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The 8 most baffling exchanges from Trump’s Associated Press interview
Photo via North Charleston/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
Trump says he gave CBS the highest ratings since 9/11—and that’s just one thing that has everyone talking.
Conducted by AP reporter Julie Pace, the interview was meant to focus on Trump’s first 100 days in office, a milestone the president will hit on Saturday, April 29. The interview ultimately meandered through a slew of topics, from Syria to healthcare and tax reform to “fake news.”
In the department of “real news,” Trump said he is considering terminating NAFTA and plans to unveil a tax reform plan on Wednesday. He also claimed that he can build his U.S.–Mexico border wall for $10 billion (less than half the $24 billion it’s estimated to cost) and said he’s “OK” with the Department of Justice pursuing legal action against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
It is not the topics Pace and Trump covered that has people talking, however; it’s how Trump talked about these issues—about how Trump thinks more than what he thinks about any particular topic.
The entire interview is worth a read, but in case you want the quick-and-dirty version, here are the eight exchanges that have the internet abuzz with an overwhelming sense of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
1) Trump offers the reporter a Coke
AP: You did put out though, as a candidate, you put out a 100-day plan. Do you feel like you should be held accountable to that plan?
TRUMP: Somebody, yeah, somebody put out the concept of a hundred-day plan. But yeah. Well, I’m mostly there on most items. Go over the items, and I’ll talk to you …
TRUMP: But things change. There has to be flexibility. Let me give you an example. President Xi, we have a, like, a really great relationship. For me to call him a currency manipulator and then say, “By the way, I’d like you to solve the North Korean problem,” doesn’t work. So you have to have a certain flexibility, Number One. Number Two, from the time I took office till now, you know, it’s a very exact thing. It’s not like generalities. Do you want a Coke or anything?
AP: I’m OK, thank you. No. …
2) Trump doesn’t remember what’s on his 100-day plan
AP: So in terms of the 100-day plan that you did put out during the campaign, do you feel, though, that people should hold you accountable to this in terms of judging success?
TRUMP: No, because much of the foundation’s been laid. Things came up. I’ll give you an example. I didn’t put Supreme Court judge on the 100 (day) plan, and I got a Supreme Court judge.
AP: I think it’s on there.
TRUMP: I don’t know. …
AP: “Begin the process of selecting.” You actually exceeded on this one. This says, “Begin the process of selecting a replacement.”
TRUMP: That’s the biggest thing I’ve done.
3) Trump declares the U.S. government the “biggest company in the world”
AP: Can I ask you, over your first 100 days — you’re not quite there yet — how do you feel like the office has changed you?
TRUMP: Well the one thing I would say — and I say this to people — I never realized how big it was. Everything’s so (unintelligible) like, you know the orders are so massive. I was talking to —
AP: You mean the responsibility of it, or do you mean —
TRUMP: Number One, there’s great responsibility. When it came time to, as an example, send out the 59 missiles, the Tomahawks in Syria. I’m saying to myself, “You know, this is more than just like, 79 (sic) missiles. This is death that’s involved,” because people could have been killed. This is risk that’s involved, because if the missile goes off and goes in a city or goes in a civilian area — you know, the boats were hundreds of miles away — and if this missile goes off and lands in the middle of a town or a hamlet …. every decision is much harder than you’d normally make. (unintelligible) … This is involving death and life and so many things. … So it’s far more responsibility. (unintelligible) ….The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world. The second-largest company in the world is the Defense Department. The third-largest company in the world is Social Security. The fourth-largest — you know, you go down the list.
TRUMP. It’s massive. And every agency is, like, bigger than any company. So you know, I really just see the bigness of it all, but also the responsibility. And the human responsibility. You know, the human life that’s involved in some of the decisions.
4) Trump says he’s had to learn to have “heart” by leading the government
AP: You’ve talked a little bit about the way that you’ve brought some business skills into the office. Is there anything from your business background that just doesn’t translate into the presidency, that just simply is not applicable to this job?
TRUMP: Well in business, you don’t necessarily need heart, whereas here, almost everything affects people. So if you’re talking about health care — you have health care in business but you’re trying to just negotiate a good price on health care, et cetera, et cetera. You’re providing health. This is (unintelligible). Here, everything, pretty much everything you do in government, involves heart, whereas in business, most things don’t involve heart.
5) Trump says he didn’t know much about NATO—the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—when he called it “obsolete”
TRUMP: They had a quote from me that NATO’s obsolete. But they didn’t say why it was obsolete. I was on Wolf Blitzer, very fair interview, the first time I was ever asked about NATO, because I wasn’t in government. People don’t go around asking about NATO if I’m building a building in Manhattan, right? So they asked me, Wolf … asked me about NATO, and I said two things. NATO’s obsolete — not knowing much about NATO, now I know a lot about NATO — NATO is obsolete, and I said, “And the reason it’s obsolete is because of the fact they don’t focus on terrorism.” You know, back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism.
6) Trump suggests his first speech before a joint session of Congress was the “best speech” delivered in the chamber
TRUMP: A lot of the people have said that, some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber.
7) Trump boasts about giving CBS New’s Face the Nation the highest ratings since 9/11
TRUMP: No I have, it’s interesting, I have, seem to get very high ratings. I definitely. You know Chris Wallace had 9.2 million people, it’s the highest in the history of the show. I have all the ratings for all those morning shows. When I go, they go double, triple. Chris Wallace, look back during the Army-Navy football game, I did his show that morning.
AP: I remember, right.
TRUMP: It had 9.2 million people. It’s the highest they’ve ever had. On any, on air, (CBS “Face the Nation” host John) Dickerson had 5.2 million people. It’s the highest for “Face the Nation” or as I call it, “Deface the Nation.” It’s the highest for “Deface the Nation” since the World Trade Center. Since the World Trade Center came down. It’s a tremendous advantage.
8) Trump says he doesn’t watch CNN anymore—right after saying he did
TRUMP: OK. The one thing I’ve learned to do that I never thought I had the ability to do. I don’t watch CNN anymore.
AP: You just said you did.
TRUMP: No. No, I, if I’m passing it, what did I just say (inaudible)?
AP: You just said —
TRUMP: Where? Where?
AP: Two minutes ago.
You can read the entire AP interview here.
Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.