ABC’s George Stephanopoulos tagged along with President Donald Trump for a few days this week. And the President talked – and talked – about everything from the new-look Air Force One to why he would absolutely accept information about his political opponent from a foreign power. Truly a tour de force – or something,
Below, the 13 wildest lines from what ABC has released of the interview.
1. “Well, I don’t believe those polls. There’s no way [Biden] beats me in Texas.”
These two things are, of course, not mutually exclusive. The Quinnipiac University poll showing Biden ahead of Trump in Texas can be a serious and credible poll (it is) and Trump could still be considered a favorite to carry Texas over Biden 17 months from now (he is!). Trump can’t seem to grasp that. And away we go!
2. “My polls show that I’m winning everywhere.”
Everywhere, eh? They must be really good polls!
3. “I just was given a meeting with my pollster who – I, frankly, don’t even believe in pollsters, if you want to know the truth. You just run a campaign and whatever it is, it is.”
Follow this logic: Trump just came from a meeting with his pollster but he doesn’t even believe in pollsters. So – how, why, uh, what? Also, does anyone else remember that Trump would start almost every campaign rally during the 2016 primary by going through the most recent polls where he was ahead? Yeah, me too.
4. “But I just had a meeting with somebody that’s a pollster, and I’m winning everywhere.”
OK. So, Point 1: Trump doesn’t believe in pollsters. Point 2: He just met with a pollster and he is “winning everywhere.” THIS ALL MAKES SENSE TO ME!!!!
5. “So on ‘Good Morning America’ today, they had that phony polling information. I explained to you last night that it was phony, but you didn’t do anything about it.”
A day has passed between quote four and quote five. But Trump remains VERY much Trump. So, he watched “Good Morning America” (of course, because he knew was going to be on) and disagreed with their decision to run credible and serious polling that showed him not performing well. This is a good reminder of two fundamental truths about Trump: 1) He watches A LOT of TV 2) he calls anything he doesn’t like “fake.” It has zero to do with the actual veracity of the poll or the news story.
6. “I like the truth. You know, I’m actually a very honest guy.”
7. “Not only – not only wasn’t he charged, if you read it, with all of the horrible fake news – I mean, I was reading that my son was going to go to jail – this is a good young man – that he was going to go to jail.”
It is true that Donald Trump Jr. was not charged by special counsel Robert Mueller. It is also true that Trump Jr. agreed to meet with Russians at Trump Tower in the summer of 2016 on the promise that they had “dirt’ on Hillary Clinton. It is also also true that Trump Jr. replied to an email promising dirt on Clinton with this now famous/infamous line: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
8. “I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. I don’t – you don’t call the FBI. Life doesn’t work that way.”
This is from a 2017 BuzzFeed story: “According to a 1981 FBI memo, Trump offered to ‘fully cooperate’ with the bureau, proposing that FBI agents work undercover in a casino he was considering opening in Atlantic City. FBI agents even prepared an ‘undercover proposal concerning the TRUMP casino’ that senior agents and Trump planned to discuss, according to the document.”
9. “The FBI director is wrong because, frankly, it doesn’t happen like that in life.”
Trump is saying that FBI Director Christopher Wray, who he appointed to the job, is wrong about politicians needing to report entreaties by foreign powers to the FBI. Trump, as you may know, is not in fact a law enforcement professional. Here’s what Wray said on the subject last month in testimony to Congress: “If any public official or member of any campaign is contacted by any nation state of anybody acting on behalf of a nation state about influencing or interfering with our election, then that’s something that the FBI would want to know about.”
10. “I don’t – there’s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, ‘We have information on your opponent,’ oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”
Truly stunning stuff here. What Trump, who is, reminder, the President of the United States, seems to fail to grasp is that a foreign county would almost certainly have a motive for passing along negative information about Trump’s opponent.
