Fresh off an unsuccessful summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump jetted back from Vietnam just in time to appear at the annual CPAC conference.
And appear he did! Egged on by the red-meat crowd, Trump went on and on (and on) – rarely staying on script in a speech that amounted to a sort-of greatest hits double album.
I went through the whole damn transcript – and it was a doozy. The lines you need to see are below.
1. [Trump comes out on stage, claps, and then bear-hugs an American flag]
And away we go!
2. “What we did in 2016 – the Election, we call it, with a capital ‘E’ – it’s never been done before.”
Donald Trump, grammar expert. Also, copy editor. Also also, history-maker.
3. “I was probably more of a conservative than a Republican. People just didn’t quite understand that. They didn’t understand it.”
They likely didn’t understand it because Trump, prior to running for president as a Republican, had expressed any number of views – on abortion, same-sex marriage and lots else – that suggested he was more closely aligned with Democrats than the GOP.
4. “How many times did you hear, for months and months, ‘There is no way to 270?’ You know what that means, right? ‘There is no way to 270.’”
The 2016 election ended 846 days ago.
5. “So I think we’re going to do even better in 2020. I think we’re going to do numbers that people haven’t seen for a long time.”
6. “But I found some very old laws from when our country was rich – really rich. The old tariff laws – we had to dust them off; you could hardly see, they were so dusty.”
Ah, those rich – and dusty – days. Man, they were great. Tough on the allergies. But great.
7. “You know I’m totally off-script, right?”
8. “You know I’m totally off-script right now. And this is how I got elected, by being off-script. True.”
It IS true. Voters seemed to believe that Trump’s often rambling, hard-to-understand speeches were evidence that he was an authentic politician who refused to be stage-managed. And they liked the idea of a guy who just, well, says stuff.
9. “And if we don’t go off-script, our country is in big trouble, folks.”
So going off-script is the key to future successes … [sharpens pencil, breaks out new sheet of paper, begins calculations]
10. “When the wind stops blowing, that’s the end of your electric. Let’s hurry up. ‘Darling’ – ‘Darling, is the wind blowing today? I’d like to watch television, darling.’”
“When the wind stop blowing, that’s the end of your electric.” – The President of the United States. (Also, Trump is talking here about his sarcastic “support” for the “Green New Deal.”)
11. “So the Great Tariff Debate of 1888 – and then we had so much money we could do whatever we wanted.”
Trump has taken to citing 1888 in his speeches of late. This will stun you, but his reading of the historical facts misses a few things.
12. “I won’t use a certain words because it’s not politically – but everybody knows the word I’d love to use. Should I use it? I won’t do it.”
Trump has even turned his infamous love for cursing into some sort of anti-elites mantra. Amazing.
13. “If you tell a joke, if you’re sarcastic, if you’re having fun with the audience, if you’re on live television with millions of people and 25,000 people in an arena, and if you say something like, ‘Russia, please, if you can, get us Hillary Clinton’s emails. Please, Russia, please.’”
HA HA HA … oh wait, on the same day Trump “jokingly” asked the Russians to get Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, the Russians began a cybercampaign to get Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.
14. “So everybody is having a good time. I’m laughing, we’re all having fun.”
“I really can’t say I guess I laugh to keep from crying.” – Q-Tip
15. “I know there are people in the Republican Party and people – really, even conservatives – good conservatives – they don’t like tariffs. I’m not liking or not liking.”
Here’s the President on tariffs: “I’m not liking or not liking.”
16. “So they don’t have anything with Russia. There’s no collusion.”
Here’s a few numbers on the ongoing special counsel probe into Russian interference: 199 criminal charges have been brought against 37 people and entities, seven people have pleaded guilty while four have been sentenced to prison.
17. “I saw little Shifty Schiff yesterday.”
“Little Adam Schitt” grimaces.
18. “So now we’re waiting for a report, and we’ll find out whether or not, and who we’re dealing with. We’re waiting for a report by people that weren’t elected.”
