As officials in Washington prepared to honor the late Sen. John McCain, President Donald Trump headed to Evansville, Indiana, to headline a campaign rally for GOP Senate nominee Mike Braun. If you thought Trump might honor McCain's passing or adjust his fiery campaign rhetoric in any way, you thought wrong! (Trump never mentioned McCain by name in the speech.)
I went through the transcript of Trump's speech and pulled out the most, um, memorable lines. They're below.
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1. "You love our country. You're proud of our history. And you always respect our great American flag."
While this is a standard Trump line, it takes on a bit of a different meaning since the flag over the White House went back to full-staff on Monday morning -- even as the US Capitol Building had the flag still at half-staff to honor McCain. Later in the day, Trump issued an order for the flags at the White House to hang at half-staff until McCain's burial at the Naval Academy on Sunday.
2. "And now tomorrow you're going to read headlines, 'Trump had protesters all over the place.' One person. One person."
You wouldn't have read headlines like that except for the fact that a Trump volunteer blocked a photographer trying to take a picture of the protester.
3. "But are they going to talk about the thousands and thousands of people inside of this arena and outside of the arena, where we put screens? No."
The Indianapolis Star reported that all of the arena's 11,000 seats were full -- and that people "spilled out onto the floor."
4. "These are just dishonest, terrible people. I'm telling you that. Terrible people."
Trump's attack on the media came on the same day that a California man was charged for making violent threats against reporters for the Boston Globe. He insisted that the media was "the enemy of the people." Sound familiar?
5. "They do suppression polls. You know what a fake poll is. It's called a suppression. They make you think you can't win, so you go to see a movie."
This is not a thing. Or at least not a thing any credible, mainstream media outlet would get anywhere near. What Trump means is that sometimes polls don't come out well for him or his side. When that happens, he calls those "suppression polls" because they might have the effect of discouraging people to vote for a lost cause. That, of course, is not the aim of polls. The aim of polls is to provide a snapshot of where a race stands.
6. "But the word is they're firing the head of NBC. What a great thing to do. How smart. That's what the word. Who knows? With these people, you never know."
A classic in the Trump rhetorical catalog. I hear someone might get fired. But that could change. Who knows? By doing this, Trump injects the idea into the minds of his supporters and forces some level of media coverage -- even if it's very skeptical. He does all of that without a single shred of evidence that NBC News President Andrew Lack is getting fired.
7. "But when I start screaming 'fake news,' you see those red lights go off for a little while. You know, excuse me, we have technical difficulties, OK, then they go back. "
So. The President of the United States is alleging, with no proof, that TV cameras are faking technical difficulties when he starts talking about "fake news." Which is weird, because I watched him say this line on TV last night.
8. "It's tough to have a network where you're calling them 'fake news' and they're supposed to be proud."
[narrator voice] It's not tough at all, actually.
9. "That just shows when you get good ratings, you can say anything."
He said the quiet part out loud! If you needed Trump's view on the media -- and on life more generally -- condensed into a single sentence, this would be the sentence I would write. If you listen closely enough to Trump, he always tells you exactly what he thinks, and who he is.
10. "We're so far ahead of schedule."
There's a schedule? Who knew!
11. "I gave Mike, a little while ago, something that I saw -- but he's seen it -- the Indianapolis Star did a story, and I guess it's a poll of some kind. Joe Donnelly rated least effective Democrat in Senate in a new study."
Two things: 1) Here's the study Trump is referencing and 2) It's amazing how Trump sees zero hypocrisy in calling the media "dishonest, terrible people" one moment and then citing a mainstream media story to make a point that is good for him.
12. "Today's Democrat Party is held hostage by left-wing haters, angry mobs, 'deep state' radicals, establishment cronies, and their fake news allies."
This is a pretty remarkable thing for a president -- even Trump -- to say. The opposition party is haters, angry mobs, people who make up the news, swamp-dwellers and embedded bureaucrats working to bring down his presidency. What's even scarier is that I think he may genuinely believe it.
13. " You can have the biggest story about Hillary Clinton -- I mean, look at what she's getting away with. But let's see if she gets away with it."
Trump never specifies what Clinton is "getting away with." Doesn't matter. The crowd erupts in an extended "Lock Her Up!" chant. What are we locking her up for? No one seems to know!
14. " All I can say is, our Justice Department and our FBI -- at the top of each, because inside, they have incredible people -- but our Justice Department and our FBI have to start doing their job right and doing it right and doing it now."
This is more "deep state" conspiracy stuff. Remember that the head of the Justice Department -- Jeff Sessions -- was a top Trump supporter during the campaign and was hand-picked by the President for this job.
15. "What's happening is a disgrace."
A Republican president offers his thoughts on his own Justice Department.
16. "I wanted to stay out. But at some point, if it doesn't straighten out properly -- I want them to do their job -- I will get involved, and I'll get in there, if I have to."
Trump, translated: The Justice Department better start pursuing my personal whims -- or else.
17. "Republicans stand for stopping illegal immigration, fixing bad, horrible, obsolete trade deals, unleashing American energy, cutting taxes, supporting our militaries and our great vets, our great, great vets."
Great vets like, say, John McCain?
18. "But of the nine, eight of them were crying. And I looked at the ninth, crying out of happiness, because they're back."
