President Donald Trump went full Sarah Palin today at his press conference. It was glorious. I think you have to watch it to really get the full effect, but here are a few highlights.
First off, the word of the day is mess:
To be honest, I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home and abroad, a mess…I just want to let you know, I inherited a mess…ISIS has spread like cancer—another mess I inherited…And you look at Schumer and the mess that he’s got over there and they have nothing going.
Fact-check: Delusional. Trump inherited an economy in pretty good shape. Crime has steadily decreased over the past decade. ISIS is losing ground and close to defeat. Illegal immigration has been stable for many years. Test scores for schoolkids are up. Fewer than a dozen American soldiers have died in combat in the past year. Obamacare has cut the number of people without health insurance almost in half. The budget deficit is down to 3 percent of GDP. After years of stagnation, wages are finally starting to go up. Unemployment and inflation are both low.
I put it out before the American people, got 306 electoral college votes…270 which you need, that was laughable. We got 306 because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before so that’s the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.
Fact-check: Also delusionial. He got 304 electoral votes, and Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, and Obama all did better.
We’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare…I know you can say, oh, Obamacare. I mean, they fill up our rallies with people that you wonder how they get there, but they are not the Republican people our representatives are representing.
Fact-check: Plausible! Trump and the Republicans in Congress probably do think they represent only Republicans.
The leaks are real. You’re the one that wrote about them and reported them, I mean the leaks are real. You know what they said, you saw it and the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.
If the information coming from those leaks is real, then how can the stories be fake?
The reporting is fake. Look, look…You know what it is? Here’s the thing. The public isn’t—you know, they read newspapers, they see television, they watch. They don’t know if it’s true or false because they’re not involved. I’m involved. I’ve been involved with this stuff all my life. But I’m involved. So I know when you’re telling the truth or when you’re not. I just see many, many untruthful things.
Fact-check: True. Trump almost certainly does see many, many untruthful things.
I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred. I don’t watch it any more…Well, you look at your show that goes on at 10 o’clock in the evening. You just take a look at that show. That is a constant hit…Now, I will say this. I watch it. I see it. I’m amazed by it.
Fact-check: Schrödinger’s cat. Trump both watches and doesn’t watch CNN.
We had Hillary Clinton try and do a reset. We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20 percent of the uranium in our country. You know what uranium is, right? This thing called nuclear weapons, like lots of things, are done with uranium, including some bad things.
Fact-check: Half true. No, Hillary Clinton didn’t give Russia any uranium. (She was one of many who approved a deal for the Russian atomic energy agency to buy a Canadian company that controls 20 percent of the US uranium reserves. But none of it can exported outside the United States.) However, it is true that bad things can be done with uranium.
QUESTION: Let’s talk about some serious issues that have come up in the last week that you have had to deal with as president of the United States. You mentioned the vessel—the spy vessel off the coast of the United States.
TRUMP: Not good.
QUESTION: There was a ballistic missile test that many interpret as a violation of an agreement between the two countries; and a Russian plane buzzed a U.S. destroyer.
TRUMP: Not good.
…QUESTION: So when you say they’re not good, do you mean that they are…
TRUMP: Who did I say is not good?
QUESTION: No, I read off the three things that have recently happened. Each one of them you said they’re not good.
TRUMP: No, it’s not good, but they happened.
QUESTION: But do they damage the relationship? Do they undermine…
TRUMP: They all happened recently.
Fact-check: True. These are all things that happened recently.
JAKE TURX, A REPORTER FOR A SMALL ULTRA-ORTHODOX JEWISH PUBLICATION: Despite what some of my colleagues may have been reporting, I haven’t seen anybody in my community accuse either yourself or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. We understand that you have Jewish grandchildren. You are their zaidy. However, what we are concerned about, and what we haven’t really heard being addressed, is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it… There has been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people who are committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to…
TRUMP: He said he was gonna ask a very simple, easy question. And it’s not, its not, not—not a simple question, not a fair question. OK sit down, I understand the rest of your question.
So here’s the story, folks. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person…See, he lied about—he was gonna get up and ask a very straight, simple question, so you know, welcome to the world of the media. But let me just tell you something, that I hate the charge, I find it repulsive.
I hate even the question because people that know me and you heard the prime minister, you heard Ben Netanyahu yesterday, did you hear him, Bibi? He said, I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time and then he said, forget it. So you should take that instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that.
Fact-check: Incoherent. Turx explicitly tried to assure Trump that nobody thought he was anti-Semitic, but Trump’s skin is so thin that he immediately decided Turx was calling him a racist and an anti-Semite. I wonder why?
By the way, the entire point of this press conference seemed to be directed at one thing: accusing the press of being horrible and dishonest. This came up in nearly every Trump answer. This is a great strategy for shoring up his base, of course. As near as I can tell, conservatives all thought this dumpster fire of a press conference was a terrific performance.