President Donald Trump was in Las Vegas on Thursday night to headline a campaign rally for Sen. Dean Heller, the most endangered Republican incumbent on the ballot this fall. He did a pre-rally interview with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity – “Wave to the fake news media,” Hannity told Trump at the start of the interview – and then took the stage to deliver his now-familiar stump speech, a mix of Teleprompter reading and free-form riffs on, well, everything.
I went through the transcript of Trump’s speech and pulled out the most memorable lines. They’re below.
1. “Hello, Las Vegas.”
2. “You always have to say that name just right.”
Trump is talking about how to pronounce “Nevada.” Which, properly pronounced is “Nev-AD-a.” Which he did! That’s a change from October 2016, when as a candidate Trump kept calling the state “Ne-VAH-da” while insisting: “I said, when I came out here, I said, nobody says it the other way. It has to be Nevada, right?” (He apparently was mixed up.)
3. “And except for a lot of the fake news that you see from these people back here…” [audience boos]
I’m just going to keep saying it: If you think a country without a free and independent media would be a better place to live, you are wrong.
4. “This is an incredible time for our country. America is winning again.”
5. “It is a pretty sad day, isn’t it? Don’t worry. It’s all going to get better. It’s all going to get better.”
These two proclamations came within a few sentences of each other. On the one hand, we are winning and everything is better than it’s ever been before! On the other, it’s a “sad” day but things will soon get better. Reading these Trump transcripts reveal all sorts of moments of total contradiction, affirming for me the belief that he is just saying stuff – lots and lots of stuff.
6. “Jobless claims just hit a 50-year low. Fifty. Five-oh.”
Fact Check: True! Ish. A 49-year low. Four-nine.
7. “And do you remember the tears from the fake news media, when it was obvious that we were going to win?”
[narrator voice] This never happened.
8. “They’re still crying. Look at them. They’re still crying.”
[narrator voice] They’re not.
9. “It’s like we have to have more Republicans in office. We’ll get everything we want, so fast. We’ve got to have it.”
Reminder: Republicans currently control the White House, Senate and House. And have for the last two years.
10. “You know the word ‘bias?’ They’ve been talking about bias. Is there bias? Yeah, there was a lot of bias.”
What is Trump referring to here? Do you know the word “referring?” Is there referring? Yeah, there is a lot of referring.
11. “We started out, we weren’t friends. I didn’t like him. He didn’t like me.”
Thus begins the tale of Trump and Heller. The origin of the dislike – at least on Trump’s end – was that Heller was less supportive than the President wanted when it came to the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Heller eventually voted for it. Trump helped drive Danny Tarkanian out of the primary against Heller, pushing him into a House race.
12. “I mean, Wacky Jacky will never vote for us, folks. Never. She’s wacky. She’s never going to vote for us.”
“Wacky Jacky” is, in case you are wondering, Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, who is running against Heller this November.
13. “The new platform of the Democrat Party is radical socialism and open borders.”
This feels like something of an oversimplification.
14. “And I won’t allow the United States of America to become the next Venezuela. That’s what they want to do.”
I looked and looked for a quote from Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi promising that Democrats will make the US Venezuela if they take over control of Congress. My search engine must be broken or something. Couldn’t find it.
15. “I’m not thrilled, but after the election, they’re all telling me were getting our wall the way we want it, so let’s see what happens. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see if they produce.”
The “they” here is, presumably, congressional Republicans. And, no, there is almost no way that Congress is going to allocate $25 billion for a border wall. And, yes, that will make Donald Trump very angry. And Republicans won’t like Donald Trump when he is angry.
16. “I could knock it out, because I do that well. That’s what I do well. I build. We could knock that wall out in one year if they gave us the funds.”
Trump may be a great builder. One of the best. Many people are saying it. But every expert suggests that there is no way that a border wall could be built in a year.
17. “How is our Justice Department doing?” [audience boos]
REMINDER: This is the Trump administration’s Justice Department. Led by a former Alabama Republican senator. Who was one of Trump’s most prominent surrogates during the 2016 campaign.
18. “Today’s Democrat Party is held hostage by left-wing haters, angry mobs, socialist fanatics, ‘deep-state’ bureaucrats, and their fake news allies.”
Pause. Go up and read that line again. It’s remarkable. Most presidents don’t have a tremendous regard for the opposing party. I can’t remember one who said the other party was made up of angry mobs and socialist fanatics.
19. “I can’t tell you how dishonest and corrupt so much of the media is. I can’t even explain it. Impossible to explain. Nobody would believe it. Nobody would.”
I can’t tell you how irresponsible it is for the President of the United States to make a blanket attack – with no specifics – about corruption within the media.
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20. “These are people that will take a great story and make it as bad as possible. They’ll take an OK story and make it horrible.”
A window into how Trump views media coverage: It’s not about accurate or inaccurate. It’s about whether the story is good or bad for him. That’s it.
21. “The New York Times, like, they apologized to their subscribers because they covered the election so badly, because their subscribers say, how could this happen?”
This also did not happen. The Times publisher released a letter to readers shortly after the election insisting they would continue to cover the world “without fear or favor.” That’s it. You can read the whole thing here.
22. “People don’t read The New York Times, because it’s a dishonest newspaper.
23. “Hey, I’m the President of the United States! I’m not the president of the globe.”
This is a good line that likely works well even outside of Trump’s most committed base.
24. “I want to give a victory speech.”
25. ” So I said just write down some of the things. Each one, each one, point, point, point, four-and-a-half pages.”
Trump asked his staff to write down all of his accomplishments. On a piece of paper. Then he held up the paper for people at the Vegas rally to see. And read from it. (Watch here!)
26. “And we won big, 306-223. Remember? There is no way, right? There is no way that Donald Trump gets to 270. No, we got to 306.”
The 2016 presidential election ended 682 days ago.
27. “Hispanic, any Hispanic here? I think so.”
28. “Any Asians? Asian? Asian? Any Asian?”
39. “Almost 3.9 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps. I mean, how good is that?”
30. “I’m an environmentalist. I want crystal-clean water. I want crystal-clean air. That’s what we want.”
Donald Trump: Environmentalist.
31. “Remember the tears? Crying, crying, oh. Crying, crying. Ladies and gentlemen, the next president of the United States – this is on television – and I say, oh, don’t cry, please, I want to be happy. Don’t cry.”
Again, again, the media was not crying when Trump won.
32. “The policies of their party aren’t just extreme. Frankly, they’re dangerous, and they’re crazy.”
Trump learned a very important lesson in the 2016 campaign: Fear is a powerful motivator. No surprise then that he’s going back to that fear heading into 2018.
33. “We’re going to start winning again. We’re winning now much bigger than I ever thought at a much earlier level.”
The winning is coming sooner than you thought! Prepare for boredom at winning to set in any minute!
34. “Every time a person comes in to the Oval Office, a president, a king, a queen, a prime minister, they say, Mr. President, congratulations on what you’ve done with this country. It’s true.”
[narrator voice] Is it?
35. “You’re not letting me down. I’m never, ever going to let you down.”
Is this a Kanye reference? If so, I’m out!