Quick Hits On Trump’s Press Conference: Non-Russian Edition

 

Might be the next President

 

Until the convention, Donald Trump’s insane and near-treasonous bafflegab of a presser yesterday dominated the news, especially his call for Russia to interfere with our election. That’s been pretty thoroughly covered elsewhere, so I want to make a few additional comments. I know writing about something some 20 hours after the fact is way too late, but I don’t think this news cycle should be over. There was so much in that press conference that defied imagination. It deserves to be talked about again and again, because, remember: this man could be President.

No way to get to it all now, but I want to highlight not specific policy things, because there are none except “Russia’s fine, ok?”. Instead I want to point out just how impossibly shallow this man is. The statements on Russia might have, as many said, “disqualify” him from the Presidency in a moral sense. But the rest of the words show that isn’t qualified, in the professional sense, to teach 3rd-grade social studies. He refuses to learn even the basics about the world, and can’t get through more than a tweet-length of a sentence without

He refuses to learn even the basics about the world, and can’t get through more than a tweet-length of a sentence without doubling-back, repeating himself, resorting to the verbal tricks of agreeing with himself, or (most often) self-aggrandizing. Insane anti-democratic fascistic tendencies aside, he’s really the most baffling incomprehensible public figure we’ve ever seen. Sarah Palin knew more about the world.

(All quotes come from the absolutely invaluable “annotated for lies” transcript by the Washington Post, who in the era of Trump remembered that they are a great paper, and rose from a rough sleep to regain that mantle.)

You saw what happened with the priest, it’s only going to get worse. And Hillary Clinton wants to allow 550 percent more people from that region into our country and we have no idea who they are, where they come from, where their documentation is, it’s only going to get worse and it’s going to start getting bad in our country. We’re letting people come in by the tens of thousands. You see what happened to the French priest. A friend of mine, he said he was going to France, like three, four months ago. I saw him yesterday. I said how’d you like France. He said I wouldn’t go to France. I wouldn’t go to France. Because France is no longer France. France is no longer France. They won’t like me for saying that but you see what happened in Nice, you see what happened yesterday with the priest who was supposed to be a spectacular man. France is no longer France and this world better be very careful and they better get very tough and very smart and they’ll never do it with Hillary Clinton.

“France is no longer France” is truly a remarkable statement by someone who wants to be the President of the United States. Remember what he’s saying here: they have a lot Muslims, they aren’t all white, so they aren’t the France that I love (which, yeah, you have to ignore the specter of Republican pretending to love the real Frenchified France). It’s not even close to disguised racism. And let’s always remember to point out that when he needs to say something about a “friend”, a guy he saw just yesterday. Bumped into him at the hotel, you know? And he just happens to support the stupid bigoted thing I’m about to say. All politicians like to tell stories, but with Trump, it’s clear he’s making up his friends. He likes to tell himself these sort of things, and then he actually believes it. In this way, he’s truly Reaganesque.

And I’ll release them when the audits completed. Nobody would release when it’s under — I’ve had audits for 15 or 16 years. Every year I have a routine audit. I’m under audit, when the audits complete I’ll release them. But zero, I mean I will tell you right now, zero, I have nothing to do with Russia, yes?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: I don’t know, I don’t know. It depends on the audit. It depends on the audit, not a big deal. By the way, just so you understand, I’ve released my papers, 104 pages of documents. I built an unbelievable company, tremendous cash, tremendous company with some of the great assets of the world. You’ve seen it. You were all very disappointed when you saw it actually but that’s OK. Far, far great than anybody ever thought. I have a great company. I built an unbelievable company but if you look there you’ll see there’s nothing in Russia.

The “refusing to release his audits” was pretty completely dunked-on by Tim “Not Tom Kean” Kaine Tim Kaine and President Barack Obama Liveblogging last night, but just listen to this answer. Denies the Russian part twice, even though it wasn’t brought up. Can’t get through two sentences without the flopsweat braggadocio that defines his life. This is how this grown man talks. “…unbelievable company, tremendous cash, tremendous company…” He’s a desperate and pathetic individual, who is in many and most ways obviously stupid, and that’s clear from listening to him for 30 seconds. You think world leaders respect that? You think our enemies fear it?