Think back to what we know about Russian interference in the 2016 election. They sought to interfere to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton because they thought Trump would be better for their interests. Trump’s blindness – willful or otherwise – that other countries would pass along this information as part of an attempt to manipulate an American election to produce their desired results is scary – especially when you consider that we have another national election coming in 17 months.
11. “It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.”
It is interference. There is a reason that we only let Americans vote in elections. Because Americans should be the ones who have the only say about the future leaders of America. I mean, come on. This is 7th grade civics class stuff.
12. “It’s a 747. But, you know, it’s a much bigger plane. Bigger wing span. It’s a much bigger wing span.”
Trump showed Stephanopoulos mock-ups of the new Air Force One he has ordered. As always, his focus is on everything being bigger, bigger, biggest.
13. “I could tell you, there is a couple of – there are a couple of secrets. You know what? There are a couple of secrets. I don’t think we’re supposed to be talking about that.”
Trump is talking here about the “secrets” in Air Force One he can’t talk to Stephanopoulos about. But he could be literally talking about anything. He loves a good secret – whether it exists or no.
14. “Yeah, uh, my life has always been a fight.”
Donald Trump’s father gave him a “small” loan of $1 million.
15. “And I enjoy that I guess, I don’t know if I enjoy it or not, I guess – sometimes I have false fights, like the Russian witch hunt. That’s a false fight. “
So he likes fights. Or he doesn’t. But there have definitely been some false fights. Which he likes? Or doesn’t?
16. “We had nothing to do with Russia.”
17. “Paul Manafort, they have Paul Manafort on taxes and many other things. Nothing to do with our campaign.”
Uh, this: “Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov, two Ukrainian oligarchs who had paid Paul Manafort for years for his political work in their country, were the intended recipients of the American polling data that Manafort shared with Konstantin Kilimnik during the 2016 presidential campaign, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.”
18. “What difference does polling information make? It doesn’t matter. He was maybe trying to do something for an account or something.”
Well, it is a bit odd that Trump’s campaign manager was sharing polling information with Kiliminik in hopes that it would wind up in front of two Ukrainian oligarchs, right? I mean, that doesn’t happen every day.
19. “I’ll tell you, you talk about collusion, take a look at the collusion with the Democrat party and Facebook and Google and Twitter. That’s called collusion, that’s called real collusion.”
The “real collusion,” in Trump’s mind, used to be between Clinton’s campaign and the Russians. That seems to have changed of late for Trump – as he has moved on to alleging a broad conspiracy against conservatives on social media sites. He has yet to provide any compelling evidence to back up this claim.
20. “And [Vladimir] Putin, I will say this: if he had it, it was up to him. He would much rather have Hillary Clinton be president right now.”
We know from the Mueller report that Russians interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Clinton because they believed Trump would be better for their country’s long-term interests. Also, Putin said flatly that he wanted Trump to win after the two men’s summit in Helsinki.”Yes, I did,” he said. “Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the US-Russia relationship back to normal.”
21. “But two or three years ago, if somebody comes into your office with oppo research– they call it oppo research – with information that might be good or bad or something, but good for you, bad for your opponent, you don’t call the FBI.”
What is this “oppo research” of which you speak?
22. “I would guarantee you that 90%, could be 100%, of the congressmen or the senators over there, have had meetings – if they didn’t they probably wouldn’t be elected – on negative information about their opponent.”
Trump seems either incapable or unwilling to understand the difference between negative information a campaign unearths about another candidate and taking information from a foreign power. The first is business as usual in politics. The latter is a clear attempt to influence the outcome of another country’s sovereign elections.
23. “I don’t know, I stay uninvolved. I stay totally uninvolved.”
Trump is talking about his dealing with the Justice Department and its ongoing investigations. And yes, this statement is beyond laughable.
24. “The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it, but you go and talk honestly to congressmen, they all do it, they always have. And that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.”
I don’t think he knows what the meaning of those words actually are. This feels like a good place to end.