You know, there are a lot of things

On the plane over to Paris Trump talked to the reporters. They thought it was off the record until the White House asked why they hadn’t reported it. The Times shares the White House transcript along with some bits the White House left out.

Q When were you last in Paris? When were you last in France?

THE PRESIDENT: 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 I. SO we’re going to go, I think we’re going to have a great time, and we’re going to do something good. And he’s doing a good job. He’s doing a good job as President.

I wonder if he thinks “Bastille Day” is French for 100 years since World War I.

How about that China place, huh?

A big thing we have with China was, if they could help us with North Korea, that would be great. They have pressures that are tough pressures, and I understand. And you know, don’t forget, China, over the many years, has been at war with Korea — you know, wars with Korea. It’s not like, oh, gee, you just do whatever we say. They’ve had numerous wars with Korea.

They have an 8,000 year culture. So when they see 1776 — to them, that’s like a modern building. The White House was started — was essentially built in 1799. To us, that’s really old. To them, that’s like a super modern building, right? So, you know, they’ve had tremendous conflict over many, many centuries with Korea. So it’s not just like, you do this. But we’re going to find out what happens.

Apparently Trump has only just learned that some countries in the world are more than 200 years old.

Well, yeah, when I say reciprocal — you make reciprocal deals, you’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. But before I did that, I wanted to give it a good shot. Let’s see. And they helped us. I have a very good relationship with him. I think he’s a tremendous guy. But don’t forget. He’s for China. I’m for the U.S. So that’s always going to be.

So he could be a tremendous guy, but he’s going to do what’s good for China. And he doesn’t want 50 million people pouring across his border. You know, there are a lot of things. I understand the other side. You always have to understand the other side.

He’s doing an awesome job of understanding the other side, by belatedly grasping the fact that other heads of state don’t put America First. It’s awkward that he thinks no one else knew that either, but whatever.

They ask if he was joking about a solar wall.

No, not joking, no. There is a chance that we can do a solar wall. We have major companies looking at that. Look, there’s no better place for solar than the Mexico border — the southern border. And there is a very good chance we can do a solar wall, which would actually look good. But there is a very good chance we could do a solar 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.

Ohhh, that’s what they think “transparency” means. Well no wonder then.

Q Are you mad that Putin lied about the meeting that you had with him, especially about —

THE PRESIDENT: What meeting?

Q At the G20, when he said that you didn’t — you know, you accepted that the hacking wasn’t real.

THE PRESIDENT: 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.

And I said to him, were you involved with the meddling in the election? He said, absolutely not. I was not involved. He was very strong on it. I then said to him again, in a totally different way, were you involved with the meddling. He said, I was not — absolutely not.

He said it in a totally different way. I long to know how it was different. Standing on his head, yodeling, rhyming couplets? I want to know.

I also wouldn’t mind knowing how he manages to think Putin’s denials are genuine while the Times, the Post, and CNN are all fake.

They wanted to know how it was different too.

Q Do you remember what the different way was that you asked —

THE PRESIDENT: Somebody said later to me, which was interesting. Said, let me tell you, if they were involved, you wouldn’t have found out about it. Okay, which is a very interesting point.

Q But did you say, okay, I believe you, let’s move on?

THE PRESIDENT: What I said, I asked him, were you involved? He said, very strongly — said to him a second time — totally different — were you involved? Because we can’t let that happen. And I mean whether it’s Russia or anybody else, we can’t let there be even a scintilla of doubt when it comes to an election. I mean, I’m very strong on that.

And I’m not saying it wasn’t Russia. What I’m saying is that we have to protect ourselves no matter who it is. You know, China is very good at this. I hate to say it, North Korea is very good at this. Look what they did to Sony Studios. They were the ones that did the whole deal to Sony. You know, we’re dealing with highly sophisticated people.

So, China is very good. You have many countries. And you have many individuals that are very good at this. But we can’t have — and I did say, we can’t have a scintilla of doubt as our elections and going forward.

Q Have you told him that?

THE PRESIDENT: I told him. I said, look, we can’t — we can’t have — now, he said absolutely not twice. What do you do? End up in a fistfight with somebody, okay?

He’d make one hell of a prosecutor.

Then he says he has a great relationship with everyone in the G20, which of course is nonsense.

Then he says yes he would invite Putin to the White House, because it would be stupid not to.

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 than 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.

So Putin, everything I do is the exact opposite. I don’t believe — in fact, the one question that I didn’t ask him that I wish I did — but we had so many other things going, and really the ceasefire was a very complicated talk, it was a very important talk to me because I wanted to see if we could start a ceasefire.

Later he explains about the witch hunt.

What pressure? I didn’t — I did nothing. Hey, now it’s shown there’s no collusion, there’s no obstruction, there’s no nothing. Honestly, the whole thing, it is really a media witch hunt. It’s been a media witch hunt. And it’s bad for the country. You know, when you talk about Russia, if Russia actually did whatever they want to do, they got to be laughing, because look at what happens — how much time. . . .

They feel it’s a witch hunt, the people. There are a lot of people. And those people vote. They don’t stay home because it’s drizzling. We proved that. But every single party chairman said that my base is substantially stronger than it was in November. That’s a big compliment. That’s a big compliment. And I feel it.

And I think what’s happening is, as usual, the Democrats have played their card too hard on the Russia thing, because people aren’t believing it. It’s a witch hunt and they 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.

Happy Bastille Day.

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