Former President Donald Trump did an extended interview with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt this week, delivering his usual rollicking performance of false claims about the 2020 election, boasts about his own political influence and ad hominem attacks against other Republicans.
I went through the transcript of the conversation and picked out the Trump lines you need to see. They’re below.
1. “Well, I don’t know if he actually canceled Christmas.”
This is Trump on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is fighting off allegations that his staff broke lockdown rules to hold a Christmas party last year. Also, Trump has zero clue about this story. And away we go!
2. “No, she was, she didn’t work for me. She was a lawyer that was representing General Flynn and some others, and she never officially, now she was on our side from the standpoint, I guess, you know, from the standpoint of what she was doing, but she didn’t work for me as per se.”
Trump is talking about lawyer Sidney Powell who 100% represented him. Here’s Rudy Giuliani on November 19: “We’re representing President Trump, and we’re representing the Trump campaign. When I finish, Sidney Powell and then Jenna Ellis will follow me…There are a lot more lawyers working on this,” he added, “but, I guess, we’re the senior lawyers.” So….
3. “You know, when I was running, 2016, Christmas was like you couldn’t say the word. I said the word. And I said we’re going to bring back Christmas, and we’re going to be saying Christmas.”
“How Donald Trump Saved Christmas” – coming to a conservative news channel near you!
4. “I look at what’s happening, and you know, this whole female athlete thing is a very big deal, too. I see that a record, a swimming record was broken by 18 seconds, another one was broken by 38 seconds, OK?”
This is part of Trump’s previous answer about Christmas. Yes, he segued from saving Christmas to a swimming record. Amazing! Trump is talking here about Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania who is smashing female swimming records this season – and has become a major topic of interest to conservative media who oppose transgender athletes competing against non-transgender rivals.
5. “So it’s a book of pictures, largely, with statements, but a book of pictures.”
The former President of the United States describing his new book. Yes, really.
6. “Even though we were surrounded by maniacs that were looking to do damage, but we had a great presidency in terms of what we, we rebuilt the military.”
A great presidency – despite the maniacs. Truly profound stuff here.
7. “We cut taxes more than, you know, the biggest tax cut in history, as you know, biggest regulation cuts in history.”
[Narrator voice] It wasn’t the biggest tax cut in history.
8. “We had some great people, and we have some great generals, but not the guys you see on television.”
So, the good generals are the ones who don’t go on TV? Remember that when Trump was asked in 2015 who he looked to for military advice as a candidate responded: “I watch the shows.”
9. “And we had an unblemished record. We got back everybody.”
Just the former President of the United States claiming that he got every American hostage back during his time in office. (He did not.)
10. “If I do decide that, I think my base is going to be very angry.”
The question was whether Trump might not run for president in 2024. Trump’s statement seems pretty damn conclusive.
11. “They all want the endorsement of Trump. You remember for years, you heard the expression an endorsement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. And then this whole thing came along, and it’s a very, it’s a very important, it’s a very important treasure.”
In which the former President of the United States refers to himself in the third person and then calls his endorsement a “very important treasure.” Very normal stuff!
12. “What happened should never be allowed, what happened, and we’re not forgetting it. And many things are going on right now, but we have to be careful. We have to be careful, because what they do, what they do is a disgrace.”
And thus begins Trump’s pushing of the big lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. What’s remarkable about what he says here is that it’s long on fear-mongering and very short on details. “Many things are going on right now…we have to be careful.” What the heck does that even mean?
13. “I’ll make my decision, and it seems that if you look at the polls, I think we’re at 96% of the Republican Party approval, 96%, which is a great honor.”
Trump was asked who, aside from himself, might make a good future leader of the party. And he immediately began talking about himself. Truly a party leader!
14. “People don’t know that, but I’ve appointed approximately 30%, some people say about 32% of the judges.”
Shouldn’t this be an exact number? Why would “some people say” 32%?
15. “I also did the three justices.”
The former President of the United States recounting his appointments of three Supreme Court Justices. What a way with words!
16. “And Biden comes in, his son got $3.5 million dollars from the wife of the mayor of Moscow.”
17. “There was nobody tougher on Russia than me, nobody.”
This, it will shock you, is not true.
18. “So Jimmy Carter did the Olympic thing, and it didn’t work out.”
The “Olympic thing” is Carter’s decision that the US boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. You know, the Olympic thing.
19. “And a lot of people think they did it so that I would lose the election, but I got 12 million more votes than I got the first time.”
This is a new one for me: Trump is alleging that China’s president, Xi Jinping, let the Covid-19 virus spread so that he would lose the election. Which, wow, that is some three-dimensional chess right there. Also, there is zero evidence to back up this claim.
20. “You know, I was told if you get 63 million, which I got in 2016, you get 63 million votes, you win. I got 75 million votes. I got 12 million more, more than any other sitting president ever by far, not even close.”
So much of Trump’s election fraud argument is built around the idea that he got more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016 but lost. But, like, sometimes that happens? Turnout goes up – especially after four years of a president who aggressively sought to dismantle virtually every norm in this country?
21. “But I got 12 million more, a record, and lost. And a lot of people think that if he did it, he did it for that reason, because of the tariffs and other things.”
So now “a lot of people” think that Xi let Covid-19 run rampant to hurt Trump? Who are these people? And are they named “Tonald Drump”?
22. “Well, I think there’s a theory out there. That’s certainly one of many theories, because I was doing very well against China.”
Hewitt, intrigued by Trump’s suggestion about Xi and the virus, follows up with a direct question: “Are you saying that President, General-Secretary Xi may have unleashed the virus, or at least allowed it to spread recklessly because he wanted you to lose?” To which Trump responds that “there’s a theory out there.” This is the height of irresponsibility – but you don’t need me to tell you that because, well, your brain works.
23. “The ones I didn’t get along with were the weak ones. The weak ones, I didn’t get along with. The tough ones, I got along with.”
This Trump riff on world leaders is so telling. He repeatedly boasted during his presidency about having strong relationships with authoritarian rulers around the world while casting off longtime American allies. They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps.
24. “I know a lot of tough people that are stupid.”
You don’t say…
25. “I know a lot of stupid people that frankly are very tough. Those are the most dangerous, actually.”
Yes, yes they are.
26. “It’s at least, the Wharton School of Finance where I went, very smart people, they came out, they said it’s close to $5 trillion dollars, and I think they’re low.”
“I started the main Frisbee golf club at Cornell. Where I went to college.” – Andy “Nard Dog” Bernard
27. “This is just crazy that they got 19 Republican senators to vote for the unfrastructure bill?”
Yes, he really called it the “unfrastructure” bill.
28. “Our country has never been so disrespected as it is right now. It’s a laughing stock all over the world.”
USA! USA! Yeah, this feels like a good place to end.