They were terrible things, talking about Jewish, talking about race, talking about atheist, trying to pin labels on people — what was said was a disgrace, and it was Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and believe me, as sure as you’re sitting there, Hillary Clinton knew about it. She knew everything.

Well, I doubt that HRC actually knew what staffers at the DNC were emailing each other about, but that’s just part of Trump’s dumb-uncle conspiracy fetish. It’s almost more despairing to think that someone who thinks “talking about Jewish” and “talking about atheist” might be deciding domestic policy. That’s not…well, that’s not how you use words.

OK. Sure. Two big questions. The minimum wage has to go up. People are — at least $10, but it has to go up. But I think that states — federal — I think that states should really call the shot. As an example, I live in New York. It’s very expensive in New York. You can’t buy a hot dog for the money you’re talking about. You go to other states and it’s not expensive at all. Now what it does is puts New York at a disadvantage if the minimum wage is up, companies move out and things, bad things happen. At the same time, people have to be taken care of. But what I’m really going to do on the minimum wage — but it has to go up.

Now, Bernie Sanders lied. Bernie Sanders said in his speech the other day that Donald Trump wants the minimum wage to go below $7. I said, where did he come up with that one? That one is just like Joe Biden lied today. He said that Donald Trump wants to carpet bomb — he was on television — he said, Donald Trump wants to carpet bomb the enemy in the Middle East. Now, that was Ted Cruz that said that. That was not Donald Trump. I mean, he’s not a very bright guy, but that was Ted Cruz that said it. And he said it with such surety — Donald Trump wants to carpet bomb — I never said I wanted to carpet bomb. That was Ted Cruz. You remember Ted Cruz said it? You will confirm that, I think. Go ahead.

This started with minimum wage, remember. You see two things here: one is a completely incoherent policy. New York is losing because the wages are so high, which isn’t true. So should there be a national wage? He thinks that “states– federal– I think that states should really call the shot.” So he thinks it should go up, but only if the states want to (which most don’t) or else NY will be at a disadvantage, which of course they will be, even though they aren’t. The key here is “But what I’m really going to do on the minimum wage–” before realizing he has no idea, no plan, no policiy, and no ideas except the song of himself. So he really tears into it on the next one. He remembers that he can talk about lies, and goes off for a hundred words about something Joe Biden said. ANd he was right- Cruz said carpet-bomb; Trump said “bomb the shit out of”. But still: this is insane. A question about the minimum wage, but he has to go off for a hundred words on something Joe Biden said about him. In a political campaign! When he’s running for President! I won’t even mention that in the span of that paragraph he said “Donald Trump” five times.

I won’t even get to how he repeated the dumbass lie that Putin called him a “genius”, and how such an incredible extemporaneous auto-hagiography reveals as much as the huge lies. How much it reveals about the cloistered world of yes-men in which he lived, where he can say anything and everyone agrees. I was going to do a whole post about it, but can’t at this point. I grabbed three chunks of the thing and can’t go on.

You know what? This is exhausting. The whole transcript is like this. Read it, or skim literally any part to see how incredibly unserious he is. It should be in a Museum of our Future Failure. This is a deeply insecure and unstable person, who can’t focus on anything except himself, and who creates vast stories about his greatness, which is the only narrative on which he can stay focused.

I know this is exhausting, and I am tired of writing about it. But that’s the point: he does this so much it is becoming normalized. It can’t be. With his vanity, his paranoia, with the worldview that can only be seen in the filthy reflecting pool of his mind, he is an incredible threat to the American people, to our democracy, and the world. This needs to be repeated every day. The concept of him as a unique danger has to be as normalized as his wild, ignorant, racist rantings have become.

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