A terrific window into how much Trump has made the special counsel’s report about him. Remember that special counsel Robert Mueller was asked to look into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the possibility that members of Trump’s team may have colluded with the Russians. Instead of worrying about what it means that a malicious foreign power sought to influence our election, Trump is entirely focused on what the report – and its findings – mean for him.
19. “We had – think of this: We had the greatest election – in all fairness, I used to hear Andrew Jackson. This was now greater than the election of Andrew Jackson. People say that. No, people say it. I’m not saying it. Right? This was the equivalent or greater.”
Well if “people say that,” who am I to argue????
20. “Those red hats – and white ones. The key is in the color. The key is what it says. ‘Make America Great Again’ is what it says. Right? Right?”
Wait. So is the key the color of the hats or what they say on them? I NEED TO KNOW.
21. “And unfortunately, you put the wrong people in a couple of positions, and they leave people for a long time that shouldn’t be there. And, all of a sudden, they’re trying to take you out with bullshit. OK? With bullshit.”
I assume Trump is referring to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself from the Russia probe. Or maybe former FBI Director James Comey for launching the probe. Or deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for forming a special counsel to look into it. Maybe all of the above. Either way: It’s total bullshit!
22. “Now, Robert Mueller never received a vote, and neither did the person that appointed him. And as you know, the attorney general says, ‘I’m going to recuse myself.’”
Mueller and Rosenstein never received votes because they are career Justice Department officials. Mueller was a registered Republican, while Rosenstein was a Trump appointee. So …
23. “You take a look at them. One of them was involved with the Hillary Clinton Foundation, running it. Another one has perhaps the worst reputation of any human being I’ve ever seen. All killers.”
First, a fact check. No one on Mueller’s team ran the Clinton Foundation. Jeannie Rhee was outside counsel to the foundation but never worked there on the payroll. Not sure which member of Mueller’s teams “has perhaps the worst reputation of any human being I’ve ever seen” but I know at least one person who could challenge them for their title … And, no, no one of Mueller’s team is a convicted murderer or “killer.”
24. “I had a nasty business transaction with Robert Mueller a number of years ago. I said, ‘why isn’t that mentioned?’”
Trump is referring to an episode in 2011 when Mueller left a Trump golf club because, according to Trump, of a dispute over dues. Mueller says there was no such dispute. And yet, it is mentioned. Regularly.
25. “He wanted the job as FBI Director.”
It is true that Trump interviewed Mueller to be FBI director – a job he held for a decade under Presidents Bush and Obama – on the day before Mueller was named special counsel. It is not clear if Mueller expressed a desire to be the FBI director in those conversations.
26. “I have one of the great inventions in history. It’s called TiVo. I think it’s actually better than television, because television is practically useless without TiVo, right?”
“I invented the piano key necktie. I invented it!” – Jacobim Mugatu
27. “And I fire a bad cop. I fire a dirty cop.”
Trump is referring here to Comey, a career Justice Department official. Not to that cop in “The Wire” who was always taking money off of the street hustlers and keeping it form himself. (I see you, Randy!)
28. “So, just to finish – and I’ll tell you, Matt Schlapp is loving this.”
He’s not even halfway done.
29. “Number one, I’m in love, and you’re in love. We’re all in love together.”
Trump is talking about why he is speaking for so long and so far off-script. It’s because of love, obviously.
30. “There’s so much love in this room, it’s easy to talk. You can talk your heart out. You really could. There’s love in this room. You can talk your heart out. It’s easy. It’s easy. It’s easy.”
What do you say to a man who has already said everything?
31. “We never had an empty seat.”
Trump is claiming there was never an empty seat at ANY rally he held in 2018. Which, uh, isn’t accurate.
32. “And from the day we came down the escalator, I really don’t believe we’ve had an empty seat at any arena, at any stadium.”
“The day we came down the escalator.”
33. “They did the same thing at our big inauguration speech. You take a look at those crowds.”
Trump’s claims that more people attended or watched his inauguration than any other in history has been repeatedly – and clearly – debunked. And yet, here we are.
