President Donald Trump spent the better part of the 8 a.m. hour Thursday morning on the phone with the anchors from “Fox and Friends,” delivering a wide-ranging – to say the least – interview about everything from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to the author of that anonymous op-ed in The New York Times to the stuff he allegedly knows about his former economic guru Gary Cohn.
It was a tour de force. Or a tour de something. Below, the 45 most eye-popping lines from the 46-minute(!) interview.
1. “Well, it’s going to go fast. We’re going to make it go fast.”
This is the President of the United States on how the recovery from Hurricane Michael will work. It will work fast – because he said so.
2. “So we haven’t seen that before. And I guess you have two or three cases where maybe there might have been slightly stronger wind. But this is in history.”
Remember that Trump is – in all things including natural disasters – on the lookout for how he is making history. Strongest winds. Biggest hurricane. Most massive storm surge. And on and on and on. (Hurricane Michael was, by the numbers, the strongest to hit the US mainland since 1992.)
3. “I really had very little heat, other than the natural haters, of which there are obviously some.”
Fox’s Steve Doocy asked Trump here about how he handled the criticism from some circles that he shouldn’t have gone to a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Wednesday night, given the storm. Lucky for Trump, there were no critics. I mean, other than the “natural haters.”
4. “I go make a speech in a 12,000-seat auditorium, and people start lining up two days early. I mean, literally, they bring tents.”
To say Trump is obsessed with crowd size is to undersell just how much he cares about it. To Trump, if lots of people are showing up to hear him speak, he must be winning. All the negative news stories and his broader poll numbers must be wrong – because so many people (including in tents!) line up to hear him talk wherever he goes.
5. “And you saw that last night, when the auditorium, which held about 12,000 people, it was full, and we had 20- or 25,000 people outside watching screens.
By Trump’s calculation there were somewhere between 32,000 and 37,000 people inside and outside watching the speech in Erie, Pennsylvania on Wednesday. According to the Erie fire chief, there were 9,000 people in the arena and another 3,000 watching outside. So 12,000 total. So…
6. “Everybody was happy. Otherwise, it would have been really unfair to all of the people that were waiting. And – and we’re talking about thousands and thousands of people.”
Yes, you mentioned that. Several times, actually.
7. “So I don’t think, really the heat was very hot.”
Know what was an underrated band? Hot Hot Heat. (Also, Canadian!)
8. “I have a lot of African-American support, and a lot has developed over the last little while with Kanye coming out, and Jim Brown’s been there for a long time.”
In the new CNN-SSRS national poll, just more than 1 in 4 non-white voters (26%) approved of the job Trump is doing. Two-thirds (67%) disapproved. According to the 2016 exit poll, Trump got 8% of the black vote as compared to 89% for Hillary Clinton.
9. “Well, what’s happening is Jim is really – he gets it. He very, very much gets it. And I get it.”
In sum: NFL legend Jim Brown gets “it.” As does, of course, Donald Trump.
10. “But I have a tremendous amount of support with African-American great athletes.”
This is, um, hard to quantify since it’s hard to know what Trump means by “African-American great athletes.” I would posit, however, that if you polled all black professional athletes it would show something short of a “tremendous amount of support” for Trump.
11. “He’s a very different kind of a guy. I say that in positive way, but he is a different kind of a guy.”
This quote by Trump about Kanye West is 100% correct.
12. “When Kanye came out very strongly a number of months ago, something happened. My polls went up, like, 25%.”
[Narrator voice] No, they didn’t.
13. “I went to Indiana and we took Bobby Knight, and that was a big deal in Indiana, you have Bobby Knight. And we won Indiana by many, many, many points. And, you know, you have – I think I might have won it anyway, but when you have Bobby Knight in Indiana – I have Kanye, I have just – we have such tremendous support from so many people.”
This was Trump’s response to a question from Ainsley Earhardt on whether Trump and Kanye might campaign together. It makes perfect sense that Trump responded by talking about the former coach of the Indiana University men’s basketball team and how he won the Hoosier State by “many, many, many points.” Yup. Perfect sense.
