Donald Trump's 26 most astonishing comments on his way to the G7 summit
Posted June 8, 2018 9:19 a.m. EDT
(CNN) — On Friday morning, President Donald Trump left the White House for the G7 meeting in Quebec. But before he boarded Marine One, he took questions from reporters for almost 20 minutes. The conversation moved from Trump's unhappiness with Canada and France to his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and porn stars to Trump's views of Dennis Rodman's rebounding prowess.
Below, I picked out the 26 most noteworthy -- and newsworthy -- lines. Enjoy!
1. "I think I did our country a really great favor when I fired him."
The "him" here is former FBI director James Comey, who Trump also referred to as a "dishonest man" and noted that he has been "saying it for a long time." How Comey is viewed by history is inextricably tied to the Department of Justice's Inspector General report regarding the 2016 election and his handling of Hillary Clinton's private email server. That report is expected to be released next Thursday.
2. "If we are unable to make a deal we'll terminate NAFTA and we'll have a better deal."
What is that "better deal," you ask? Trump has no idea.
3. "These one-week preparations don't work. Just ask Hillary about the debates."
An absolutely amazing answer -- even for Trump -- to a question about his pledge on Thursday that he doesn't need to prepare for the June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump kind of, sort of tried to say he had been preparing, but then, in taking a shot at Clinton, essentially debunked that idea. Also, not for nothing: Clinton was widely seen as having won all three general election presidential debates against Trump.
4. "I'm a "big, big believer in freedom of the press."
Trump's constant assault on "fake news" (aka news he doesn't think paints him in a positive light) has helped to erode trust in the media and foment anger toward the media. That's not the behavior I'd expect from a "big, big believer" in press freedom.
5. "Comey and his band of thieves...."
First, this feels like a ramping-up of Trump's already super-aggro rhetoric against the former FBI director. "Thieves," really? What was stolen? Second: "James Comey's Band of Thieves" is a pretty good band name.
6. "I enjoyed his show. He was quite a character."
This is Trump's remembrance of CNN's Anthony Bourdain, who died by suicide today at 61. One big regret of my year-plus at CNN is that I never got to meet Tony. I thought I had time. RIP.
7. "I have been Russia's worst nightmare. If Hillary got in -- I think Putin is probably going, 'man, I wish Hillary won.'"
[narrator voice] He's not.
Here's what we know -- according to the unanimous conclusions by the intelligence community: Russia actively interfered in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. They did so because they believed Trump would be better for them and their concerns than Clinton would be.
8. "Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run. And in the G7, it used to be the G8, they threw Russia out, they should let Russia come back in."
Russia was removed from the G8 in 2014 in the wake of that country's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine. Russia didn't seem too upset; "G8 is an informal organization that does not give out any membership cards and, by its definition, cannot remove anyone," said foreign minister Sergey Lavrov at the time.
Trump's argument to bring back Russia to the table goes like this: It doesn't really matter how they acquired their power. They have it. We need to have all powerful nations at the table. The end.
9. "I'll tell you what -- it's what I do -- it won't even be hard."
Say this for Trump: he doesn't lack for confidence. About anything. Ever. This quote refers to his belief that he will make better trade deals with countries like Canada, Mexico and France -- and that it won't even be hard!
10. "When it all straightens out, we'll all be in love again."
"I love lamp. I love lamp." -- Brick Tamblin
11. "I'm thinking about somebody that you all know very well, and he went through a lot, and he wasn't very popular then -- and he wasn't very popular then, no I'm not thinking about OJ -- but he's not -- only you could say OJ -- but he was, look -- he was not very popular then, he certainly, his memory is very popular now. I'm thinking about Muhammad Ali."
This. Is. Amazing. Trump starts this sentence by trying to tease -- without revealing! -- what major figure he might pardon next. After a reporter interrupts to ask whether it's OJ Simpson, Trump says no and then spills the beans: He's thinking about pardoning Ali! Worth noting, Ali's own attorney says he doesn't need to be pardoned. "We appreciate President Trump's sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary," said Ron Tweel. "The US Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in 1971."
12. "I'm not above the law I never want anybody to be above the law."
"I am the law." -- Judge Dredd
13. "I do have an absolute right to pardon myself, but I'll never have to do it, because I didn't do anything wrong."
He doesn't have an "absolute right" to pardon himself. While no president has ever tried to do so, a memo from the Office of Legal Counsel in 1974 suggests no president can because "no one may be a judge in his own case."
14. "There's been no collusion, there's been no obstruction, it's all a made-up fantasy -- it's a witch hunt. No collusion, no obstruction. No nothing."
a) NO COLLUSION
b) "There is no O."
15. "Scott Pruitt is doing a great job within the walls of the EPA. I mean, we're setting records. Outside, he's being attacked very viciously by the press, and I'm not saying that he's blameless, but we'll see what happens."
What a cliffhanger! This quote affirms everything we know about how the ever-embattled EPA administrator still has a job: Because he is doing what Trump wants at the EPA. Done and done.
16. "I didn't invite Lebron James and I didn't invite Steph Curry."
They can't reject my invitations because I didn't invite them! Boom! Also, I broke up with you first!
17. "The fact is they had people in our campaign, they had people doing things that had never been done in the history of our country. It's a disgrace."
The fact is that a human confidential source was used by the FBI to communicate with Carter Page and George Papdopoulos, two Trump campaign aides, to find out what interactions they might have had with Russians. That person was never embedded in Trump's campaign. The use of informants by the FBI is certainly something that has been done for decades.
18. "Mitt's a straight shooter."
"Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University." -- Mitt Romney, 2016
19. "I love Canada but they treat us very unfairly on trade."
"South Park" was right.
20. "She had a big operation. That was close to a four-hour operation. She's doing great."
Trump broke some news with this comment about the length of first lady Melania Trump's kidney procedure last month. Trump also noted that the first lady wanted to join him on the trip to Quebec and then on to Singapore for the North Korea summit but can't travel for a month due to the surgery.
21. "I have work. I have about 15 boxes of work."
Fifteen boxes! That's a lot of work. I only have eight boxes.
22."I'll be able to work without being bothered by phone calls when you people are writing fake stories about me and we have to respond."
This is why cell phones should continue to be banned on planes! Also: Same.
23. "Rudy's great, but Rudy is Rudy, but Rudy is doing a very good job, actually."
a) "Rudy is Rudy" is the definition of damning with faint praise
b) The "actually" at the end of that sentence just slays me.
24. "I like Dennis, a great rebounder, Dennis was a great rebounder and he wasn't relatively speaking that tall, so that tells you, rebounding, there's a genius to that. Dennis Rodman was a great rebounder."
Soooooo........was Dennis Rodman a good rebounder? Or a great one? I still don't have total clarity on that.
25. "You have a lot of people in the NFL in particular but in sports, unfortunately, not proud enough to stand for our National Anthem."
Say it with me: The anthem protests are designed to highlight the unfair treatment of African-Americans by police around the country. It has zero to do with patriotism -- even as Trump chooses to define it here.
26. "The power to pardon is a beautiful thing."
Many people say it's the most beautiful thing.