The idea of wanting the President of the United States to be someone you’d want to have a beer with has never made much sense to me. I want to have a beer with my friends or someone who likes the Red Sox or if it’s a stranger, someone who knows when to let the conversation fall by the wayside and let us just drink in comfortable silence. I want the President of the United States to be a piss poor conversationalist who happens to be very good at governing. Whether or not they are a good hang is inconsequential. Whether or not they understand the consequences of their actions is far more important.
George W. Bush was considered to be a President who was someone you’d want to have a beer with, even if he doesn’t really drink anymore. Bush was a terrible President. I wouldn’t want to have a beer with Bill Clinton because he’d talk too damn much, probably dip out on the check and hit on my wife. Clinton was a very good President. Our last president, Barack Obama now looks like he’d be fun to have a beer with, but when he was actually working out of the Oval Office, I think the opposite would be closer to the truth. So let’s call it like it is and just agree that wanting a President of the United States who would be a good person to have a beer with is a ridiculous scoring metric.
What we should want from a President is a person who is smart, strategic and thoughtful. At the very least, we should want a President who has the ability to speak in complete and coherent sentences. That shouldn’t be asking for too much.
Apparently it is, though.
Late last week our current President sat down with The Associated Press for a seemingly normal interview. A transcript of such an interview, one between a professional reporter and a professional politician should not be worth even looking at. Give me the clips, give me the highlights. Trump is a different story, though. In general the transcripts of his interviews have had everyone yelling out like Mugatu, but this latest one…well, it’s a doozy. Like literally a doozy. You could just have clips from the interview next to the word “doozy” in the dictionary and everything would make sense, certainly more sense than Trump does at times, like when he was no longer labeling China a “currency manipulator.”
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?
A couple things of note.
- Adults have great relationships. Teenagers have “like, a really great relationship” with someone.
- Trump declared China a currency manipulator frequently throughout his campaign, so essentially it seems like he equates being flexible with being a liar who lies with the hopes of you totally forgetting past statements and actions.
Moving on and it should be noted that Trump later says China has cut out that currency manipulation monkey business since he took office. Cool. Confusing though because I thought they weren’t a currency manipulator anymore because you needed their help with North Korea. If they’re actually not a currency manipulator anymore thanks to your hard work, seems like you could just say that. But what do I know? I’m not even sure what calling someone a currency manipulator means.
TRUMP: Our military is so proud. They were not proud at all. They had their heads down. Now they have their heads up. …
TRUMP: I’m rebuilding the military. We have great people. We have great things in place. We have tremendous borders. I mention the F-35 because if I can save $725 million — look at that, that’s a massive amount of money. And I’ll save more as we make more planes. If I can save that on a small number of planes — Gen. (Jim) Mattis (the defense secretary) said, “I’ve never seen anything like this,” because he had to sign the ultimate (unintelligible) … He had to sign the ultimate, you know. He said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before, as long as I’ve been in the military.” You know, that kind of cutting.
In addition to being someone not familiar with the ins and outs of currency manipulation, I’m also someone who has never served in the military. However, I would think that certain folks in the military might find it a tad bit disrespectful if say, they had served in Iraq or the like a decade ago, and now they’re being told they did so minus the feeling of pride. Again, that’s just me, but that seems like kind of a dick thing to say.
*In a whisper* Why do we need a wall if we have “tremendous borders?”
Also, if you say something like “He had to sign the ultimate, you know” then you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you did, you would have followed up “ultimate” with an actual thing. Not “you know.” You know?
Okay, really quickly, take a moment and ask the first person you say what they think it’s like being President? I can wait.
You’re back? Cool. What did they say? Did they say it’s a lot of pressure, a lot of responsibility, you have people’s lives and well-being to care for and be responsible of, that it’s one hard decision after another? Well then that person has a better understanding of what being President is like than our current President did apparently.
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.