34. “Remember this also – not that Obama would ever do this: But we had fencing all the way down to the Washington Monument. And it was raining and it was wet, and the grass was wet.”
He’s STILL making excuses for why the crowd at his inauguration didn’t look bigger. The grass was wet! The fencing! The sun was in my eyes!
35. “We had a crowd – I’ve never seen anything like it. And I have to live – I have to live with ‘crowd size.’ It’s all a phony deal.”
This is actually a good illustration of how Trump’s world works. From where he was giving his inaugural address, he saw lots and lots of people. Therefore, it must have been the most ever – even if objective facts don’t bear that out. Those objective facts, in his mind, are just part of the fake news media’s attempts to smear him.
36. “But I saw a picture just the other night of practically no people. It was taken hours before our great day.”
Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017. That was 773 days ago. But “just the other night” he was looking at a picture of his inauguration crowd. Totally normal stuff here!
37. “Then I’ll show you where they showed, just the other day, an empty field – like nobody on it. And you’ll see the sun. You know, you can see it’s very dark, because the sun is like starting to rise, right?”
In which the President of the United States reveals he has been closely studying pictures of his inauguration crowd in search of evidence that they had been taken very early in the morning and, therefore, missed the big crowds. Sure!
38. “You know, somebody said, ‘Oh, the speech you made, sir, the State of the Union speech was incredible.’ They said it was incredible. They said that was so great.”
Who is this “somebody”?
39. “I didn’t want to get it approved for a certain reason, because I thought somebody treated me very badly. Very badly. Don’t get that vote very often. And I said, you know, I don’t want to get it.”
Trump is making clear here that he is not happy that he helped get drilling in ANWR approved because Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) wanted it to happen and he didn’t want her to get something she wanted. Because she doesn’t vote with him enough. Totally fine!
40. “By the way, you know I’m building the wall. We’re finishing the wall. We got a lot of money. It’s in the thing.”
It is, indeed, in the thing.
41. “We have people in Congress that hate our country.”
WOW WOW WOW.
42. “We have a lot of people here that are important people in terms of votes. We have some senators. We have some congressmen.”
Yes, waiter, I’ll have the word salad.
43. “For one thing, they don’t respect us. They think we’re ‘stupido.’”
What were the odds in Vegas that Trump would say “stupido”? One in a million? Higher? Those oddsmakers were stupido.
44. “He called me up. He said, ‘You’re a great President. You’re doing a great job.’”
According to Trump, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told him how great he was doing. I, uh, doubt this is true.
45. “The leaves – every once in a while, you have to remove the leaves because they are so – a guy smoking a cigarette, he throws it away, he doesn’t mean it.”
Donald Trump on forest fires.
46. “He said, ‘I just want to tell you you’re a great President and you’re one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.’”
So, the liberal governor of California called up Trump to tell him how great he is and how smart he is? Riiiiiiiiiight.
47. “But I was told by a general, who I had to fire – I said, ‘General, how long before we get 100% of the caliphate?’ He said, ‘Sir, two years.’ I said, ‘I can’t take it two years.’”
“I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.” – Donald Trump
48. “I never saw so many beautiful-looking machine guns. I’d look at that equipment and I’d say, ‘Man …’ They sit in the trees. They sit on the lawn.”
49. “I have pretty good vision. At least for my age, I have good vision. I guess for my age, I have great vision.”
From good to great in two sentences: The life of Donald Trump.
50. “So we changed his name. Called him ‘Mad Dog.’ But it wasn’t working too well. Mad Dog wasn’t working too well.”
Contrary to this claim, Trump didn’t invent the nickname “Mad Dog” for his former Defense Secretary James Mattis. Not even close.
51. “And I said, ‘Bring the cameras. I’m going to make a movie. This is the most incredible thing.’”
Trump was in Iraq to meet with generals. His first thought? Bring in the cameras. Let’s make a movie.
