Faced with coronavirus surges in some of the largest states in the country and a public turning dramatically against how he has responded to the crisis, President Donald Trump spent 40 minutes of his Thursday night on the phone with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
The "interview" was, as is so often the case when Hannity and Trump talk, a grievance session -- as the President used Hannity's friendly forum to paint a version of reality that doesn't comport with, well, reality.
I went through the transcript and pulled out the lines you need to see. They're below.
1. "And we can't abolish our police. They want to abolish our police."
"No, I don't support defunding the police." -- Joe Biden. And away we go!
2. "I was very nice to Mayor de Blasio. I got him ventilators when he needed them. I got him hospital help when he needed it. I got him everything he needed. I got him the gowns. I got him the masks. I got him everything, the shields. I got that man everything."
3. "Then he throws a big Black Lives Matter sign right down in the middle of Fifth Avenue. And all merchants along Fifth Avenue are furious. They are furious. And the whole city is furious."
It's not clear to me where Trump got the evidence that either retailers on 5th Avenue or the "whole city" of New York is "furious" at de Blasio's decision to paint "Black Lives Matter" on the street.
4. "But I was so good to him and to Governor Cuomo, like nobody has ever been good. And all you end up doing out of that place is get prosecuted and have a lot of trouble."
So, Trump seems to be suggesting that because his administration helped Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo deal with the coronavirus in their city and state that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance should not be investigating the hush money paid to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 election. Or something?
5. "So, New York is not the place that it was. Everyone's leaving. They're moving to Florida."
"Everyone's leaving." On a related note, that quote reminds me of this one from "Spinal Tap" band manager Ian Faith: "The Boston gig has been canceled. ...Yeah. I wouldn't worry about it though, it's not a big college town."
6. "I think they -- you know, there is an expression, an old expression, was used badly in old time ago in politics. I think they brainwashed him. They brainwashed him. He doesn't know where he is. He doesn't know what he's doing."
OK, so the President of the United States is suggesting that his general election opponent -- a former vice president of the United States -- has been unwittingly brainwashed by liberals. A sort of "Manchurian" candidate. Sure! Very normal stuff!
7. "He hasn't taken any cognitive test, because he couldn't pass one."
How does Trump know that a) Biden hasn't taken any sort of cognitive test and b) he couldn't pass one? He doesn't!
8. "I actually took one when I -- very recently, when I -- when I was -- the radical left were saying, is he all there? Is he all there? And I proved I was all there, because I got -- I aced it. I aced the test."
Wait, WHAT? We know that Trump took a 10-minute cognitive test at Walter Reed hospital in January 2018 but the White House has not disclosed any more recent testing of Trump's mental capacity. A memo from the White House physician released last month made no mention that Trump had undergone any sort of cognitive test during his most recent physical.
9. "I took it at Walter Reed Medical Center in front of doctors. And they were very surprised. They said, that's an unbelievable thing. Rarely does anybody do what you just did."
Trump always has to be the best at everything. Always. Forever.
10. "He has been totally taken over, and I think it's because he doesn't understand what's going on."
Trump, again, questions Biden's mental acuity. With no evidence or proof.
11. "I think we are doing very well in the polls. I think, if you look at the different states, I think we are doing very well. We are rapidly rising."
An ABC News-Ipsos poll released on Friday morning showed that 67% of the public disapproves of how Trump is handling the coronavirus pandemic. A look at recent national polling suggests that Trump is somewhere between 8 to 12 points behind Biden in hypothetical general election match-ups.
12. "We have tremendous Hispanic support. We have tremendous African American support. I think we have great support, period."
In CNN's June poll, Trump's job approval among people of color was 26%. Among African Americans, it was 10%. So, yeah, "tremendous." Definitely.
13. "Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes, like, you don't have to ban them coming in from very infected China. I did it anyway, and we saved hundreds of thousands of lives."
The takeaway? Donald Trump, who is not a medical doctor, knows more about this virus and has made more right calls on it than Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has run the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1984 -- and served under six presidents. Ooooooookkkk.
14. "They have been wrong about a lot of things, including face masks. Maybe they are wrong, maybe not. But a lot of them said, don't wear a mask, don't wear a mask. And now they are saying, wear a mask."
Wait. Is Trump saying that we now should be wearing masks? Or no? I don't think he knows, honestly. He just wanted to take a shot at the so-called experts who said not to wear a mask in the early days of the coronavirus.
