On Tuesday, amid a swing through the United Kingdom to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, President Donald Trump sat down for an interview with Piers Morgan. The two know one another from their reality TV days; Trump hosted “The Apprentice” and Morgan won it. Trump went on to be President. Morgan went on to be one of the co-hosts of “Good Morning Britain.”
The two men are friendly – and the interview, generally speaking, showed that. I went through the transcript – helpfully provided by CNN’s Savannah Behrmann and the one and only Betsy Klein! – and picked out the most noteworthy lines. They’re below.
1. “I decided to do it and I won.”
Trump on the presidency. Fact check: True! And away we go!
2. “I did not know that she said anything bad about me, sounds like she did, but it’s OK. Hey, join the crowd, right? You heard about that too with yourself but it seems that she had and they said some of the things that she said and it’s actually on tape.”
This is the President of the United States talking about Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, talking bad about him in an interview before she was royalty, on comedian Larry Wilmore’s show. Also, what an incredible word salad. Truly delicious!
3. “And I said: ‘Well, I didn’t know she was nasty.’ I wasn’t referring to she’s nasty. I said she was nasty about me.”
This feels like a distinction without a difference. Informed of Markle’s past comments about him by The Sun over the weekend, Trump said this: “I didn’t know that. What can I say? I didn’t know that she was nasty.” What Trump is trying to say is that he meant what Markle said about him was “nasty” but that she herself wasn’t (or isn’t) “nasty.” Got it? That’s one of us.
4. “I think [Markle’s] very nice. Honestly I don’t know her, so I have to be honest I don’t know her.”
“I care desperately about what I do. 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
5. “We were talking about nasty, she was nasty to me, that’s OK for her to be nasty, it’s not good for me to be nasty and I wasn’t.”
Well, I’m satisfied!
6. “When you see that transcript and you see, it’s the exact opposite of what they said. Did you look at the transcript?”
I did! Here, again, is what Trump said about Markle: “I didn’t know that. What can I say? I didn’t know that she was nasty.” Again, you can say that Trump meant that Markle had said something nasty about him not that she herself was nasty. But, there’s no debate he used the word in reference to her.
7. “And he is really into climate change and that is great. I mean I want that. I like that.”
Prince Charles: “Really” into climate change. Very cool and very legal!
8. “I did mention a couple of things, well United States right now has amongst the cleanest climate there are based on all statistics.”
This is not true. According to something called the Environmental Performance Index, the US actually ranks 27th in environmental quality.
9. “If you go to certain cities, you can’t even breathe. And that air is going up, so in terms of a planet, we are talking about a very small distance between China, and US and other countries.”
Air going up. So true!
10. “I believe that there is a change in weather and I think it changes both ways.”
Trump has, you’ll remember, previously said that global warming was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” And he’s long voiced his skepticism that the planet is in the midst of a warming pattern without historical precedent. NASA and NOAA – and almost every climate scientist in the world – would disagree with that assessment.
11. “I think I was yeah, we had a great conversation and it was about you would call it climate change but yeah I think we had a very very good conversation.”
This was Trump’s answer when Morgan asked him whether “you were able to give Prince Charles any comfort that you as the United States President take him seriously” on climate change. You may notice something interesting about this answer: It isn’t an answer at all! At least not to the question Morgan asked.
12. “He doesn’t have to worry about future generations in theory. Unless he is a very good person, who cares about people.”
So, the man who is the king-of-England-in-waiting doesn’t need to worry about future generations but does anyway because he is a good person? OK! Got it!
13. “I know so much about nuclear weapons. Don’t forget I’m the one who gets trained and has to study this.”
[nods head slowly]
14. “In London you have stabbings all over. I read an article where everybody’s being stabbed. They said your hospital is a sea of blood all over the floors.”
Totally responsible rhetoric here from the President of the United States! Very normal! (Side note: I couldn’t find the article Trump read that said “everybody’s being stabbed.”)
15. “If there was a gun on the other side – if one or two or three of those people had a gun, it would have never happened.”
Trump is talking specifically here about the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 that left 130 people dead. But he has long trumpeted this “the only solution for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” line. Also, studies suggest Trump’s contention is inaccurate.
16. “Well what are you going to do? You’re going to take the guns away from hunters? You have hunters that want guns.”
Trump’s response to Morgan citing stats about the number of gun crimes in the United States is to go to an extreme that very few people even discuss. This is how he argues: From the extremes inward.
17. “I have all the cards.”
Offered without comment.
18. “No that would be a big upset if he was. That would be a big surprise to a lot of people.”
Morgan asked Trump if Joe Biden was Winston Churchill. Yes, that would be a “big upset,” because of reincarnation – among other things.
19. “These are crazy people.”
Donald Trump on the 2020 Democratic field. Good times!
20. “Well I was never a fan of that war, I’ll be honest with you. I thought it was a terrible war, I thought it was very far away, nobody ever… you know you’re talking about Vietnam and at that time, nobody had ever heard of the country.”
Just to reset: This is the American President talking about the war in Vietnam. So, this happened.
21. “I would not have minded that at all, I would have been honored, but I think I make up for that right now.”
A few things here: a) Trump didn’t serve in Vietnam because he got five deferments – including one for bone spurs. When asked later which foot he had the bone spurs in, Trump couldn’t recall b) Trump is saying that his being President is a make-good for not serving in Vietnam.
22. “Look, he is a great gentleman I would certainly like to see similarities.”
Donald Trump on whether he sees himself in the mold of Winston Churchill. Yup.
23. “He was going through countries like cheese.”
A take on Adolf Hitler by the President of the United States.
24. “I never like to have heroes. I like to respect people. But certainly [Churchill] would be right up there. He would be somebody that you would most respect, he would certainly be a hero.”
“I wasn’t like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere’s a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who’s a hero. The music he’s created over the years, I don’t really listen to it, but the fact that he’s making it, I respect that.” – Hansel
25. “I actually think it’s a lot better than people would think.”
Donald Trump on his “bedside manner.” Sure.
26. “Your next – as I was saying to the Queen last night, the choice of your next Prime Minister is a very important choice.”
27. “You know, you hear so much about different battles. Not to mention any because they’re all important.”
So many different battles. So much importance.
28. “No, I don’t attack [McCain].”
“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” – Donald Trump on John McCain, 2015
29. “So, I’m not attacking him at all. I don’t think about him.”
AHAAAAAHHAAHHAHAHA. Oh wait, he’s serious.
30. “Here’s the thing. I’m not even sure – first of all, I didn’t know anything about it, but I’m not even sure it happened.”
Trump is talking here about the request made by someone in the White House military office to have the USS John S. McCain moved out of the President’s sight during his recent visit to Japan. He’s “not even sure it happened” which is weird because the Navy released a statement over the weekend saying this: “A request was made to the US Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration during the President’s visit.”
31. “I don’t talk about John McCain unless somebody asks me about him.”
Yeah, this feels like a good place to end.