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The 36 most head-scratching lines from Donald Trump’s Japan press conference

Posted at 11:12 AM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 14:41:20-04

Amid a whirlwind tour of Asia that was highlighted by Donald Trump taking 20 steps into North Korea, the President took questions from the traveling press corps during a stop in Osaka, Japan.

You probably missed it — because it was in the middle of the night for most Americans. But you shouldn’t miss it — as Trump touched on a wide variety of subjects from busing to western liberalism to, well, everything else that was on his mind. I went through the transcript and pulled the best lines; they’re below.

1. “I want to thank everyone for being here today. That’s a lot of press. A lot of press is outside, too. They’re less happy than you are.”

Many people say this is the most press to cover a President in late June 2019 ever. Believe me. And away we go!

2. “Prime Minister Abe has done an incredible job, as he always does. And he hosted it very beautifully.”

Here’s 21 things Donald Trump has called “beautiful,” including sleeping gas.

3. “You fly over and you say, ‘Does it ever stop?’ It’s big. It’s beautiful. It’s clean.”

Japan: It’s nonstop. It’s big. It’s beautiful. And clean! This is the stuff of travel brochures (do those even exist anymore?)

4. “You probably saw that Ivanka Trump was — she’s done a fantastic job, and also a fantastic job in getting jobs for a lot of people within our country — almost 10 million people.”

The fact that the first person in the administration that Trump singled out for praise was his eldest daughter is, um, something. Also, this sentence isn’t a sentence.

5. “[Mexico’s] immigration laws are very strong. Ours are a disaster. Ours are a disgrace to our country.”

Just the President of the United States running down his own country while on foreign soil. Normal stuff! All good!

6. “We could get rid of and fix the loopholes, but we could get rid of the loopholes, and we would have absolutely no problem at the border.”

So, let me get this straight: We could get rid of loopholes? I think that’s what I am getting here.

7. “And a lot of wall is being built, and, again, Mexico is doing a real job.”

[narrator voice] “A lot” of the wall has not been built.

8. “I think Canada is happy, but they’re not happy like we’re happy, but they’re very happy.”

“Canada: Not happy like the US is happy” has potential as a future slogan for our neighbors to the north. Also, Happy Canada Day!

9. “And hopefully it will be a bipartisan deal. I view that.”

Trump is specifically talking here about the USMCA trade deal. But what’s really important is his phrase, “I view that.” Which, I think, he means something like “I ship that.” Here’s the takeaway: I am going to start saying, “I view that” a lot more often.

10. “And it’s a very big deal. It’s a very big deal. And it’s a great deal. Tremendous support.”

Trump is talking about the USMCA here. Which is a very, very big and great deal.

11. “So we spend a lot of time with a lot of countries. We do business with a lot of them. Australia is an example.”

“Richard Gere’s a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who’s a hero. The music he’s created over the years, I don’t really listen to it, but the fact that he’s making it, I respect that.” — Hansel

12. “We’re the hot show. We’re the hottest show in town. We’re the hottest show in the world right now.”

“Hansel! So how right now” — Jacobim Mugatu (And, yes, I know that makes two straight “Zoolander” references. It’s just a GREAT movie, OK?)

13. “Because the people that own the stock, it’s not the big companies; it’s the people with 401(k)s whose numbers are at 60% and 70% and 42%, and all different numbers that are tremendously high — where the other spouse thinks that the spouse that’s investing in the 401(k) is a super genius. But those 401(k)s are very high.”

Oh yes, this is all eloquently stated and makes perfect sense.

14. “Let them go have a good time. But it’s been very interesting to watch what’s happening. Actually, I found it very interesting.”

This is Trump on the 2020 Democratic debates. I view this.

15. “These are American companies, John, that make product. And that’s very complex, by the way. Highly scientific.”

Product. Highly scientific product.

16. “I mean it’s almost like we had people that they didn’t either care or they were stupid. But that’s the kind of deals we have.”

Reminder: This is a US President on foreign soil referring to past presidents as either careless or stupid (or both!)

17. “Well, I did say it. You’re to have to take a look at the words. I did say it.”

