On Monday, President Donald Trump traveled to Mississippi to rally support for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) on the eve of her runoff race against former Rep. Mike Espy (D). Trump made two stops in the Magnolia State – first in Tupelo and then in Biloxi.
It was vintage Trump – unapologetic, unmoored from the facts and cheered as a hero by his supporters. I went through the transcript from his Biloxi speech and picked out the 35 most noteworthy lines. They’re below.
1. “Wow, this is great. Look, snow. I didn’t know what was going on. This is – I said, you sure this is indoor? That beautiful snow looks so real.”
And away we go!
2. “That’s the end of my suit. That’s the end of the hair for tonight.”
Is he aware the microphone is, uh, on?
3. “This is a big – this is a big, beautiful arena, and they have thousands of people outside, and this place is packed.”
In Donald Trump’s world, there are ALWAYS thousands of people waiting outside to see him. For the record: The arena where Trump held his Biloxi rally can fit 13,000 people.
4. “And I can tell you, I’m meeting constantly with foreign leaders, and they walk in, and they say, Mr. President, it’s incredible what’s happened with your country in such a short period of time.”
Two thoughts on this: 1) I am somewhat skeptical that this happens 2) If it does happen, my guess is that these “foreign leaders” have realized that the best way to get what they want out of Trump is to flatter the hell out of him.
5. “Today, right now, more Americans are working in our country than at any time before. So that’s a big thing. That’s a big thing.”
This is true! It is also misleading! More Americans are working than ever before because there are more Americans than ever before. It’s like saying that I am older than I have ever been before. It’s true. But not meaningful.
6. “You know, we had a fantastic evening and day very recently, the midterms. We got very little credit from the fake news media.”
Republicans lost control of the House and are headed to a 40-seat net defeat. They won two Senate seats – in a national map in which there were more Democrats running in states Trump won in 2016 (10) than there were Republican incumbents running total (nine). They lost six governorships and hundreds of state legislative seats. These are all facts.
7. “They talked about the House, but the people I campaigned for in the House, which was very few, I can’t – look, I’m one person.”
True! He is one person!
8. “We got very little credit. But we actually – if we win tomorrow, we go 53-47. And nobody can believe it.”
I am not sure who this “nobody” is, but a Republican two-seat gain in 2018 was foreseen by lots and lots of neutral political handicappers. Again, there were 26 Democratic seats on the ballot – including 10 in states Trump won – as compared to just nine Republicans seats. It was the map of a lifetime for Republicans – and they netted two seats.
9. “We almost won in four states that a lot of people said don’t bother, you can’t win. I said, let’s give it a shot.”
It’s not clear what states he’s talking about but, presumably, Trump is referring to the Senate. And the states that Republicans targeted in 2018 were the 10 states Trump carried in 2016 that were represented by Democrats. And no one said that they shouldn’t bother doing that. In fact, it’s Politics 101 to go after those seats.
10. “And I’ll tell you, a little – a little tricky business going on. But let’s give them the benefit of a doubt, right?”
Just the President of the United States floating the idea that election fraud stole close elections from Republicans with zero proof! Nothing to see here, folks!
11. “Seven months ago, [Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant] took me around to see things, and then he showed me something that he’s maybe the most proud of all of, the African American Museum.”
That tour must have really left a big impression on Trump! So much so that he got the name of the museum totally wrong. The museum in Mississippi is the Civil Rights Museum. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is in Washington, DC.
12. “[Lindsey Graham] said things that were said not only so well, the meaning of what he said really changed the course of that event, and now we have a great, great Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.”
Trump is right about the South Carolina Senator bending the arc of Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Without Graham, Kavanaugh might never have made it to a confirmation vote.
13. “Cindy defied the Democrat smear machine – and that’s what it was – by proudly voting Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.”
To be clear: Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s main accuser, testified under oath that she was neither encouraged to come forward by Democrats nor coached by them once she came forward. So there’s that.
14. “Congratulations. Congratulations, Mississippi.”
