On Monday, President Donald Trump held a Cabinet meeting. And, as often happens in these meetings, he spent the first half of the gathering monologuing while taking the occasional question from the assembled reporters. His Cabinet laughed when they were supposed to laugh, but otherwise sat idly by.
I went through the transcript of Trump’s comments at the top of the Cabinet meeting. They’re below.
1. “We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.”
If you are a US ally — like the Kurds! — and you read this quote, what must you be thinking? Also, away we go!
2. “Let them fight themselves. Everyone said the Kurds would do very well.”
Who is “everyone” here? Seriously.
3. “A relationship with the Kurds is good, and they’re going to be safe.”
Again, how does he make this claim based on the circumstances on the ground in northern Syria?
4. “People have been trying to make this deal for years.”
Trump appears to be referring here to a 120-hour ceasefire that some members of the Turkish government said was not a ceasefire at all.
5. “They’re vicious and they stick together. They don’t have Mitt Romney in their midst, they don’t have people like that. They stick together.”
This has long been one of Trump’s “compliments” for Democrats — that they never break ranks. Like many of his claims, this one is easily proven false. Liberal Democrats broke repeatedly with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s oft-stated desire not to impeach the President. Moderate Democrats repeatedly voted with Republicans on procedural matters in the House. There are oodles more examples.
6. “This thing is all about a letter that was perfect.”
I believe that he means the Ukraine call, not letter here. Remember that in that call Trump a) reminds the Ukrainian President of how much the US does for his country b) tells him it’s not reciprocated and c) asks for a favor. So, yeah. Perfect.
7. “It was all about whistleblowers. You never hear — what happened to the whistleblower? They’re gone. Because they’ve been discredited.”
To be clear: There isn’t a single thing in the whistleblower complaint that has been debunked. In fact, everything that we currently know about the Ukraine call (and its aftermath) reinforces the version of events in the whistleblower complaint.
8. “Why didn’t the I.G. read the letter, read the transcript? He could have gotten it, I guess, I assume.”
The whistleblower law makes very clear that the inspector general of the intelligence community needs only to find the complaint credible in order to send along to the director of national intelligence. As the ICIG’s office noted in a release last month: “The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community determined, after conducting a preliminary review, that there were reasonable grounds to believe the urgent concern appeared credible.”
9. “The whistleblower gave a false account. Now we have to say, well, do we have to protect somebody that gave a false account?”
There is zero — REPEAT: ZERO — evidence that the whistleblower’s complaint, either in part or in whole, was false. Again, based on all public information, the whistleblower’s complaint has been bolstered, not weakened.
10. “So was there actually an informant? Maybe the informant was Schiff. It could be Shifty Schiff. In my opinion, it’s possibly Schiff.”
OK, so what the President of the United States is accusing the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee with being an informant for the whistleblower? I think? Also, the evidence for this charge is what exactly?
11. “Why didn’t he say that he met with the whistleblower? He knew all about the whistleblower. Why didn’t he say?”
Well, this isn’t true. Again. The whistleblower met with a staffer on the Intelligence Committee to go over the proper way to file a complaint. This is not unique and happens regularly. The staffer then briefed Schiff on the issues raised by the whistleblower.
12. “We may have to get in wars, too, OK? We may have to get in wars.”
OK. Got it. Good note.
13. “I have to fight off these — these lowlifes at the same time, I’m negotiating these very important things that should have been done during Obama and Bush and even before that, all right?”
The “lowlifes” Trump is referring to, I think, are House Democrats who are pursuing the possibility that he abused his office for his own personal political gain. But, yeah, why are they bothering him????
14. “Great place. Great state, Texas. Tough state. They — they’re tough.”
Uh huh. OK.
15. “It’d be much easier for me to let our soldiers be there, let them continue to die.”
The heights of empathy on display here. Bigly.
16. “There are times to fight, and there are times not to fight.”
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em/Know when to fold ’em/Know when to walk away/And know when to run.” — Kenny Rogers
17. “I give away my presidential salary. They say that no other president has done it. I’m surprised, to be honest with you.”
