President Donald Trump had a ~wild~ time with members of the media on Thursday afternoon at the White House. The conference’s original purpose was to announce his new choice for labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, one day after Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination. But that topic of conversation lasted about a minute, before Trump turned his attention on the “out of control” media, the “chaos” he apparently inherited as president, and the many campaign promises he plans to keep. He also bragged about his electoral college win — while making a false claim about his margin of victory.
“I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan,” he said.
This is not true. Presidents Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Obama racked up larger electoral college victories than Trump, which a reporter mentioned during the lengthy and often bizarre question-and-answer session that followed. Despite critiquing the media for “fake news” and promoting falsehoods without appropriate fact-checking, Trump’s response was simply that “I was given that information…I’ve seen that information around.”
Here are some of the craziest moments from the Q&A:
“I turn on the T.V., open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos. Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”
—In his opening remarks, Trump said the media misrepresents his administration. But a U.S. Senator tweeted his response to the kind of “machine” he’s running:
— Michael F. Bennet (@SenBennetCO) 16. фебруар 2017.
“We’re becoming a drug infested nation. Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars. We are not going to let it happen any longer.”
—Though this line is pretty laughable on face value, the Washington Post reports that it’s true in some cases, depending on the dose. At one point in 2015, doses of heroin were going for $6 each in Baltimore, and painkillers can be even cheaper per dose than that. And besides, Trump is a great negotiator!
“Obamacare is a disaster, folks. You can say, ‘Oh, Obamacare.’ They fill up our rallies with people that you wonder how they get there, but they’re not the Republican people their representatives are representing.”
—By “rallies,” Trump might mean recent town hall meetings in which Republican members of Congress have been berated over their attempts to repeal Obamacare. But honestly, who knows at this point?
“We had a very, very big margin.”
—As noted above, his was Trump’s vague response to a specific question about his electoral college win. “You said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan,” the reporter began, going on to point out that Obama won by a larger margin twice (365 and 332 in 2008 and 2012 respectively), as did George H.W. Bush (426).
“I was given that information, I don’t know,” Trump replied. “We had a very, very big margin… it was a very substantial victory. Do you agree with that?” The reporter responded, “you’re the president,” in the tone of someone gazing deep into the abyss.
“The news is fake, because so much of the news is fake.”
—Asked repeatedly to clarify what he meant by calling leaks from his campaign “fake news,” Trump drew a distinction between the leaks themselves and the media’s coverage. “The leaks are absolutely real,” he said, “but the news is fake, because so much of the news is fake.” Which totally clears that up. (Trump also alleged, specifically, that the “failing” New York Times’ recent report on his campaign aides’ communications with Russian operatives has been “very much discredited,” which is not really true.)
“I do get good ratings, you have to admit that.”
—During one answer about the unfair tone and “untruthful” reporting, he interrupted himself a few times to point out that “I’m really not a bad person, by the way”, and “I do get good ratings, you have to admit that”. Trump suggested that he knows instinctively when he deserves good press versus bad press, and that the coverage of him is skewed towards the negative. “I’d be a pretty good reporter,” he said at one point. “I know what’s good, I know what’s bad… I want to see an honest press. It’s so important to the public to get an honest press. The public doesn’t believe you people any more. Now maybe I had something to do with that, I don’t know.”
“Tomorrow, they will say ‘Donald Trump rants and raves at the press!’ I’m not ranting and raving, I’m just telling you, you’re dishonest people.”
“[A] nuclear holocaust would be like no other.”
—Trump confirmed he’d been “briefed” on nuclear holocausts, and presumably he thinks they’re bad?
“Hillary cheated on the debates.”
—Asked again about his ties to Russia, he denied having anything to do with Russia, went off on a tangent about Wikileaks, and then somehow blamed the whole thing on Clinton, who allegedly received a preview of at least one debate question. “Can you imagine — seriously — can you imagine if I received the questions?” Trump continued. “It would be the electric chair. Okay? ‘He should be put in the electric chair.'”
“We had a very smooth roll out of the travel ban.”
—One of the most glaring alternative facts to emerge was Trump’s characterization of his botched travel ban. “We had a very smooth roll-out,” he insisted, claiming that the only problem with the ban was the “bad court” that halted it. “We had a bad decision, but we’re going to keep going with that… The roll-out was perfect.”
“Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?”
—Journalist April D. Ryan asked him if he would include the “CBC” in his plan to help the inner cities. After clarifying that she meant the Congressional Black Caucus, Trump asked Ryan, who is black, if she could set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. That didn’t go over well, and the CBC said they reached out to Trump back in January and never heard back.
This just can’t be real life. pic.twitter.com/tBulMHpJgT
— deray mckesson (@deray) 16. фебруар 2017.