Like a 1980s movie where a child played by Fred Savage magically becomes Kid in Chief, President Donald Trump spent Thursday morning phoning into his favorite TV show, Fox & Friends. However, perhaps unlike that imaginary film, it was kind of a disaster.
Trump began the interview by quasi-admitting he didn’t get his wife, Melania, a gift for her birthday today–“Maybe I didn’t get her so much. I got her a beautiful card”–and things proceeded accordingly from there. Over the duration of the long, rambling segment, Trump rehashed his 2016 election win, fudging the numbers a bit and blaming Democrats for his VA secretary nominee, Ronny Jackson, withdrawing his nomination this morning. (Jackson did so following a tumultuous confirmation process during which numerous scandals came to light.) At certain points, Trump came off as thoroughly rattled, his tangents escalating into full-throated shouting rants.
Overall, it was an interview marked by how unsettled the hosts seemed, despite the fact that they often openly praised the president. Whether they are starting to realize more things about him or are having more difficulty hiding things they already knew, Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade looked embarrassed for Trump and fearful of what he might say next. Here are the most bizarre things he did say.
1. “If you go back to the Civil War, it was Republicans that really did the thing.”
Trump makes the case for Chance the Rapper, Kanye and the Black community to join the Republican party by bringing up the civil war and slavery!
"If you go back to the Civil War, it was Republicans that really did the thing. Lincoln was a Republican."pic.twitter.com/mt0R7RQBlz
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) April 26, 2018
It is quite a Tarzan-like, vine-swingin’ leap to get from Kanye West supporting Trump to Republicans being the party that ended slavery, but the president just took it.
2. “… like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me.”
After spending a moment throwing his embattled lawyer Michael Cohen under a rocketing legal bus, saying Cohen handled only a “tiny fraction” of his business, Trump accidentally broke some news. His admission that Cohen represented him on the Stormy Daniels hush money payoff is likely to end up coming back to haunt him.
Michael Avenatti responds to Trump saying Michael Cohen represented him in the Stormy Daniels deal on @Morning_Joe: "Another gift from the heavens in this case… It's a hugely damaging admission by the president."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 26, 2018
3. “Of course I stayed in Russia overnight!”
James Comey is a lot of things: gleefully overexposed, a wannabe cryptic Twitterer, a guy who refuses to take responsibility for tipping the election to Trump. He does not come across as a liar, though, and if the question is whether to take his word or Donald Trump’s, any reasonable person would go the Comey route. In the former FBI director’s infamous memos, Comey claimed that Trump denied staying overnight in Moscow in 2013, a trip mentioned in the Steele dossier. On Fox & Friends, however, Trump now claims that not only did he stay in Russia overnight, but that he never told Comey otherwise. It’s hard to take him seriously when in the next breath he refers to Comey as “Leakin’ Lyin’ Comey” out loud, on TV.
4. “I don’t watch things that I could put out of my mind, and I never ever thought that would be possible, and you know what that does—it keeps you on the ball. You keep your sanity, and it works very well.”
Here's Trump ranting about the fake news media while the Fox & Friends desperately try to get him to talk about something else. pic.twitter.com/yvWdfpeRc9
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) April 26, 2018
It’s hard to pick a most bizarre quote from this section, an all-out rant against “fake news,” but the most surreal moment was when Brian Kilmeade interrupted Trump’s monologue about CNN shows to say: “I’m not your doctor, Mr. President, but I’d say watch less of them.”
5. “I love the FBI, the FBI loves me”
In the absolute most generous terms, Trump’s relationship with the FBI has been as solid as a jello trampoline. He has several times accused the organization of being tainted, against him, and carrying out witch hunts. It’s not exactly a mutual admiration society.
Of course, Trump undercut his own remark by venting about the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe.
"I have a phony cloud over my head that doesn't exist," Trump says on Fox & Friends, talking about the Russia investigation, I think, or maybe an actual fake cloud.
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) April 26, 2018
Finally, after further discussion of the “crooked” FBI, Fox & Friends ended the interview, saying they could talk to Trump all day but “he probably has work to do.” Considering how much of a ratings coup a visit from the president is to any TV show, it’s usually the president who decides to terminate the conversation first. (Fox & Friends still had plenty of airtime left in the episode.) Instead, perhaps some producer realized how unhinged Trump was coming across–even more than usual!–and decided to bail before the president said anything else that could potentially end up being used against him in a courtroom.