President Donald Trump didn’t spend much time at the G7 meeting in Quebec over the last 48 hours, but he managed to make plenty of news. As he was leaving for the conference, Trump told reporters he’d support re-adding Russia into the group. (Russia was removed from the group after it annexed Crimea in 2014.)
Once at the G7, Trump arrived late Saturday morning for a breakfast meeting attended by the various world leaders – and then held a somewhat impromptu news conference before heading to Singapore for his much-discussed summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12.
The press conference was, um, a humdinger. I went through the official White House transcript and pulled out some of the more memorable lines. They’re below.
1. “We’ve concluded a really tremendously successful G7.”
2. “And you know the gentlemen up are the legendary Larry Kudlow and the legendary John Bolton.”
[nods head knowingly] Oh yeah. (Randy “Macho Man” Savage voice)
3. “I made a lot of statements having to do with clarity.”
Yes, yes. This clears things up nicely.
4. “I congratulate the leaders of other countries for so crazily being able to make these trade deals that were so good for their country and so bad for the United States.”
A hearty congratulations on your craziness! Well done, sirs and madams!
5. “I’ll be on a mission of peace, and we will carry in, really – in my heart, we’re going to be carrying the hearts of millions of people, people from all over the world.”
That’s a lot of hearts.
6. “We really think that North Korea will be a tremendous place in a very short period of time.”
This, like many Trump statements, is impossible to fact check. So, in a short period of time North Korea is going to be “tremendous”? How? Why?
7. “Well, there’s always everything.”
Wise words. Wise. Words.
8. “He won’t have that opportunity again. It’s never going to be there again.”
Trump making very clear to Kim that this is his one big chance. And that if he misses his chance, there won’t be another. (It’s not entirely clear whether Trump would stick to such a tough line in the sand or not.)
9. “He can take that nation, with those great people, and truly make it great.”
If you follow Trump’s logic here, the way Kim will make North Korea “great” is to get rid of his nuclear weapons. I’m not sure Kim would agree with that view.
10. “And we will watch over, and we’ll protect, and we’ll do a lot of things.”
A lot of things. Believe me.
11. “I have not spoken to Vladimir Putin in quite a while.”
“Indeed, Donald Trump and I have, firstly, met more than once at various international venues. And secondly, we regularly talk over the phone.” – Vladimir Putin, earlier this week.
12. “Some people like the idea of bringing Russia back in.”
“Some people” = Donald Trump
13. “And something happened a while ago, where Russia is no longer in.”
Yes, Russia invaded a sovereign nation and annexed a region of it.
14. “We pay nothing. We don’t want to pay anything. Why should we pay?”
Me, at Starbucks, every damn day.
15. “So you go tariff-free, you go barrier-free, you go subsidy-free.”
You go gluten free.
16. “That’s the way you learned at the Wharton School of Finance.”
So, wait, Trump went to Wharton? I did not know that! You would think he would mention that more often!
17. “I guess, they got to go back to the drawing and check it out, right?”
18. “It’s going to change, 100%.”
One hundred percent is the most change. The biggest. There’s no more change than that.
19. “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing.”
Ronald Reagan on America: A shining city on a hill.
George H.W. Bush on America: A thousand points of light.
Donald Trump on America: The piggy bank that everybody is robbing.
20. “And so we are talking to many countries. We’re talking to all countries.”
So are we talking to many countries? Or all the countries? I need some clarity!
21. “So when we try and bring our piece up a little bit so that it’s not so bad, and then they go up – right – the difference is they do so much more business with us than we do with them that we can’t lose that.”
Man, this reads just like an economics textbook.
22. “The numbers are so astronomically against them in terms of anything, as per your question.”
23. “You’ve studied this very well. Congratulations.”
[pats self on back]
24. “Hispanic doing the best.”
He’s talking about Hispanic unemployment numbers here. But it’s sort of an odd way to say it…
25. “Fake News CNN. The worst. But I could tell by the question.”
The question in question, by CNN’s Kevin Liptak who was serving as the pool reporter at the event, was this: “As you were heading into these G7 talks, there was a sense that America’s closest allies were frustrated with you and angry with you, and that you were angry with them and that you were leaving here early to go meet for more friendlier talks with Kim Jong Un in Singapore. And I’m wondering if you view it the same way. And do you view the US alliance system shifting under your presidency?”
Seems like a pretty relevant question to me.
26. “I would say that the level of relationship is a 10.”
This all checks out.
27. “I will blame them if they don’t act smart and do what they have to do – because they have no choice. I’ll be honest with you, they have no choice.”
To sum up:
a) Trump doesn’t blame leaders of other countries for taking advantage of the US
b) They won’t be able to take advantage of us anymore
c) They have no choice
d) Again no choice
28. “So you can tell that to your fake friends at CNN.”
Just a reminder: Donald Trump is the President of the United States. Go tell your real friends that.
29. “The relationship that I’ve had with the people, the leaders of these countries, has been – I would really, rate it on a scale of 0 to 10, I would rate it a 10.”
30. “You know, it’s like the gig is up. It’s like the gig is up. They’re not trying to – there’s nothing they can say.”
Trump is casting the world as having collectively – and purposely – bilked the US for decades. And now, they have been caught red-handed and they know it. Again, color me skeptical that this is how France, Canada and the rest of the G7 see the situation.
31. “But a lot of these countries actually smile at me when I’m talking. And the smile is – we couldn’t believe we got away with it.”
So, that’s what he thinks the smile is about.
32. “I think that he’s going to surprise, on the upside, very much on the upside.”
[NBA draft expert voice] “Kim Jong Un, this is a guy with tremendous upside. Not much known about him going into this summit but his upside is limitless.”
33. “Because, you know, as a deal person, I’ve done very well with deals.”
Deal people do well with deals. It is known.
34. “I think within the first minute I’ll know. Just my touch, my feel. That’s what I do.”
My favorite quote – by a lot – in the press conference. So, Trump will know whether a deal can get done with Kim within the first minute of meeting him because of his “touch” and “feel.” Got it.
35. “Everyone said – you know, the haters, they say, ‘Oh, you’re giving him a meeting.’ Give me a break, OK?”
“The haters. ” – The President of the United States
36. “Because the US press is very dishonest, much of it.”
On foreign soil – and en route to an international summit over nuclear weapons – the President attacks “much” of the media as dishonest. In case you were wondering whether this is normal, it’s not. Not at all.
37. “There are many people in the press that are unbelievably dishonest. They don’t cover stories the way they’re supposed to be.”
This is a good reminder that for Trump, “fake news” and “dishonest” reporters basically translates to “journalists who report stories that aren’t favorable to me.”
38. “So there’s tremendous – you know, I came up with the term, ‘fake news.’ It’s a lot of fake news. But at the same time, I have great respect for many people in the press.”
Good night. And good luck.