President Donald Trump jetted to West Virginia on Thursday to tout his tax-cut plan. But, as he often does, he went off script in a major way, at one point throwing his page of prepared remarks in the air and proclaiming them "boring."
Seriously, this happened.
I went through the Trump tax transcript line by line. It was rife with exaggerations, asides and lots and lots of "huh?" moments. The 43 lines that stood out most to me are below.
1. "That's good music, isn't it?"
And away we go!
2. "We're on television nationwide talking about that, Jim. That's pretty good."
Trump has just finished touting Republican Gov. Jim Justice and how well the state of West Virginia is doing here. And yes he is always aware that he is on TV. And, double yes, he believes that if something isn't on TV, it doesn't really exist.
3. "He's definitely the biggest governor, too. Right?"
Justice is a very big dude (6'7"). And Trump likes that for some reason.
4. "It was a very special place during the election for me. It was not even close. Was it?"
Trump won West Virginia by 43 points in 2016. Relatedly: The election ended 514 days ago.
5. "A lot of things have happened with your coal and a lot of other things that you're doing in West Virginia."
So, you're saying that a lot of things have happened with coal and with a lot of other things eh?
6. "You're one of the most successful, now -- percentage-wise, you're one of the most successful in the nation."
I started to try to fact check this statement. But then I realized it was impossible. Successful at what? I did a quick check on lowest unemployment rate by state -- that wasn't it. West Virginia is near the bottom of that list with the unemployment rates still at 4.9%.
7. "Thank you. Nice hat. Look at that beautiful hat."
8. "We're being talked about all over the world."
This is an important insight into Trump's worldview. What really matters is being relevant, is being talked about. The worst thing you can be in the world is not mentioned. Mattering is the key.
9. "I always tell the Republican politicians, because the Democrats have a problem. I mean, if you look at your senator, he voted against -- Joe -- he voted against."
Look, I know what Trump means here -- that all Senate Democrats including West Virginia's Joe Manchin voted against the tax cut. But the way he says it makes it very, very hard to get that point across.
10. "I thought he would be helpful because he talks. Grabs me; I grab him."
Well, that happened.
11. "And we also got ANWR -- energy. Big energy. We're -- I'm into the world of energy, as you know."
There's no energy like big energy. It's the best one.
12. "We have our intellectual property, and a lot of people don't understand what that means."
13. "And it doesn't matter if you understand it or not."
Oh, OK. [returns to blissful unawareness]
14. "We're going to come out with numbers on Friday that, hopefully, are going to be fantastic numbers."
[narrator voice] They weren't.
15. "We get it done right or we'll terminate. You know, if we don't have it done right, we're going to terminate."
This is a very minor thing. But why does Trump always say "we'll terminate" or "we're going to terminate" when talking about NAFTA. Wouldn't it make more grammatical sense to say; "If NAFTA can't be worked out to our satisfaction, we will terminate that relationship"?
16. "Joe Manchin is just -- he's really not helped us on this stuff."
You can be certain that this line will appear in ads this fall for the eventual Republican nominee against Manchin. Remember that Trump remains quite popular in Republican circles -- especially in West Virginia.
17. "We have the worst laws."
An actual quote by the president of the United States.
18. "Mexico has very tough policies. They can do whatever they want, which is the way it should be, to be honest."
So, the best policies are when the government can do whatever it wants? It feels like that might be a bit of a slippery slope?
19. "Women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. They don't want to mention that."
"They" probably don't mention it because there's no available evidence to suggest it's true.
20. "And we're going to get it very strongly."
The wall is the subject here. But this is really a Trump quote that could apply to absolutely anything (and everything) in his life.
21. "I mean, to me that's obstruction of justice, and something should happen there. And it hasn't, and I don't know why it hasn't. But something should happen there."
Trump is a) referring to California's sanctuary cities and b) seemingly entirely unaware of the irony of him talking about obstruction while special counsel Robert Mueller continues to probe whether the firing of FBI Director James Comey amounted to obstruction of justice.