This is Trump seemingly suggesting that his joking “don’t meddle in our elections” comment to Russian President Vladimir Putin was actually meant — or taken — seriously. It wasn’t, and it wasn’t.

18. “Okay, Jimmy Carter — look, he was a nice man. He was a terrible president.”

Modern day presidential.”

19. “I went to Michigan the night of the vote. I had 32,000 people at 1 o’clock in the morning on Election Day. I won Michigan. I won Wisconsin. I won Pennsylvania.”

The 2016 election ended 965 days ago.

20. “I don’t really care about offending people.”

Fact check: TRUE!

21. “At the same time, I will also say — and nobody said — nobody, so far, has pointed directly a finger at the future King of Saudi Arabia.”

Khashoggi killing: ‘Credible evidence’ Saudi crown prince responsible, UN expert says

22. “You know, we have a tremendous ripe field of tremendous money that would be coming into our country.”

I read this four times. It has something — I think — to do with Chinese tariffs? Also tremendously ripe fields of tremendous money.

23. “I love them. And they sort of love me, I guess, when you get right down to it.”

Donald Trump, after much cajoling, is willing to admit that farmers really do love him.

24. ” It’s very hard to — he follows my Twitter.”

BREAKING: Kim Jong Un views Donald Trump on Twitter! (See what I did there?)

25. “I get along with him and I get along with other people.”

Same, basically.

26. “Well, it has been something that they’ve done for a long period of time. I mean, you know, there aren’t that many ways you’re going to get people to schools.”

So, the President is asked how he feels about the busing system used in the 1970s and 1980s as a means to integrate schools. Trump’s answer suggests he has NO idea about that policy, which came up as an issue during the first Democratic debate last week. Instead, Trump notes that school buses are an effective way to transport children to school. Which, uh, OK? On a related note: The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round…

27. “But it is certainly a primary method of getting people to schools.”

… all through the town!

28. “You know, the Rio Grande is a very tough — you know, that has moments where it can be very calm and then all of a sudden it becomes totally violent and people get swept away.”

Donald Trump, potamologist.

29. “The other reason children are coming up is because we had a separation policy. OK? Under President Obama, we had separation.”

This is inaccurate. The reason we have the number of families separated at the border is because Trump — via then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions — enforced a zero-tolerance policy for people entering illegally. Fact.

30. “The Army now has beautiful new things.”

Here’s 21 things Donald Trump has called “beautiful” including chocolate cake.

31. “You know we’ve talked about it before. You know he denies it totally, by the way. Just to — I mean, how many times can you get somebody to deny something? But he has, in the past, denied it. He’s denied it also publicly.”

It’s remarkable that Trump is unwilling to believe his own intelligence community and Justice Department regarding Russia’s active interference in the election but is MORE than happy to believe the denials of Putin. Because he’s totally an honest broker in all of this…

32. “And yet, no obstruction, no collusion. And, you know, that was good report.”

“(I)f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. … Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” — The Mueller Report

33. “We have the cleanest water we’ve ever had. We have the cleanest air. You saw the reports come out recently. We have the cleanest air we’ve ever had.”

[narrator voice] We don’t.

34. “You have a lot of strategies. I have five different strategies. I could change any moment.”

Same.

35. “I did mention it to him very strongly, and he answered very strongly.”

In which Trump says he brought up the murder of Jamal Khashoggi with Saudi Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman “strongly” and that the Crown Prince answered the question “strongly.” I don’t know what any of that means.

36. “And I guess, if you look at what’s happening in Los Angeles, where it’s so sad to look; and what’s happening in San Francisco and a couple of other cities which are run by an extraordinary group of liberal people — I don’t know what they’re thinking.”

Brace yourself on this one. Trump was asked about Putin’s comments that “western style liberalism” was becoming obsolete. What Putin was suggesting, of course, that the rights-of-the-individual-focused approach of the US and Europe was giving way to the more authoritarian style of governance typified by Russia. Trump heard (or understood) Putin’s comments to be about liberals on the West Coast. All normal stuff! Nothing to see here, folks! Also, this feels like a very good place to end. I view it.