This line comes in the middle of Trump’s speech. And, no, I have absolutely no idea what he is congratulating Mississippi on doing. But let me add my congrats, Mississippi. Well done. Keep doing whatever it is that you did that is worthy of congratulations.
15. “And Republicans will always protect Americans with pre-existing conditions”
16. “So the wall has started, very, very substantially.”
17. “Since I took office, ICE agents have arrested over 235,000 aliens with criminal records. Can you believe that, 235,000?”
I’m not totally sure what Trump is referring to here. As best as I can guess, he is talking about the 226,000 people that ICE deported from the country in the fiscal year of 2017. Of that group, 127,000 had criminal convictions.
18. “You know, you hear these stories about, oh, they don’t commit crimes. We commit crimes, they don’t commit crimes. Always it’s us. No, no, it doesn’t work that way. It’s fake news. It’s fake news.”
The problem with Trump’s argument here is that it’s wrong. At least according to facts. Study after study has shown that undocumented immigrants commit less crimes, on average, than native-born American citizens.
19. “Now they call me a politician. I’m a politician. I can’t stand it. They said he’s a political person. But I’ve only had one race, and look at the result.”
I’d like one word salad, please.
20. “You know that. You know that. You know that. You know what I’m talking about.”
[nods head warily]
21. “They said manufacturing jobs would never come back. You’d need a magic wand. Well, we found the magic wand.”
Did Trump find this wand at Ollivanders? Is is true that the wand chooses the wizard? Does this magic wand have a phoenix feather in its tip? So many questions!
22. “They’re high-paying jobs. They’re brilliant jobs. They’re important jobs.”
Brilliant jobs, you say? What, um, does that entail exactly?
23. “We have steel mills being built all over the country. Nobody saw anything like it ever before.”
24. “They can dump all they want. I want them to dump a lot.”
25. “But we’re making a lot of money. We’re making a lot of money.”
“Show me the money!” – Rod Tidwell
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26. “They want to dump, it’s OK. Dump all you want.”
Yes, you’ve made that abundantly clear already.
27. “It’s called the USMCA, like the song, YMCA, right?”
Yes! Just like that! Great current cultural reference!
28. “These are a lot of the things we’ve passed. We could go on. I mean, I have a list, literally, that’s four pages long.”
He actually has this list! He read from it at a rally in Las Vegas in September. Watch here!
29. “Nobody has ever done so much in the first two years of a presidency as this administration. Nobody. Nobody.”
It’s hard to fact-check this statement because it’s not clear what metric Trump is citing when he says “nobody has ever done so much.” Does that mean bills passed? Executive orders signed? Regulations rolled back? Rounds of golf played?
30. “It’s called the Space Force. Very important. Very, very important.”
31. “We want to get to that 53 number. They don’t believe it, but they don’t want to talk about it, but that’s OK.”
Who is “they”? And why don’t “they” want to talk about it? If “they” is the media, then Trump must have missed the thousands of reports – in print and on TV – on Mississippi’s Senate race in the past few weeks.
32. “But this is the greatest political movement in the history of our country. There’s nothing like this. Nothing like this has ever happened.”
The civil rights movement would like a word. As would the women’s suffrage movement.
33. “And you still have ‘deep state,’ but one by one, we’re getting them out. You have deep state bad people. You have a lot of phony stuff going on. But you know what? One by one, we’re winning. We’re winning, winning, winning.”
Just so everyone is clear on what Trump is alleging (with zero proof): There is an embedded bureaucracy within his administration that is actively working to undermine him because they disagree with his policies and want to circumvent the will of the American people. This is the President of the United States we are talking about.
34. “Generations of brave Americans did not shed their blood, sweat, and tears so that we could sit home while others tried to erase their legacy and destroy our very proud American heritage.”
“Our” is doing a lot of work in that sentence.
35. “We will not bend. We will not break. We will not yield. We will never give in. We will never give up. We will never back down. We will never surrender.”
“We made a promise/we swore we’d always remember/No retreat baby/No surrender.” – Bruce Springsteen.