There’s nothing President Donald Trump likes more than bantering with the media.
Witness his nearly hour-long impromptu news conference Wednesday at the White House – all while his aides stood waiting for him to board Marine One for a speech to a veterans group in Kentucky. Trump prowled up and down the line of reporters – bullying some, cajoling others and taking question after question after question.
I went through the entire transcript of Trump’s press conference and picked out the “best” lines. They’re below.
1. “But our economy is the strongest in the world, by far. Nothing even close. And a lot of good things are happening.”
Not sure how he’s measuring “strongest,” but fact check = true.
2. “I was right, and just about everybody admits that. I was right.”
Trump is talking here about the Federal Reserve but, really, he could be talking about anything in the world and he would still believe it.
3. “[Fed Chair Jerome Powell] raised interest rates too fast, too furious.”
“I live my life a quarter-mile at a time.” – Dominic Toretto/Vin Diesel
4. “Oh, I have an appetite for background checks. We’re going to be doing background checks.”
“Trump cools on background check push in recent lawmaker conversations” – CNN, August 20
5. “But there are certain weaknesses, and we want to fix the weaknesses. And I think that’ll happen. Let’s see what happens.”
Trump’s answer on whether background checks will be expanded should be in the vague answers Hall of Fame.
6. “Denmark, I looked forward to going, but I thought that the Prime Minister’s statement – that it was absurd; that it was an absurd idea – it was nasty. I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say, ‘No, we wouldn’t be interested.’”
OK, so. Trump wanted to buy Greenland, which is owned by Denmark. The Danes said no. But it was the way they said “no” that pissed Trump off. Everyone knows “absurd” is fighting words, right? RIGHT?
7. “But all they had to do is say, ‘No, we’d rather not do that,’ or ‘We’d rather not talk about it.’ Don’t say, ‘What an absurd idea that is.’”
Did someone just say “absurd”?!?!?! [Looks around for someone to fight]
8. “I want guns to be in the hands of people that are mentally stable. And those people, I want them to easily be able to get a gun. But people that are insane, people that are sick up here [points to head], I don’t want them to be able to get a gun.”
The President of the United States on guns: Sane people = good. Insane people = bad? Trump’s take on gun policy is, uh, pretty rudimentary.
9. “We’re working on background checks. There are things we can do. But we already have very serious background checks. We have strong background checks. We can close up the gaps. We can do things that are very good and things that, frankly, gun owners want to have done. But we also have to remember the gun doesn’t pull the trigger, a person does. And we have great mental illness.”
I dare you to figure out what Trump actually wants to do on guns from this word salad. And I know what he meant, but “we have great mental illness” doesn’t sound all that good.
10. “We’re looking at a lot of different things relative to Antifa. Antifa, in my opinion, is a terrorist organization. You see what they’ve been doing. We’ve had great support on that. We’re looking at various different things.”
“Great support” on what, exactly?
11. “No President has ever done anywhere close to what I’ve done between Golan Heights, Jerusalem, Iran – and other things.”
He is always the first. And the best. Especially on those all-important “other things.”
12. “No President has done what I’ve done.”
FACT CHECK: True!
13. “[Rep. Rashida Tlaib] had a plan to greatly embarrass Israel by going there with the fact that she wanted to see her grandmother. I assume that’s true. I hope that’s true. But it was very bad.”
In which Trump, as he so often does, questions whether the Democratic Michigan congresswoman was actually going to Israel to visit her grandmother without actually asserting that she wasn’t.
14. “In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people and you’re being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other than that.”
15. “I think that if you vote for a Democrat, you’re very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people.”
He never, ever backs down. No matter what. He believes it to be a sign of, wait for it, weakness.
16. “That was outsmarting Obama. So, Russia outsmarted President Obama. They took over during his term, not during mine – Crimea.”
OK, so Russia seized Crimea from the Ukraine by force. But that was really because President Barack Obama was … not smart? Huh!
17. “They were taken out because Putin outsmarted – on Crimea, on the red line, on other things – totally outsmarted Obama. Obama was upset; they took them out.”
This is a stunning rewrite of history. Russia was removed from the G8 because they annexed land controlled by another country. They were not removed from the G8 because Obama was mad that Russian President Vladimir Putin had somehow outsmarted him.
18. “The fake news, of which many of you are members, is trying to convince the public to have a recession. ‘Let’s have a recession.’”