15. "And we are testing and creating -- it's the greatest thing that ever happen for the opposite party, but we are doing something that nobody has ever done to the extent, and we are doing a great job."
In which the President of the United States says, publicly, that increased testing for a global pandemic is good for his political opponents -- presumably because more cases will be found? Like, WHAT?
16. "They -- in most -- most cases, in almost -- I mean, literally, in most cases, they automatically cure. They automatically get better."
People with coronavirus "automatically" get better? Uh, no.
17. "But I think it's fine to wear a mask, if it makes you feel comfortable."
Also because it is BY FAR the most effective way to limit the spread of Covid-19!
18. "I don't think you need one you're tested all the time, everybody around you is tested, you're quite a distance. You talk about social distancing. You're away."
Donald Trump on masks -- still not getting it.
19. "And he makes a speech. And he walks onto the stage wearing this massive mask. There's nobody on the stage. And then he takes it off. He likes to have it hang off usually the left ear. I think it makes him feel good, frankly, if you want to know the truth. And I guess that's OK."
Oh man! Biden wears a mask!
20. "And I'm OK with it, if he wants to do that. He's got the largest mask I think I have ever seen. It covers up a big proportion of his face."
Biden is trying to protect himself and model proper public health behavior for others. HA HA HA HA HA.
21. "Yes, I think, if I'm in the right setting, if I'm with soldiers, people that -- I don't want to spread anything."
Wait but didn't Trump just say that he definitely doesn't have coronavirus? Because he gets tested all the time? So what would he be spreading by not wearing a mask during his visit to Walter Reed on Saturday?
22. "And it's -- a lot of it is, it's you spreading, not them spreading."
Offered without comment.
23 ."Now, I'm usually fairly isolated, as the President, so I'm fairly isolated."
He's talking about his exposure to coronavirus. I think.
24. "Well, a ship ventilation system is very much -- they circularize. And they are very much under review, to be honest with you."
[looks around room slowly]
25. "So, I mean, they treat -- the IRS treats me just like they used to treat the Tea Party, except worse. And I'm under tax audit. I have been for a long period of time."
By my count, Trump has been saying publicly that he is under audit by the IRS since February 2016. Which, well, that's one hell of a long audit. Also: You can release your tax returns while under audit! Richard Nixon did it!
26. "We had a deal done. In fact, it was -- I guess it was signed even. And once I ran or once I won, or somewhere back a long time ago, everything was like, well, let's start all over again. It's a disgrace."
So, if I am reading this right, Trump said he had a "deal" with the IRS on his taxes before he ran for office? And that the IRS backed out of the deal after he won? That seems like something we should know more about!
27. "Well, first of all, President Obama and Joe Biden spied on my campaign. They knew everything that was going on."
28. "I know how the White House works, I guess I can say now, better than anybody."
Always. Has. To. Be. The. Best.
29. "They spied on my campaign. I said it a long time ago. Nobody believed me. And now it turns out to be fact."
30. "As far as General Flynn, he's a great hero. He's a great gentleman. What they are doing to that man, they have destroyed that man."
"My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel's Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions." -- Michael Flynn
31. "Roger Stone was treated very unfairly, unbelievably unfairly."
Roger Stone was convicted by a jury of his peers of lying to Congress and witness tampering in relation to Russia's interference in the 2016 election. He was, in fact, found guilty on all 7 counts brought by the Justice Department.
32. "I am always thinking. I am always thinking."
33. "He knew everything. He was probably in charge of it or was in charge of it. Joe Biden, you know, I don't know if he knows where he is, but he was there. He knew everything."
In which Trump suggests -- with zero evidence -- that the former President of the United States was the ringleader of a massive spying operation against him in the 2016 election. A spying campaign, I'd add, that has been debunked.
34. "And the vets are loving Trump."
No one goes third person like Donald Trump goes third person!
35. "We need more judges and more justices. You see that now with the Supreme Court more than ever. And the next president -- I have had two -- and the next president is going to be able to pick two or three or one or whatever, but a lot of justices."
Reminder: Of the 9 current Supreme Court Justices, five were appointed by Republican presidents -- including Chief Justice John Roberts.
36. "And we have many things we are doing and many things that we have already completed. And you can't do more than what we have done."
[does a series of complex mathematical calculations] Yeah, this checks out.
37. "Well, I like his voice being heard, but he's always going to be for us. I mean, he's going to be for us."
"I am taking the red hat off, with this interview." -- Kanye West, July 8
38. "And we are not going to be Venezuela."
This feels like a good place to end.