22. "You know, we've gone into towns in Long Island where we've taken MS-13 and we've actually liberated towns. This is our country, right?"
This is central to understanding the appeal of Trump's message: "They" are trying to take over America. And, I won't let them.
23. "These ICE guys are so much tougher than them, and they're grabbing them by the necks and throwing them into the paddy wagons."
Trump revels in the rough treatment of people by police -- and has advocated for even tougher treatment. "When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just them them thrown in rough," Trump said last July. "I said, 'Please don't be too nice.'
24. "So this guy, because he's here, now can get the mother and the father and the grandmother and the cousins and the brothers and the sisters and the aunts and the uncles. This is what the Democrats are doing to you. And they like it because they think they're going to vote Democrat."
This got overlooked among ALL of the things Trump said yesterday. It shouldn't. He is saying that Democrats are totally fine with letting whoever wants into the county to come in solely because it improves their political chances.
25. "A lot of times it doesn't matter, because in many places, like California, the same person votes many times. You probably heard about that. They always like to say, "Oh, that's a conspiracy theory." Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people."
Repeat after me: There is NO evidence that any sort of widespread voter fraud occurred in California or anywhere else during the election. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
26. "So we have a lot of things going on, but a lot of things are being straightened out."
"This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you's. And, uh, lotta strands to keep in my head, man." -- Jeffrey Lebowski
27. "Do you remember, at that beautiful arena -- where's the arena? Where was the arena, Shelley? At that beautiful -- it probably held 7,000 people, and we had 20,000, 25,000 people that couldn't get in."
The election ended 514 days ago.
28. "I think we won here by 42 points or something. Some incredible number. Forty-two points."
See No. 27, Also, No. 4.
29. "Because I was seeing these polls and we were so far ahead. I said, 'Do you think it would be OK if I went to Pennsylvania?' Which, by the way, we won."
30. "I'm very proud of you, and your numbers are incredible."
What numbers is Trump talking about here? I have no idea. But I do know those numbers are incredible.
31. "You're among the -- percentage-wise, you're among the greatest gainers in this country, and I think it's great and it just wasn't that way."
Gainers in what??? Actually, doesn't even matter. Congrats, West Virginia! Let's go Mountaineers!
32. "I always say 'clean, beautiful coal.'"
He never says "dirty, ugly coal."
33. "The miners are happy. And we'll be looking at that 202. You know what a 202 is, right?"
34. "You know, this was going to be my remarks. It would have taken about two minutes but what the hell. "
What the hell indeed.
35. "That would have been a little boring. Little boring. No, I'm reading off the first paragraph and I said, 'This is boring. Come on.'"
Cut to Trump speechwriter weeping.
36. "So not only will you save a lot of money, because it's a lot of money for a lot of people, but you're also -- and not to even mention the companies where they're employing because now they have all this incentive."
What a "sentence."
37. "This, whatever you call it, it starts and you get hooked so fast."
The President of the United States on the opioid crisis.
38. "We don't need -- it's not even -- we don't -- it's not like we have a choice."
39. "I know Indonesia very well. Great people and great -- you have some great representatives that I've gotten to know very well in Indonesia."
Donald Trump: Indonesia expert.
40. "They were being regulated right out of business and we took care of that. And we did it in a very nasty fashion. You would have been very proud of us."
A) We did in in "very nasty fashion."
B) You would have been proud.
41. "So that pretty much wraps it up. We're very proud of the tax cut."
Aside from touting that he told Republicans members of Congress to change the name of the bill from "tax reform" to "tax cuts" and attacking Manchin for voting against the legislation, Trump barely talked about the tax cuts. At an event specifically organized to talk about the tax cuts.
42. "It's -- a lot of people are being helped so much, and so many things in there that we don't even talk about, when you're talking about tooling and trucking and all of the elements of investment that you have to make and now you have one-year expensing."
You know, tooling and trucking and the like.
43. "We got a lot of people out there that I don't think are very good people, but that's okay."