Now is a good time to bring up that this interview was done in person and that the tape recorder was most likely in an optimal position, so as best to capture every word the President said. Yet Charles Pierce of Esquire counted at least 20 instances of Trump’s responses being “unintelligible.” Some of these occurrences are kind of baffling. For instance, what could Trump possibly have said before “…The financial cost…” or before “…This is involving death?” Is he just dropping f-bombs here? “Fuck dude…this is involving death and life and so many big things … So it’s far more responsibility. Like fuck dude …The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency.” That could make sense. “Everything’s so fucking like, you know the orders are so massive.”
Just replace every “unintelligible” with “fuck” or “fucking” and to a certain degree, things kind of make more sense.
I also would like to add that every time AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace, who conducted the interview, responds “right,” I smile and chuckle to myself.
Quick, it’s The Lightning Round of Insanity!
AP: It sounds like maybe you’re beginning to send a message that if you do get a spending bill that doesn’t have border funding in there, you would sign it.
TRUMP: Well, first of all, the wall will cost much less than the numbers I’m seeing. I’m seeing numbers, I mean, this wall is not going to be that expensive.
AP: What do you think the estimate on it would be?
TRUMP: Oh I’m seeing numbers — $24 billion, I think I’ll do it for $10 billion or less. That’s not a lot of money relative to what we’re talking about. If we stop 1 percent of the drugs from coming in — and we’ll stop all of it. But if we stop 1 percent of the drugs because we have the wall — they’re coming around in certain areas, but if you have a wall, they can’t do it because it’s a real wall. That’s a tremendously good investment, 1 percent. The drugs pouring through on the southern border are unbelievable. We’re becoming a drug culture, there’s so much. And most of it’s coming from the southern border. The wall will stop the drugs.
If he stops all the drugs coming in then what are going people going to take in order to make his ramblings make sense? Concerned citizens have the right to know.
AP: You think $10 billion or less.
TRUMP: I think $10 billion or less. And if I do a super-duper, higher, better, better security, everything else, maybe it goes a little bit more. But it’s not going to be anywhere near (those) kind of numbers. And they’re using those numbers; they’re using the high numbers to make it sound impalatable (sic). And the fact it’s going to cost much less money, just like the airplane I told you about, which I hope you can write about.
Calling something “super-duper” won’t have the same comedic effect if people can’t be on the drugs he’s stopping at the border. That’s just a fact.
AP: I just wonder if you are encouraging, you are the president of the United States, so to say that you worry that it encourages terrorists …
TRUMP: No, I am no different than — no, I think it discourages terrorists, I think it discourages. I think what we’ve done on the border discourages it. I think that my stance on having people come in to this country that we have no idea who they are and in certain cases you will have radical Islamic terrorism. I’m not going to have it in this country. I’m not going to let what happened to France and other places happen here. And it’s already largely, you know — we have tens — we have hundreds of thousands of people that have been allowed into our country that should not be here. They shouldn’t be here. We have people allowed into our country with no documentation whatsoever. They have no documentation and they were allowed under the previous administrations, they were allowed into our country. It’s a big mistake.
It’s cute because Trump realized he was President five words into his answer.
TRUMP: Yes. Yes. That’s our policy. I am not saying … long-term, we are going to have to fix the problem, the whole immigration problem. But I will tell you: Right now we have a great gentleman, one of my real stars is Gen. (John) Kelly, now (Homeland Security) Secretary Kelly.
“One of my real stars…” It’s like the old adage says, producing low-grade reality television never leaves you.
(An aide talks about the president’s address to Congress.)
TRUMP: A lot of the people have said that, some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber.
There it is. Proof that Jared Kushner does talk from time to time.
TRUMP: Although the election has, you know, look, the Democrats had a tremendous opportunity because the electoral college, as I said, is so skewed to them. You start off by losing in New York and California, no matter who it is. If, if Abe Lincoln came back to life, he would lose New York and he would lose California. It’s just the registration, there’s nothing you can do.
You think Lincoln would want to get into politics again after what happened last time? Please. He’d be just fine opening up his own law practice thank you very much.
And now, my favorite exchange of the entire interview and then I’m done.
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.
TRUMP: No, they treat me so badly. No, I just said that. No, I, what’d I say, I stopped watching them. But I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC. I don’t watch it. Now I heard yesterday that MSNBC, you know, they tell me what’s going on.