Aaron Blake at the Post does another annotated transcript, this time of the interview Trump did yesterday with ABC News, his first interview from Inside The House. It is, of course, astonishing. I saw a few clips of it last night, and was duly astonished.
This is one choice bit:
DAVID MUIR: Let me just ask you, you did win. You’re the president. You’re sitting …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s true.
DAVID MUIR: … across from me right now.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s true.
DAVID MUIR: Do you think that your words matter more now?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, very much.
DAVID MUIR: Do you think that that talking about millions of illegal votes is dangerous to this country without presenting the evidence?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, not at all.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Not at all because many people feel the same way that I do. And …
DAVID MUIR: You don’t think it undermines your credibility if there’s no evidence?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, not at all because they didn’t come to me. Believe me. Those were Hillary votes. And if you look at it they all voted for Hillary. They all voted for Hillary. They didn’t vote for me. I don’t believe I got one.
Emphasis added. You think it’s dangerous to announce made-up “facts” now that you’re in the boss job? No, not at all. NO, NOT AT ALL.
This is one of the snippets I saw last night:
DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, I just have one more question on this. And it’s — it’s bigger picture. You took some heat after your visit to the CIA in front of that hallowed wall, 117 stars — of those lost at the CIA. You talked about other things. But you also talked about crowd size at the inauguration, about the size of your rallies, about covers on Time magazine. And I just wanna ask you when does all of that matter just a little less? When do you let it roll off your back now that you’re the president?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay, so I’m glad you asked. So, I went to the CIA, my first step. I have great respect for the people in intelligence and CIA. I’m — I don’t have a lot of respect for, in particular one of the leaders. But that’s okay. But I have a lot of respect for the people in the CIA.
That speech was a home run. That speech, if you look at Fox, okay, I’ll mention you — we see what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches. They showed the people applauding and screaming and — and they were all CIA. There was — somebody was asking Sean — “Well, were they Trump people that were put–” we don’t have Trump people. They were CIA people.
That location was given to me. Mike Pence went up before me, paid great homage to the wall. I then went up, paid great homage to the wall. I then spoke to the crowd. I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl and they said it was equal.
I laughed. I admit it. I howled with laughter. Look, we’re doomed, so we might as well get some laughs out of it.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: People loved it. They loved it. They gave me a standing ovation for a long period of time. They never even sat down, most of them, during the speech. There was love in the room.You and other networks covered it very inaccurately. I hate to say this to you and you probably won’t put it on but turn on Fox and see how it was covered. And see how people respond to that speech.
That speech was a good speech. And you and a couple of other networks tried to downplay that speech. And it was very, very unfortunate that you did. The people of the CIA loved the speech. If I was going to take a vote in that room, there were, like, 300, 350 people, over 1,000 wanted to be there but they couldn’t. They were all CIA people. I would say I would’ve gotten 350 to nothing in that room. That’s what the vote would’ve been. That speech was a big hit, a big success — success. And then I came back and I watched you on television and a couple of others.
DAVID MUIR: Not me personally.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And they tried to demean. Excuse me?
DAVID MUIR: Not me personally.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Not you personally but your network — and they tried to demean the speech. And I know when things are good or bad. A poll just came out on my inauguration speech which was extraordinary that people loved it. Loved and liked. And it was an extraordinary poll.
DAVID MUIR: I guess that’s what I’m getting at. You talked about the poll, the people loving your inaugural speech and the size of your …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, because you bring it up.
DAVID MUIR: I’m asking, well, on day one you …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, you just brought it up. I didn’t bring it up. I didn’t wanna — talk about the inauguration speech. But I think I did a very good job and people really liked it. You saw the poll. Just came out this morning. You bring it up. I didn’t bring it up.
Except at the CIA. And on Twitter. And all those other places.
Then Trump does a neat little bit of jiu-jitsu, by identifying the size of the crowd with the scorned masses.
DAVID MUIR: See, I — I’m not interested in the inaugural crowd size. I think the American people can look at images side by side and decide for themselves. I am curious about the first full day here at the White House, choosing to send the press secretary out into the briefing room, summoning reporters to talk about the inaugural crowd size. Does that send a message to the American people that that’s — that’s more important than some of the very pressing issues?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Part of my whole victory was that the men and women of this country who have been forgotten will never be forgotten again. Part of that is when they try and demean me unfairly ’cause we had a massive crowd of people. We had a crowd — I looked over that sea of people and I said to myself, “Wow.”
And I’ve seen crowds before. Big, big crowds. That was some crowd. When I looked at the numbers that happened to come in from all of the various sources, we had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches. I said the men and women that I was talking to who came out and voted will never be forgotten again. Therefore I won’t allow you or other people like you to demean that crowd and to demean the people that came to Washington, D.C., from faraway places because they like me. But more importantly they like what I’m saying.
DAVID MUIR: I just wanna say I didn’t demean anyone who was in that crowd. We did coverage for hours …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I think you’re demeaning by talking the way you’re talking. I think you’re demeaning. And that’s why I think a lot of people turned on you and turned on a lot of other people. And that’s why you have a 17 percent approval rating, which is pretty bad.
That’s the ticket! It’s the pesky latte-drinking media people who are the exploiters, and Trump the billionaire working stiff who is the defender of those honest flyover people who drink only Bud Light.
Another snippet I heard last night – this one did not make me laugh.
DAVID MUIR: Mr. Trump, let’s talk about many of the things that have happened this week. Chicago. Last night you tweeted about the murder rate in Chicago saying, “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible carnage going on I will send in the feds.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.
DAVID MUIR: You will send in the feds? What do you mean by that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s carnage. You know, in my speech I got tremendous — from certain people the word carnage. It is carnage. It’s horrible carnage. This is Afghanistan — is not like what’s happening in Chicago. People are being shot left and right. Thousands of people over a period — over a short period of time.
This year, which has just started, is worse than last year, which was a catastrophe. They’re not doing the job. Now if they want help, I would love to help them. I will send in what we have to send in. Maybe they’re not gonna have to be so politically correct. Maybe they’re being overly political correct. Maybe there’s something going on. But you can’t have those killings going on in Chicago. Chicago is like a war zone. Chicago is worse than some of the people that you report in some of the places that you report about every night …
“Politically correct.” He’s calling the rules and restrictions that govern how law enforcement goes about its job “politically correct.” So it’s “politically correct” to say cops should not shoot people out of hand? It’s “politically correct” to insist that there are and must be limits on what kind of force cops use under what circumstances? It should just be “whatever you feel like in the moment because hey do it to them before they do it to you”?
Stupid question. Of course it is.