On Thursday night, President Donald Trump traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for his first 2020 campaign rally since special counsel Robert Mueller wrapped up his investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election and Attorney General William Barr gave the President a clean bill of health on allegations of conspiracy and obstruction.
And, as you might expect, Trump spent a good chunk of his 85-minute speech spiking the football on Democrats and the media who, he alleges, knew all along that he had never colluded with Russia. Those riffs – plus a whole lot of other memorable lines from the President of the United States – are below.
1. “After three years of lies and smears and slander, the Russia hoax is finally dead. The collusion delusion is over.”
For the record, the Mueller probe produced 199 charges against 37 people and entities. Seven people pleaded guilty. Five people were sentenced to prison. So, this investigation was not quite a “hoax.” And away we go!
2. “The Special Counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction.”
Not true! Yes, Mueller has ended his investigation. And, yes, according to the attorney general’s summary of the Mueller report, there was no collusion established. But Mueller specifically wrote that while his investigation did not conclude the President committed a crime, that decision “does not exonerate” Trump on the matter.
3. “Total exoneration. Complete vindication.”
4. “The crazy attempt by the Democrat Party and the fake news media right back there and the ‘deep state’ to overturn the results of the 2016 election have failed.”
To be clear: The special counsel investigation was launched by a Trump appointee – Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – and run by a lifelong Republican (Mueller). It is not clear how that amounts to a “deep state” conspiracy aimed at overturning the results of the 2016 election.
5. “This is the one we want. We want ourselves. We want us and that’s what we got.”
“We want us and that’s what we got.” – The President of the United States
6. “The Russia witch hunt was a plan by those who lost the election to try and illegally regain power by framing innocent Americans, many of them.”
Not to beat a dead horse here but … seven people affiliated in a variety of ways with Trump and/or his campaign pleaded guilty to crimes ranging from financial fraud to lying to investigators about the breadth and depth of conversations with Russians. I am not sure how “those who lost the election” were able to make that happen. But remember that Trump and his base thrive on a) victimhood and b) conspiracy theories. And so, Trump leans heavily into both.
7. “And this group of major losers did not just ruthlessly attack me, my family and everyone who questioned their lies they tried to divide our country.”
Victimhood + conspiracy, with a pinch of bullying (“major losers”) thrown in for flavor.
8. “They did it all because they refused to accept the results of one of the greatest presidential elections, probably number one, in our history.”
“Probably number one.”
9. “Little pencil neck Adam Schiff … got the smallest, thinnest neck I’ve ever seen. He is not a long ball hitter.”
Trump bullying at its most elemental here. Also, evidence of how much Trump equates physical size and presumed athletic ability with strength. (Sidebar: You know who was a long hitter? The Dalai Lama.)
10. “And our friends, Tucker, Sean, Laura, through the roof last night.”
So a) Trump is referring to Fox News hosts as “our friends” and b) he is intimately aware of TV ratings.
11. “Just think of it, a fake, dirty dossier, millions and millions of dollars paid for it, by who? Crooked Hillary Clinton, the DNC and the Democrat Party.”
Quick fact check: Parts of the so-called “Steele Dossier” have been confirmed by our intelligence community. And a conservative media site – the Washington Free Beacon – hired Fusion GPS to look into Trump and other candidates. Later, the DNC and Clinton campaign contracted with Fusion, work that led to the Steele dossier.
12. “Then it comes to a place called Michigan. Have you ever heard of Michigan?”
Trump asked while in, um, Michigan.
13. “And I remember leaving and I said, so [Hillary Clinton’s] got 500 people and I had 32,000 people including the people outside.”
According to contemporaneous reports, there were 4,200 people in the arena for Trump’s final rally of the 2016 campaign in Grand Rapids. That leaves a LOT of people outside…
14. “I will tell you, we have more tonight because outside we have even more than we did then.”
City officials estimated that Trump rally would attract between 10,000 and 15,000 people.
15. “She has 500 or 600 people, I have 32,000.”
16. ” We won, we won a lot. We won a lot. Well, we won 306 to 223. Would you say that’s good? I’d say it is.”
Wait, is this a rhetorical question?
17. “Red was killing – they were dying.”
Trump is talking about the colors of the map on Election Night. Because, of course.
18. “When they spy on me, whoever heard of this, they spied on me. They spied on our campaign. Who would think that’s possible?”
[narrator voice] They didn’t. Since he tweeted in March 2017 that President Barack Obama had ordered a wiretap on his phones at Trump Tower, Trump has provided zero evidence to back up that claim. And lots of government officials in a position to know have denied it.
19. “They came from the valleys. They came from the mountains. They came out of the damn rivers.”
Voters for Trump came from the rivers! I’d like to read more about this river-dweller vote!
20. “I don’t know what you were doing in the river but they came from the cities.”