This is obviously just Trump saying stuff. BUT: The idea that reporters are rooting for a recession, which would undoubtedly cost people their jobs in our industry and practically every other one, is patently ridiculous.
19. “This isn’t my trade war. This is a trade war that should have taken place a long time ago by a lot of other Presidents.”
“Trade wars are good, and easy to win.” – Donald Trump, March 2018
20. “Somebody had to do it. I am the chosen one. Somebody had to do it.”
21. “I was put here by people – I was put here by people to do a great job. And that’s what I’m doing. And nobody has done a job like I’ve done.”
A totally normal statement from the President of the United States!
22. “The Prime Minister used a terrible word when describing something that we’ve been talking about for years with our country.”
[narrator voice] The word was “absurd.”
23. “She shouldn’t treat the United States that way by saying, ‘What an abs-…’ She said ‘absurd.’ That’s not the right word to use: ‘absurd.’”
Look, I warned you guys about using that word! So now it’s on. [Jumps into crowd like Amir Garrett taking on the entire Pirates team]
24. “We’re building tremendous numbers of miles of wall right now in different locations. It all comes together likes a beautiful puzzle.”
As of July, 46.7 miles of the border wall had been built. So, lot of puzzle pieces still out there.
25. “This guy is the most biased reporter. NBC. You know, I made a lot of money for NBC with ‘The Apprentice’ and I used to like them, but they are the most biased.”
The person in question is NBC’s White House reporter Peter Alexander. What did he say that set Trump off? “Joe Biden’s gaffes.” Yes, that’s it.
26. “I am the least racist person ever to serve in office, OK? I am the least racist person.”
The least racist person doesn’t spend a ton of time talking about how they are the least racist person.
27. “In six years, when I’m not here, The New York Times goes out of business very quickly.”
Put a pin in this. I’ll take any and all bets of people willing to gamble that in 2025 The New York Times is out of business. Literally, set the line at five years from 2020. I will take the over on every bet.
28. “There are many, many things in play. People are talking about videos. People are talking about lots of different things. But we do have a way of bringing what we already have, because we have many, many – as you know, we have many, many people that are unable to buy guns right now. Many people are unable to buy guns.”
Trump regularly talks in circles. But when he talks about guns and the way forward on gun control(or not) he takes it to a whole other level.
29. “And you know, we can’t let that slope go so easy that we’re talking about background checks, then all of a sudden we’re talking about, ‘Let’s take everybody’s gun away.’”
This is a favorite argument of the NRA but bears very little connection to reality. Making sure everyone who buys a gun has to submit to a background check isn’t even on the same planet as the government coming to peoples’ houses and demanding they turn their guns over. Ridiculous.
30. “You approve one thing, then another thing, then another thing, then all of a sudden you’re on that slope, and all of a sudden nobody has any legal protection.”
Donald Trump on slippery slopes. Very detailed stuff here.
31. “We wiped out the caliphate, 100%. I did in record time.”
Was there a previous record for wiping out ISIS that I am unaware of? Also, this.
32. “I went to the hospitals. It was totally falsely reported. There were beautiful, beautiful, very sad, you know, horrible moments. But there were beautiful moments, in the sense that these people – the families and also the people that were so badly injured that I was with – they love our country.”
This is Trump on his hospital visit to victims of mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. Very beautiful. Also sad. And horrible. But also beautiful.
33. “So when I went to Dayton, and when I went to El Paso, and I went into those hospitals, the love for me – and me, maybe, as a representative of the country – but for me – and my love for them was unparalleled.”
So, the big takeaway from Trump’s visits to mass shooting victims was that they really loved him. Like, a lot.
34. “The doctors were coming out of the operating rooms. There were hundreds and hundreds of people all over the floor. You couldn’t even walk on it.”
So, according to the President, doctors stopped operating on patients in order to come out and meet him? OK! Very legal and very cool!
35. “I think the Fed has been very late and very early.”
36. “Plus, we’re building large sections of the wall.”
37. “It’s only in your head. It’s only anti-Semitic in your head.”
Real quote from the President of the United States.
38. “You’ll find out. …You’re going to find out.”
This was Trump’s response to a question about what the US’s reaction will be to a drone shot down in Yemen. Guess we’ll have to stay tuned until the next episode! This feels like a good place to end.