On Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump sat down with radio hosts Clay Travis and Buck Sexton for an extended interview. He talked 2024, Russia and, well, just about everything else.
I went through the transcript and pulled out the lines from the former President that you need to see. They’re below.
1. “Politically, I guess, you see the polls, and the polls for me have never been higher.”
The question Trump was asked was, “How are you doing?” And away we go!
2. “The polls have been extraordinary: 96% approval rating — and saw one this morning, 98%, but 96% approval rating — in the Republican Party and doing well with independents, doing well with women, doing well with everybody.”
I can’t find any recent poll where Trump’s approval rating is at 96% among Republicans. That shouldn’t surprise you though. He has been saying his approval rating is 96% – without any actual polling to back it up – for years now.
3. “I think that has a lot to do with what’s going on in Ukraine. You look at inflation. You look at all of the different things that are happening so bad for our country. The border. Who could forget the border? Millions of people, not two million or one million, like they say.”
This is unedited. He actually said these six sentences one right after another.
4. “Many of these people come from prisons. They’re being let out.”
I searched and searched for even a single news story that claimed that other countries were releasing their prisoners so they could come into the United States. I found none.
5. “But many of these countries are emptying their prisons like we’re a dumping ground right into our country. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Again, there is zero evidence for this claim.
6. “You can take the five worst presidents in the history of our country and put them together; I don’t think they’ve done the damage that this administration has done.”
So, um, about the five worst presidents … well, the thing is … this is awkward …
7. “Well, what went wrong was a rigged election and what went wrong is a candidate that shouldn’t be there and a man that has no concept of what he’s doing.”
Trump was asked what went wrong with Russia and Ukraine. His answer was that the 2020 US election was stolen. Which, uh, what?
8. “I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful.”
Surely Trump isn’t suggesting Russia’s claim that parts of Ukraine are now their own countries is “genius,” right? RIGHT?!!
9. “So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper.”
Oh, so he was serious. This is the former president of the United States praising an authoritarian ruler as “smart.” It’s hard for me to be shocked by anything Trump does at this point, but this statement is truly shocking.
10. “We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen.”
Russia is massing troops at the eastern and northern borders of Ukraine. And Trump is suggesting America should do the same at our southern border. So … [head explodes].
11. “Here’s a guy who’s very savvy. … I know him very well. Very, very well.”
Again, this is the former President of the United States praising Russian President Vladimir Putin. It’s absolutely nuts – and deeply irresponsible.
12. “Here’s a guy that says, you know, ‘I’m gonna declare a big portion of Ukraine independent’ – he used the word ‘independent’ – ‘and we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace.’ You gotta say that’s pretty savvy.”
Just heaping praise on potentially the biggest provocation in Europe since World War II … no biggie.
13. “Well, I’d rather see them send soldiers to our southern border. I’d rather see them … In three weeks, you could finish it.”
This is Trump suggesting, again, that the Biden administration should militarize our southern border.
14. “I knew Putin very well. I got along with him great. He liked me. I liked him. I mean, you know, he’s a tough cookie, got a lot of the great charm and a lot of pride.”
He really can’t say enough nice things about Putin.
15. “I think he sees this opportunity. I knew that he always wanted Ukraine. I used to talk to him about it. I said, ‘You can’t do it. You’re not gonna do it.’ But I could see that he wanted it.”
“But I could see that he wanted it.”
16. “I think nobody probably knows him better in terms of the discussions that we have or that we’re having this morning. So, I knew him very well.”
So, no one in the world knows Putin better than Trump? Whatever you say, man.
17. “So, when we heard about this, nobody knew anything about it. Nobody had any idea – other than I said very early on it came, obviously it came from the Wuhan lab, and I took a lot of heat.”
A report from the Director of National Intelligence made clear that sources are divided as to whether the virus originated in a market near Wuhan, China or in a lab.
18. “You know, when you see body bags lying all over the place around the Wuhan lab, it’s not that hard a guess, a guesstimate.”
Trump has made this claim before. And, no, there’s no actual evidence to back that up.
19. “So, I heard about it, and we really mobilized fast, and we made a lot of great decisions.”
Here’s Trump in January 2020: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
20. “Fauci wasn’t a big player in my administration because I made the decisions.”
Yeah, this makes sense. You definitely don’t want a highly respected doctor making decisions during the heart of a pandemic.
21. “It’s a very complicated machine — more complicated, believe it or not, than building a car.”
Ventilators: “A very complicated machine.”
