I was so sure that, after transcripts of our dear leader’s earlier, shockingly incoherent ramblings were released, we would never again see such a thing. But yesterday, after essentially shutting out the press for days, Trump—perhaps having no TV to watch—impulsively decided to have a chitchat with the press as they all flew together to Paris. And although what turned out to be a one-hour session was initially billed as off-the-record, today, the White House inexplicably released a full transcript of the conversation.
It’s as bad as ever—revealing Trump’s unfocused, irrational, incomprehensible “thinking,” his inability to get from the beginning to the end of a single sentence, and his complete lack of understanding of any issue. It’s really hard to believe that they released this. But they did, after [Bloomberg News reports] “Trump [incredibly] asked a reporter why she hadn’t reported on what he’d said the night before,” demonstrating that he either doesn’t know what “off-the-record” means, or he doesn’t remember much about the conversation.
You can read the full transcript here. But if you can’t bear it to see every word, here are some excerpts. Buckle up. And remember, this is a transcript released by the Trump White House: It’s probably somewhat cleaned up–and yet, it is still incredibly idiotic.
Q: When were you last in Paris? When were you last in France?
So, I was asked to go by the President, who I get along with very well, despite a lot of fake news. You know, I actually have a very good relationship with all of the people at the G20. And he called me, he said, would you come, it’s Bastille Day — 100 years since World War I. And I said, that’s big deal, 100 years since World War.
Bastille Day? World War I? History emergency…
On the border wall:
This is a doozy. It sounds as if someone asked him about government transparency, and instead he answered with an argument about needing a see-through wall.
One of the things with the wall is you need transparency. You have to be able to see through it. In other words, if you can’t see through that wall — so it could be a steel wall with openings, but you have to have openings because you have to see what’s on the other side of the wall.
And I’ll give you an example. As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don’t see them — they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It’s over. As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall. But we have some incredible designs
On President Putin and Russia:
Q: Are you mad that Putin lied about the meeting that you had with him, especially about —
Trump: What meeting?
Q : At the G20, when he said that you didn’t — you know, you accepted that the hacking wasn’t real.
Trump: He didn’t say that. No. He said, I think he accepted it, but you’d have to ask him. That’s a big difference. So I said, very simply — and the first 45 minutes, don’t forget, most of the papers said I’d never bring it up. Had to be the first 20 to 25 minutes.
Remember, no one on the US side was taking notes, so there’s no official record of what transpired during that meeting–except for Rex Tillerson’s spin. It sounds as though Trump doesn’t have a very clear memory of what was discussed.
…And, by the way, I only want to make great deals with Russia. Remember this, I have built up—we’re getting $57 billion more for the military. Hillary was going to cut the military. I’m a tremendous fracker, coal, natural gas, alternate energy, wind—everything, right? But I’m going to produce much much more energy that anyone else who was ever running for office. Ever. We’re going to have clean coal, and Hillary wasn’t. Hillary was going to stop fracking. She was going to stop coal totally. Hey, in West Virginia I beat her by 42 points. Remember, she went and sat with the miners and they said get the hell out of here. So, I was going to—if Hillary got in, your energy prices right now would be double. You’d be doing no fracking. You’d be doing practically no fossil fuels.
He’s a “tremendous fracker.” Interesting way to describe oneself. He is, indeed, a huge motherfracker.
On Russian sanctions:
I saw a report and I read a report that Trump wants to take off the sanctions. I’ve made a lot of money. I’ve made great deals. That’s what I do. Why would I take sanctions off without getting anything?
Several times during the wing-side chat, Trump makes a point of saying that he has “read” reports. Yeah, right. And, of course, it all gets back, always, to Donald Trump the amazing deal-maker.
On allegations of collusion with Russia:
Trump begins with the witch hunt argument, repeats it several times, and then blames it all on Democrats. If you can understand the logic that follows, you’re a better sleuth than I am:
…It’s a witch hunt and [the Democrats} understand that. When they say “treason”—you know what treason is? That’s Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for giving the atomic bomb, okay? But what about all the congressmen, where I see the woman sitting there surrounded by—in Congress. So I think it’s a good thing When Hillary spent her ads—you know, she spent almost 100 percent of her ads on anti-Donald Trump ads. You know that. Every ad was an anti ad.
On Putin’s alleged support for Trump:
So, the next time I’m with Putin, I’m going to ask him: who were you really for? Because I can’t believe that he would have been for me. Me. Strong military, strong borders—but he cares less about the borders—but strong military, tremendous.
The release of the transcript indicates to me that Trump believes that he handled the interview well, and that he is, indeed, the best spokesperson for himself. So much for self-awareness. We need to keep reading these things, as they offer prima facie evidence of Trump’s ineptness, absence of ideas or substance, his giant ego, and his inability to move beyond his win over Hillary Clinton. This is who Trump is. There has never been, and never will be, another more presidential version. Transcripts don’t lie, and that’s why I love them.