14. “Those people in Hollywood that you hear about, even the ones that do a little talking because they think it’s cool, they vote for Trump – many of them vote for Trump. I’ve heard so many of them vote for Trump.”
Oh, now THIS is interesting. So Hollywood liberals are actually secret Trump voters! The President’s proof of this claim? He’s “heard so many of them vote for Trump.” Well, I’m convinced!
15. “They’re saying that so many of the people that you see talking about me – maybe it’s fashionable and maybe it’s not fashionable, but they vote for me.”
Trump expands on his conspiracy theory here: It’s cool in Hollywood to bash Trump, but, secretly, lots of prominent Hollywood liberals vote for him. This is all starting to make sense…
16. “He better be careful what he’s wishing for, that I can tell you. He better be careful for what he’s wishing for.”
Trump is talking about former Attorney General Eric Holder here – and, specifically, Holder’s comment that when Republicans “go low, we’ll kick them.” Trump, showing he can always go lower, issues a vague threat to Holder that the former AG “better be careful what he’s wishing for.”
17. “And my rallies are really calm and well-run and – and packed with people. We don’t have problems at our rallies.”
18.”And we’d have protesters. And I would say this, that it wasn’t so successful for those protesters.”
Again here Trump seems to be issuing a sort of vaguely ominous threat. We used to have protesters but it didn’t go so well for them, if you you know what I’m saying…
19. “I have more Indian blood in me than she does, and I have none. Unfortunately, but I have none.”
It’s far less clear whether Warren has “Indian blood’ than Trump makes it sound. I know this will shock you to learn.
20. “The government can’t run anything; they’ve proven that.”
Nothing? Not anything? Really?
21. “Well, I actually get along well with Rod. We have a witch hunt going on, which is disgraceful.”
In which in one sentence the President dismisses the idea he might be considering firing the deputy attorney general and in the next he name-calls a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election that “Rod” (Rosenstein) is leading.
22. “It turned out with Russia there was collusion, but it was with Hillary Clinton, the DNC.”
23. “These Republican folks – I think they’re becoming folk heroes.”
The “folk heroes” Trump is referring to include a number of tea party-aligned House members like Mark Meadows (N.C.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio). And they are “folk heroes” because they believe there is some sort of secret DNC-Clinton-Russia collusion plot that is about to be exposed?
24. “Don’t forget, [James] Comey is a very bad guy. This country got very lucky when I fired him.”
You’re welcome, America!
25. “So [Andrew] McCabe is investigating Hillary Clinton and they – her PAC, essentially, run by her best friend, is paying McCabe $750,000; to me, that’s a big deal. Nobody ever mentions it.”
First off, people mention it. Second, there’s barely a speck of truth in what Trump is saying here.
26. “I think I’ve done a great service to this country because I’ve exposed so much.”
You’re welcome, America! Again!
27. “And I don’t think people like Devin Nunes – you – you – he should get – if this all turns out like everyone thinks it will, Devin Nunes should get the Medal of Honor.”
Uh, what? Trump here is proposing the California Republican who has led the, to date, largely fruitless efforts to expose some sort of “deep state” conspiracy within the Justice Department aimed at defeating Trump should be awarded the highest possible award in the military for valor in combat against an enemy. Trump, perhaps realizing how badly he’s stepped in it, then pivots to saying that maybe Nunes should win a presidential Medal of Freedom. Which, um, OK; the Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor in the country “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
28. “I did a great service for this country when I fired Comey.”
Yes, I believe you had already mentioned that.
29. “[Comey] actually did Hillary Clinton a big favor because she should be in jail. But he should – they should’ve taken her right off the campaign, but he – so he did her a big favor.”
Just the President of the United States saying his 2016 Democratic opponent should have been arrested in the course of the campaign. And that the only reason she wasn’t put in jail was because there was a broad-scale conspiracy within the Justice Department to protect her. No biggie!
30. “We have five people – we really have seven – but five people that want it so bad.”