Trump relayed to the crowd that he ran into nine coal miners backstage in Evansville -- and they were all weeping out of happiness for what he has done for the coal-mining industry. The chances this story is actually true? 50-50.
19." I actually asked them, I said, did they do polling when Honest Abe Lincoln was around? You know what? Nobody's been able to give me that answer, but I'm assuming they did, OK? So we can say we're beating Honest Abe."
Donald Trump just said he is more popular right now with Republicans than Abe Lincoln was in his time. What a sense of history!
20. "These -- this is a group of gang members -- I can't say 'animals' anymore, because Nancy Pelosi got very angry when I called them animals. I called them animals. She went crazy. I can't do it."
Here's what Pelosi actually said: "When the President of the United States says about undocumented immigrants, 'these are not people, these are animals,' you have to wonder, does he not believe in the spark of divinity? In the dignity and worth of every person? 'These are not people, these are animals,' from the President of the United States."
21. "We're doing a great job. And we have really no laws to work with. We have really no laws to work with. The laws are horrible. Laws are the worst and dumbest in the history of the world."
A real quote from the President of the United States.
22. "I pick up. I said hello. He goes, 'Trump, this is Bobby Knight, and you got to run for president. Our country needs you.' And I said that's Bobby Knight. That's Bobby Knight. Right? That's Bobby Knight."
Knight, the famous/infamous longtime basketball coach at Indiana University, was a prominent Trump supporter.
23. "But I had two big stacks -- you'll see pictures of me in the office, you'll see these massive stacks."
Stacks on stacks.
24. "We were on center stage of every single debate, right? Every single debate. Center stage means we were never in second place."
The re-telling of his positioning on the stage in 2016 primary debates is so, so Trump. Being center stage means he was in first, the big winner, the one everyone wanted to look at and talk about. This is his life goal.
25. "We love winners. We love winners. Winners are winners."
[nods head knowingly]
26. "Did you say the fake news tried to fake out Tiger? They didn't do too well. Tiger's sharp."
Woods was asked at a tournament this week about his relationship with Trump. Here's what he said: "We've played golf together. We've had dinner together. I've known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency." Asked whether his friendship with Trump amounted to tacit support for the President's policies, Woods responded: "He's the President of the United States. You have to respect the office," he said. "No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office."
27. "No, we love winners. We love winners. "
So, let me get this straight. Winning is good? And we like winners?
28. "And we're the talk of the world. I'll tell you, every foreign leader who comes to see me, almost, they walk in and they start off, Mr. President, congratulations on the incredible success you're having with your economy. Congratulations. Everything. Almost everyone."
It apparently doesn't occur to Trump that foreign leaders are taking this approach because he's demonstrated over and over again that he likes people who praise him. It probably should occur to him.
29. "See, you have to understand, I have a better education than they do from a much better school, but -- the elite. They're the elite. They're the elite. I went to better schools, I went to better everything. And by the way, by the way, are you ready for this? And I'm President, and they're not."
The key to understanding so much of what Trump says and does is this: He believes himself to have always been mocked by the so-called "elites." He has always felt like the guy on the outside looking in, the person the people he wanted to be ignored and and laughed at. Trump's life has been motivated by a singular desire to prove all of those people wrong. "I'm president and you're not," is the sort of thing you might expect to hear from someone in fifth grade. But that grade-school mentality is how Trump looks at the world.
30. "If Crooked Hillary came here, if she had 300 to 500 people -- first of all, she wouldn't be in this building. She'd be in a hotel conference room. It would be a conference room, right?"
The 2016 election ended 661 days ago.
31. "And I'm not saying -- I'm just saying. I'm not saying it's -- I'm just saying, something incredible is happening with our country to have this."
So, is he saying? Or not saying? I'm confused.
32. "And for the first time ever, really -- and we have a lot of great programs to help -- for the first time ever, employers are hiring prisoners."
This is not, um, the first time that employers are hiring ex-prisoners.
33. "And I have a friend who hired prisoners. I said, 'Whoa, that's great.' And he said, 'You wouldn't believe how great they are. They're better than my other people.'"
"Whoa, that's great." -- President Donald Trump
34. "It's such a beautiful name, clean power. Clean power, right?"
35. "When there's thousands of birds laying at the base of the windmill, what do we do? Isn't that amazing?"
Amazing is, I guess, a word for it?
36. "If your house is staring at a windmill, not good. When you hear that noise going 'round and 'round and 'round, and you're living with it, and then you go crazy after a couple of years, not good."
"How Windmills Make You Crazy," By Donald Trump
37. "Because we've put mechanisms in work -- lots of different -- I won't bore you with the complications -- it's actually -- we had middlemen that were so rich they were making a fortune on drugs, prescription drugs."
"You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you's. And, uh, lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder's head." -- Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski.
38. "Our veterans are the greatest. ... These are, really, our greatest people, as far as I'm concerned."
Like, say, John McCain?
39. "I guess I'm good at getting things passed, but it was great."
40. "It's called Space Force. So important. So important."
41. "We are standing up for the heroes who protect America."
Like, say, John McCain?
42 ."We're going to win so much that you're going to be begging me, 'Please, please, Mr. President, the people of Indiana cannot continue to win like this. We're not used to this. This is terrible!'"
"Terrible Winning" would be a good band name.
43. "I don't give a damn what they want. We're going to keep on winning."
"Too much winning can be wonderful." -- Mae West/Donald Trump