Donald Trump began his birthday the same way any terrifyingly powerful septuagenerian would: by calling in to appear on his favorite TV show.
The president, who famously doesn’t watch much television, primarily because of documents, spent about 50 minutes on Friday morning as the “& Friends” portion of Fox & Friends. That’s right, despite his recent disenchantment with certain elements of the network, Trump mingled with Kilmeade, cut loose with Doocy and earmarked time for Earhardt. He also broke the news that Fox contributor and former director of ICE Tom Hohman would be returning to the White House as Trump’s “border czar,” called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” for the umpteenth time, and made a bunch of typically bizarre statements.
Here are the 7 most WTF of the bunch.
1. “We have our own Jackie O, it’s called Melania. Melania T.”
I’m sure he meant it in a nice way but also, whoops, Donald Trump refers to his own wife as an “it.”
2. “It’s a fascist statement. It’s a disgraceful statement. I call her ‘Nervous Nancy,’ she’s a nervous wreck.”
This is Trump’s response to Nancy Pelosi criticizing him for a recent interview with George Stephanopoulos in which he admitted freely he would be open to accepting opposition research from a foreign government. His labeling her statement as fascist is troubling, but at least it’s leavened by his sophomoric, non-sequitur pivot to the Garbage Pail Kids-style nickname he’s given her.
3. “First of all, I don’t think anybody would present me with anything bad because they know how much I love this country. Nobody’s gonna present me with anything bad. Number two, if I was, and of course you have to look at it because if you don’t look at it you’re not gonna know if it’s bad. How are you gonna know if it’s bad? But of course, you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody like that.”
Further addressing his comments to George Stephanopoulos earlier this week, Trump doubles down on the importance of at least looking at oppo research from foreign governments to help win elections. Or at least that’s what I think he said. He also got a little caught up in clarifying the patriotic and definitely not “bad” nature of the colluding support he might be getting in the future to really drive the point home.
4. “We won a lawsuit on the wall. This one was brought by Nancy Pelosi. Maybe that’s criminal that she’s allowing the drug dealers and gang members into our country.”
Last week, a federal judge rejected the House’s lawsuit against using emergency powers to build a border wall. It was a setback in Democrats’ ongoing efforts to find solutions to U.S. immigration issues that don’t involve a costly and mostly symbolic wall. However, Trump casually tarring those efforts with the brush of criminality should be sobering. While Trump is known for making erratic statements constantly, the most authoritarian ones will hopefully never cease to shock.
5. “Iran did do it and you know they did it because you saw the boat . . . That was exposed, that was their boat, that was them and they didn’t want the evidence behind. I guess they didn’t know that we have things that we could detect in the dark.”
Earlier this week, someone attacked an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally placed blame for the incident on Iran, pointing to “the weapons used, the expertise and resources required and the similarity to other recent attacks attributed to Iran.” His statements echo what National Security Adviser John Bolton has said about other recent attacks on oil tankers. The administration appears to be making the case for war with Iran, and hearing Trump incompetently attempt to parrot their rhetoric on the issue is utterly chilling.
Brian Kilmeade asks Trump how he plans to stop attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, but the president prefers to keep complaining about Barack Obama. pic.twitter.com/ujuGex2EiP
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) June 14, 2019
6. “It looks to me like they’re trying to take away her right of free speech.”
Imagine, if you will, the speed at which my monocle shattered upon hearing Trump reveal he won’t be firing Kellyanne Conway, against the advice of the Office of Special Counsel. That federal watchdog agency made headlines on Thursday by announcing that Conway had violated the Hatch Act, which states that anyone working for a federal agency may not use their taxpayer-funded office to advocate their political beliefs. (Conway was found to be a “repeat offender.”) Obviously, Trump was never going to fire Conway unless he absolutely had to do so. What’s troubling is that he takes the classic right-wing victimhood tactic of turning this into a freedom of speech issue. Perhaps he absorbed this talking point from years of listening to Tucker Carlson every night, or maybe one of his advisers drilled him on it. Either way, not great!
7. “I like the concept of red, white, and blue. It’ll look much better, actually. The baby blue doesn’t fit with us.”
In that apparently eventful interview with Stephanopoulos earlier this week, Trump revealed his plans to repaint Air Force One to look more like his own private plane. Since the rest of the interview is full of casually Orwellian moments, let’s all take a moment to soak in Trump trying to sound conversant on the tenets of design by boasting that he likes the colors of the American flag.
Here’s the entire interview, if you think you have the strength to get through it.