A key to the story that Trump tells himself is how desirable he and everything he touches is. Hence insisting that there are seven people who want “so bad” to be the next US ambassador to the United Nations.
31. “I really think that Justice Kavanaugh, the way he was treated, so horribly – this is a fine man – what they did to him and his family, the Democrats – I don’t think people are going to forget that so quickly.”
This is a central question that won’t be answered until November 6: Did the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh – and the sexual assault allegation he faced – have a bigger impact on the Republican or Democratic base? Trump has a view, clearly. But it’s difficult to say whether he’s right – and whether even if he is right about the GOP base getting fired up in the Kavanaugh fight, it will last through election day.
32. “The other thing is with the House, we have – we have many races that people are going to call wrong. With that being said, what’s going to happen? I don’t know.”
“Do I know what product I’m selling? No. Do I know what I’m doing today? No. But I’m here, and I’m gonna give it my best shot.” – Hansel
33. “When I took over this economy, this economy was ready to crash.”
34. “The wall is being built, but it’s being built in chunks that I don’t like. I’m not happy with it.”
[Narrator voice] It’s not, really.
35. “Well, I never talk about that, but I can tell you Matt Whitaker’s a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker. But I never talk about conversations that I had.”
This is Trump’s response to a question about whether a Washington Post story that alleges Trump asked Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff if he wanted to replace Sessions. Trump’s non-denial denial makes very clear the Post is onto something.
36. “There is no collusion. There’s no collusion. There is collusion with Hillary Clinton and the Russians. But there’s no collusion with the Republicans and there’s certainly no collusion with Donald Trump.”
There are 31 total words in these four sentences. Nine of them are either “no collusion” or “collusion.”
37. “Well, it seems ridiculous that I’d have to do it when everybody says there’s no collusion. But I’ll do what is necessary to get it over with.”
If you take Trump at his word – always dicey – then he made some news in this quote: He is saying he would sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller to “get it over with.”
38. “But we’ll just have to fight it out, because there are a lot of haters and they’re just absolute haters.”
Trump is talking about how politics will look if Democrats take the House in November. Also, relatedly: Is there a difference between “absolute haters” and “natural haters”?
39. “Now, can we get along? Maybe. And there’s a possibility. They want infrastructure, I want infrastructure; there’s something that can bring us together. We have a lot of things were there is commonality and it’s possible that we’ll even get along.”
And/but from #38: Trump is saying he might actually be able to get along with Democrats if they hold the House – and get things done. Is that triangulation’s music??????
40. “He’s, like, this incredible person that every – it turned out to be such false, horrible charges, what they did.”
To be clear: Because Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court by the Senate last week doesn’t mean the charges brought against him by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez were “false.” It also doesn’t mean they were true. The Senate was conducting a job interview, not a criminal case.
41. “But honestly, I’m doing a great job and that’s why I have these crowds. These crowds aren’t showing up if I don’t do a good job.”
He’s just being honest. Also, per my point above: For Trump, a big crowd = success.
42. “Now, a lot of people ask me that question: Is it all worth it? It really is worth it, because, you know, look, I’ve done a great job.”
You know something is worth doing when you do it really, really, ridiculously well.
43. “Even the letter written to the Times, there is a chance – I don’t say it’s a big chance, but there is a very good chance – that that was written by the Times.”
Trump here alleges that The New York Times made up an anonymous op-ed from a senior Trump administration staffer that was critical of him and his presidency. The evidence he offered for this outlandish claim? None, of course.
44. “You know, Gary Cohn – and I could tell stories about him like you wouldn’t believe.”
This is the President threatening a former aide because he believes him to be one of the unnamed sources for Bob Woodward’s damning book about the Trump White House. Totally normal stuff here.
45. “Thank you all. Your show is a fantastic show, just keep it going.”
Trump likes “Fox & Friends” and thinks the show is “fantastic” because they offer zero context or alternative views to what he says every day. As a result of that lack of journalistic rigor, they get to interview the President. This all checks out!