21. “They came and they came and they didn’t even know these people existed.”
Who – or what – is the “they” here? How can they come an come and also not know that they existed and [brain explodes]
22. “I always say, they say the elite. They’re the elite. I’m not. Well, I have a better education than them. I’m smarter than them. I went to the best schools, they didn’t. Much more beautiful house, much more beautiful apartment, much more beautiful everything and I’m president and they’re not.”
Donald Trump’s presidency summarized: I’m the president and you’re not.
23. “I get a kick I hear, so and so, the elite and then you see this guy like this little schlepper. This is elite? I’m not elite. This is elite? We’re the elite. You’re smarter. You’re sharper. You’re more loyal. You’re a hell of a lot tougher, a hell of a lot tougher.”
Toughness is everything to Trump. Can I beat you up? If so, I am better. That’s how he sees the world. Social Darwinism. Also, who is the “little schlepper” is Trump referring to here?
24. “The Democrats have to now decide whether they will continue defrauding the public with ridiculous bullshit.”
25. “China. China. We’ve gone up. They’ve gone down but we want them to be healthy.”
Summary: US: UP. China: DOWN.
26. “China and by the way we are building that wall as you – we are building that wall. Build it.”
“I’ll take ‘stream of consciousness’ for $500, Alex.”
27. “It’s faster and it’s less expensive and it’s also much more beautiful.”
Donald Trump would like you to know the border wall is “much more beautiful” than people have said.
28. “They do anything they can – you’re a shifty shift.”
I honestly have no idea.
29. “I support the Great Lakes, always have. They’re beautiful. They’re big, very deep, record deepness.”
Many people say the Great Lakes have the best deepness. (Related: The deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal in southern Russia. The deepest lake in the United States is Crater Lake in Oregon.)
30. “Thank you Donald.”
No one loves going third person like Donald Trump likes going third person.
31. “Go get yourself a good socialist.”
Can I buy one of those at Target?
32. “We did great with women and I think we’re going to do better with women now.”
According to 2016 exit polling, Trump took 41% of the women’s vote. Hillary Clinton won 54%.
33. “You’d be doing wind, windmills. ‘Wind’. And if it doesn’t – if it doesn’t blow you can forget about television for that night. Darling I want to watch television. I’m sorry, the wind isn’t blowing. I know a lot about wind. I know a lot about wind.”
OH. MY. GOD.
34. “We passed massive tax cuts, the biggest in the history of our country.”
This sentence came DIRECTLY after Trump proclaimed “I know a lot about wind.” DIRECTLY.
35. “Democrats are pushing a cynical and destructive agenda of radicalism, resistance. Resist. Resist and revenge.”
My bet? You are going to be hearing a whole lot more of that line between now and November 2020.
36. “What do you do? It’s 160 miles, darling, where do I get a charge? Where do I get a charge, darling?”
The President of the United States on electric cars. (Sidebar: Why do the people in Trump’s imaginary conversations always refer to each other as “darling”?)
37. “It’s like I attacked so violently Pocahontas. And I knocked her out of the race I guess and I said why did I do that for? It’s too early.”
No big deal here! Just the President of the United States bragging about how he “attacked so violently” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
38. “The radical Democrats retaliated by passing a reckless resolution to terminate vital border security operations. Can you believe this?”
[narrator voice] So did the Republican-controlled Senate.
39. “They’re all met by the lawyers and they say, say the following phrase. I am very afraid for my life. I am afraid for my life. OK. And then I look at the guy, he looks like he just got out of the ring, he’s the heavyweight champion of the world. He’s afraid for his life. It’s a big fat con job, folks. It’s a big fat con job.”
According to the President of the United States, everyone claiming asylum in the United States is faking it because they are lawyered up and look like “the heavyweight champion of the world.” And, of course, if you are big, you can’t possibly be afraid for your life. So, all asylum seekers are part of a “big fat con job.”
40. “Radical Democrats are the party of high taxes, open borders, late-term abortion, crime, hoaxes and delusions. The Republican Party is the party for all Americans.”
This is another line you are going to hear a lot as the 2020 campaign gets underway in a more substantial way.
41. “And we believe in the words and always will we’re not changing it. They want us to change a lot of things. It’s not happening. Of our national motto, ‘In God We Trust’, ‘In God We Trust’.”
Always remember: Donald Trump made it OK to say “Merry Christmas” again. You’re welcome.
42. “I will never, ever stop and we are winning so big. Nobody thought it could happen.”
No one thought we could win like this. The best winning. The kind of winning that makes you bored.
43. “We will make America wealthy again and we’re doing it.”
Who’s against getting rich? Again! This feels like a good place to end.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly state the Free Beacon’s role in Fusion GPS’s research, which occurred prior to the Steele dossier.