22. “Now we have so many masks we don’t know what to do with them, and now you’re finding out the masks don’t work that well.”
From the CDC: “Masking is a critical public health tool for preventing spread of COVID-19, and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask.”
23. “But there’s so many things that we did that were so good.”
Trump’s summation of his handling of Covid-19: There were so many things that we did that were so good.”
24. “And everybody wanted the vaccine. And once I was out, all the sudden people didn’t want it.”
This is false. There was a massive surge of vaccination in the first few months of President Joe Biden’s term.
25. “So, but with the more serious, the kids, there was a certain state that lost many people. But, of the many people, thousands of people, but of the thousands of people, nobody, not one person was under the age of 16 or 17.”
I literally have no idea.
26. “We didn’t even know what this thing was, don’t forget. Nobody had any idea what this was. We were saying, what is it? So, I think we did a great job.”
The idea that the US has no idea what Covid-19 was is a drastic rewriting of history. Trump spent months downplaying the virus, yes. But that’s very different than not knowing what it was and how much of a threat it was to our country.
27. “I do support it, and I have great respect for them and basically their freedoms were being taken away with the mandates and other things that they were talking about very fairly.”
This is the former President on the trucker blockade in Canada aimed at protesting Covid-19 vaccine mandates. It’s good to know that “they were talking about it very fairly.”
28. “But Canada is very unhappy, and Mexico is very unhappy. You know, in a way, that makes me feel good. In another way, I’d like them to be happy.”
“And in a way, you’re both winners. … But in another, more accurate way, Barney is the winner.”
29. “I hope he does great for the country. I think it’s too late because I don’t think he can do great for the country.”
So, Trump hopes Biden “does great” for the country. But also, it’s too late for him to do great for the country. Yeah, this all checks out.
30. “There’s been so much damage done that I think if he turned out to be George Washington and Abraham Lincoln combined, I think the net result is so bad, I just don’t think he can do it.”
If Joe Biden turned out to be Washington and Lincoln reincarnated, I feel like we’d have a lot more to discuss than just how he is doing as president.
31. “I don’t think he’s going to run, or I don’t think he’s — you know, he could run and maybe somebody would run against him, and that’s very rare, that something like that would happen. She doesn’t seem to be very popular in the polls. You know, there was the polls of me against him, and I’m leading by a lot.”
In the course of just three sentences, Trump says: a) Biden isn’t going to run b) someone could primary him c) Vice President Kamala Harris isn’t very popular and d) he is beating Biden badly in all the polls. Amazing. What a journey.
32. “Usually, you choose somebody that starts off at one and ends up at 15 or 20, you know, going like a rocket ship up. … So I think she’s gonna certainly put a play in.”
Yes, waiter, I’ll have the word salad please.
33. “When her shoes fell off, when she couldn’t lift her foot up in, she couldn’t walk, she kept falling down going into the airplanes.”
Trump is talking about Hillary Clinton here although it’s not at all clear what, specifically, he is talking about. My best guess is he’s referring to when Clinton stumbled at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in September 2016.
34. “I will say, though, The Washington Post sort of apologized for their coverage. The Times didn’t.”
Neither The Washington Post nor The New York Times has “apologized” for their coverage of Trump. But you already knew that.
35. “So, I think you’ll be happy. … Campaign finance laws, so you can’t talk about this stuff, so I won’t. But I think you’ll be happy. I really believe you’ll be happy.”
What Trump is effectively saying here is that, yes, he is probably running for president again, but doesn’t want to announce it just yet and run afoul of campaign finance laws. So, there’s that.
36. “Twitter is boring as hell now.”
The former President of the United States, ladies and gentlemen!
37. “They want to get a name, right? You know, they want a name, like ‘tweet.’ Okay, tweet. They’d like it to be five letters. So they always have an X. You know, put an X in front because – so they gone through all these crazy names that nobody…”
He’s talking about the naming process of his new social media site Truth Social. I think…
38. “Their minds are blowing because Trump has the name ‘truth.’ So there’s five letters, and what’s better than ‘truth?’
39. “We’re gonna come back, we’re gonna come back strong, we’ll be bigger and better and stronger than ever before. Something’s gonna happen.”
“Something’s gonna happen.” – Trump
40. “I think he’s coming back because I watched the way he … You know, everyone said he was retiring, but he didn’t sort of say that. I think he might come back and, if you look at statistics, he was leading virtually every category.”
Trump thinks Tom Brady is going to come out of retirement! Yeah, this feels like a good place to end.