52. “I mean, you talk central casting. These guys – you couldn’t – I mean, it’s incredible. They had a master sergeant. I could take him right now, bring him to Hollywood, make a military movie, and he’s the star of the movie.”
Trump reveals, on almost a daily basis, that he views being President as akin to serving as the executive producer for the world’s greatest reality show.
53. “The drill sergeant was so incredible that he ended up starring in the movie, and he should have gotten the Academy Award, by the way, but he didn’t. That’s because Hollywood discriminates against our people. You know the movie I’m talking about, right? What was that movie? You know the movie.”
Yes, it’s called “Full Metal Jacket.”
54. “Nobody has left. I watch those doors. Because a lot of times – a lot of times – well, one time, the press said people left. Yeah, you know where they went? To the bathroom. And then they came back.”
This speech lasted TWO hours. TWO.
55. “And a certain fake news deal showed a picture on the front page of these two empty seats. They said Trump had empty seats. We never have empty seats.”
Back to this then? Wasn’t that sort of a first-hour-of-the-speech sort of thing?
56. “See, I don’t have white hair. I don’t have white hair.”
57. “She’s like – she’s like a crazed person. What she said about men is so bad. What she said about men is so bad.”
Donald Trump on Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). Perfectly normal! Nothing to see here folks!
58. “We reject oppressive speech codes, censorship, political correctness, and every other attempt by the hard left to stop people from challenging ridiculous and dangerous ideas. These ideas are dangerous.”
If Trump said just these two sentences over and over and over again, he would probably get re-elected. Because this anti-PC rhetoric resonates with lots and lots of people who likely aren’t obvious Trump supporters. Of course, as this speech proves, he will never just say these two sentences. Or any two sentences.
59. “Mothers, who love their daughters, give them massive amounts of birth control pills because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border.”
I think this interview with a border patrol agent is where Trump got this idea. it’s not at all clear if this was an isolated incident or a common practice.
60. “Not my fault I inherited this mess, but we’re fixing it.”
Trump is referring here specifically to the situation at the border. But really, he views every issue (and his whole life) through this lens. Someone else is responsible for the problem. But he will fix it.
61. “I did 32 big, fat rallies. And those rallies brought us to a tremendous Senate victory so that we can continue onward with our judges and our approvals.”
So, Trump deserves credit for the 2018 election!
62. “One of the commentators – and I appreciate it – one of the shows where they were saying how I suffered a defeat, this commentator said, ‘Excuse me, he didn’t run.’”
So Trump doesn’t deserve blame for the 2018 election! (Also: These two sentences were uttered by the President within 20 seconds of each other. Good times.)
63. “Then he had a tough race against the new star of the Democrat Party – not Democratic. It’s Democrat. We have to do that.”
This is the dumbest thing ever. It is the “Democratic” Party. Republicans in the 1990s decided that they would start saying it was the “Democrat” Party because they didn’t want people to think only one party was on the side of democratic ideals. Smart move, Republics!
64. “I hate to say in the speech, the ‘Democrat Party’ because it doesn’t sound good. But that’s all the more reason I use it, because it doesn’t. They should change it because it sounds much better. Rhetorically, it’s much better. Much better.”
They don’t need to change it! It’s already called the Democratic Party! Republicans just have to stop saying “Democrat” Party. Come on people. We can do this!
65. “We had a rally at the airport, where 55,000 people showed up to the airport. It was one hangar. They had three other hangars that were full. They went so far back.”
The rally for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp was held in one hangar. Not two. And definitely not three. The MOST people who were there? Around 18,500.
66. “Fourth of July – keep it open. We want to bring millions of people into the city, and we want people to come who love our country. Those are the people we want. The Fourth of July. (Applause.) A salute to America.”
[checks calendar] I’m WIDE open on July 4!
67. “By the way, I’m watching those doors. Not one person has left, and I’ve been up here a long time. … But not one person. So if you hear tomorrow, when they read ‘people left’ – nobody left early. There hasn’t been one person that’s left.”
He is totally and completely obsessed with crowds. And crowds staying. And loving him. This feels like a good place to end.