You should be surprised! Because this isn’t true! Both Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy gave up their presidential salaries, according to CNN’s Daniel Dale.
18. “I’m very good at real estate, very, very good; much better than you even understand.”
Wow, that is good!
19. “When you see my financials, which I’ll give at the right time, you’ll say, ‘Man, he was much better than we even thought.'”
Know why we haven’t seen just how tremendous Trump is at real estate? Because he has refused to turn over even a single year of his tax returns — the first president in the post-Watergate era to take that path.
20. “But I’m very good at real estate.”
Yes, you just said that.
21. “It’s new. It’s been totally rebuilt. It’s new. Everything’s good. It’s got massive meeting rooms, unlimited for security because it’s on, you know, hundreds of acres.”
Yes, this is the President of the United States using his political platform to promote a property he a) owns and b) profits from. NOTHING TO SEE HERE!
22. “Best location, right next to the airport, Miami International, one of the biggest airports in the world. Some people say it’s the biggest, but one of the biggest airports in the world.”
[narrator] Miami isn’t even one of the 20 biggest airports in the world.
23. “It would have been the greatest G7 ever.”
Too bad! Also, can’t wait for the less great G7!
24. “I don’t run my business. I actually put all the stuff in trusts. They run — and I didn’t have to do that, but — under no obligation to do it.”
25. “I don’t know if you know George Washington, he ran his business simultaneously while he was president.”
I mean, I don’t know Washington personally. Mainly because he died 220 years ago.
26. “Hey, Obama made a deal for a book. Is that running a business? I’m sure he didn’t even discuss it while he was president, yeah. He has a deal with Netflix. When did they start talking about that? That’s only, you know, a couple of examples.”
Obama made a Netflix deal and a book deal after he left office. So, not the same. At all. And if Trump has evidence — as he suggests — that Obama was negotiating his book deal in office, then he should provide said evidence.
27. “George Washington, they say, had two desks. He had a presidential desk and a business desk.”
You know what they said about George Washington? That he wasn’t a businessman. He was a business, man.
28. “I don’t think you people, with this phony Emoluments Clause.”
This “phony” emoluments clause is in a little document I like to call the Constitution.
29. “I would say that it’s cost me anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion to be president — and that’s OK — between what I lose and what I could have made. I would have made a fortune, if I just ran my business.”
The evidence to back up this claim? Oh, none.
30. “I was doing it really well. I have a great business, I have the best properties.”
Totally normal stuff here!
31. “Most of the stuff that I have — because now, instead of having 100% of the market that loves you and they love your brand and it’s luxury and it’s great, now you have 50% of the market.”
So, prior to running for president, Trump believes 100% of the market loved him? OK, got it!
32. “So it’s cost me between $2 billion and $5 billion. And if I had it to do again, I’d do it in an instant. Because who cares? If you could afford it, what difference does it make?”
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” — Donald Trump
33. “So whether I lost $2 billion, $5 billion, more or less, doesn’t make any difference to me. I don’t care. If you’re rich, it doesn’t matter.”
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” — Donald Trump
34. “I go into these massive basketball arenas — like in Dallas, where the Mavericks play — and fill it up and set a record. I’ve set a record almost every place I’ve been, because we just need a little small stage. “
On what is Trump basing these attendance records? Absolutely no idea.
35. “And I take less than musicians because they have bands. I don’t have a band. I set the world record for somebody without a guitar, OK? I don’t have bands, right?”
36. “And I’ve had great polls. I’ve had my best polls now.”
Current Trump job approval in Gallup weekly tracking: 39%.
37. “North Korea’s — I like him, he likes me. We get along. I respect him, he respects me.”
Donald Trump on dictator Kim Jong Un. Sure. OK.
38. “I don’t think it’ll be as exciting, and I don’t think it’ll be as good. It’ll cost the country a fortune because it’s very expensive.”
This G7 is going to be off the hook!
39. “They thought I may get some promotional value. I need promotional value so badly, right? I don’t need promotion.”
40. “I have the strongest economy in the history of our country, OK?”
41. “Would you like to stay for Larry’s remarks? Because he’s a great, great remark-maker.”