Trump cares deeply about making the military stronger. And he wants you to know.
5. “We have more money now for the border than we’ve gotten in 10 years. The Democrats didn’t tell you that. They forgot in their notes. They forgot to tell you that.”
This is the first of several times where Trump references Democrats’ “notes.” And none of those times did I know what he meant.
6. “Do you know what a donor is, fellows? You’ll learn when you get a little older. You’ll learn about donors. I used to be a donor. I used to get everything I wanted.”
Trump was addressing these lines to the Air Force football team. I feel like most of them probably know what a donor is. I could be wrong.
7. “This is what winning looks like. Something that you folks really know a lot about.”
The “winning” line came right after Trump declared he got everything he wanted. But I think he was referring to the team with this line. As in, look at these guys – this is what winning is. I think.
8. “They played some teams that were slightly larger, right, coach? Coach is saying, boy, they’re big, but you beat them, right?”
Air Force finished the season 10-3. In addition to beating Navy and Army, the team won over Fresno State, Boise State and Hawaii. They also won the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl over South Alabama.
9. “I just spoke to Bob Kraft of the New England Patriots, and he gave you a little pep talk and he’s a big fan too. We know one thing, as good as this coach is, even he says he’s not replacing (Bill) Belichick. Is that right? But someplace else. You’re going to stay where you are. You better stay right where you are, coach. Right?”
OK. So, Trump says: a) he spoke to the owner of the Patriots b) Kraft is not hiring Air Force coach Troy Calhoun c) Calhoun will probably leave Air Force for another job d) Calhoun needs to stay where he is at Air Force. Got it?
10. “I love the Air Force. I love those planes. i love buying those planes at a reduced price.”
Trump frequently touts the deals he has cut – most notably for F-35 fighters. There is some dispute, however, about just how good a deal he actually got.
11. “It does some pretty big damage. I know that. And we’re working on that. She loves that plane. So the F-16 Viper. Not as good? Not as good. To the B-2, little different, but still, no. Pretty good though.”
Trump is going back and forth with McSally about her – and his – favorite planes. So, that’s a thing that happened.
12. “I met everybody in the Oval Office. They actually said this is the first time you’ve been invited into the Oval Office. And the New England Patriots said that last week, that they were not invited in. We invite them into the Oval Office. I think we should invite them into the Oval Office, right? Don’t you think?”
Not-so-subtle message: Donald Trump is more welcoming and open than President Barack Obama. Also: New England Patriots.