Trump: ‘I think I am a great moral leader’
A question about the rise in hate crimes and anti-semitic incidents during the Trump presidency.
Trump replies that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called him a great friend of Israel. “Nobody has done more for Isreal than Donald Trump.”
An irrelevant answer. The reporter tries again: What about divides in US?
A second irrelevant answer. Trump says the strong economy will help then starts dispensing economic statistics. “China would have superseded us in two years as an economic power, now they’re not even close.”
Then he riffs on China.
The reporter tries again: How do you see yourself as a moral leader?
I think I am a great moral leader, and I love our country.
Trump: “I’d be very good at a low tone, but when things are done not correctly about you… you have to defend yourself…when you’re not treated fairly you really have no choice.”
Trump seems to be enjoying himself. Reflecting on his job, mixing it up a bit with reporters, taking question after question. Soaking up the attention, presidenting.
A Japanese reporter asks a question and Trump says he doesn’t understand the accent but the reporter should “say hello to Shinzo.”
Trump advances a voter suppression conspiracy theory in some elections polling.
“There were victories last night that nobody would believe, especially under the suppression polls, there were a lot of suppression polls.”
Trump is asked whether the pitched emotional tenor that has defined the national discourse, the dark national mood and incidents of violence might be put in the past.
He takes it as a question about the media. “If they would cover me fairly, which they don’t…
“I would love to see unity, including with the media. I’d be honest. I think it’s an amazingly divisive thing… It really does bring disunity.”
Then he barks down a reporter trying to ask a question. “Excuse me, you were not called on.”
Trump predicts “much less gridlock” after the loss of the Republican House majority.
“I think it was a great victory… I really believe there is going to be much less gridlock because of the way this is going.”
Your own party losing its majority easing gridlock on Capitol Hill.
Since you’re here … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help.
The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our Editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important because it enables us to give a voice to the voiceless, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as £۱, you can support the Guardian – and it only takes a minute. Make a contribution. – Guardian HQ
Trump touts ‘very close to complete victory’
Trump is asked about last night’s losses, which he denies, then says they were a good thing:
I thought it was a very close to complete victory. When you look at it from the standpoint of negotiation. When you look at it from the standpoint of dealmaking.
Trump on Russia inquiry: ‘I could fire everybody right now’
Trump is asked whether he’ll ask Mike Pence to be his running mate in 2020. He calls on Pence to stand up and hands him the vice president rose (verbally) which Pence accepts. Trump-Pence 2020.
Back to Russia:
“I could fire everybody right now, but I don’t want to stop it, because politically I don’t want to stop it…. I could end it right now. I could say that investigation is over. It’s a disgrace. It’s an embarrassment to our country.”
Trump’s election take: ‘I think people like me’
Trump is asked what he learned from the election result.
I think people like me. I think people like the job I’m doing.
Trump is yelling at reporters including April Ryan to sit down.
Now Trump calls on a woman reporter who asks him whether the election of two Muslim American women to Congress represents a rejection of his message.
Trump says employment numbers for minorities are high.
Representative Ryan Costello, one of the incumbent Republican losers called out by Trump, describes having to bite his lip “more times” and says he is angered to his core:
Trump attacks CNN reporter as ‘rude, terrible person’
Trump is challenged by CNN on his [Trump’s] characterization of migrants in Central America as an “invasion.”
Did you demonize immigrants as a political ploy?
Trump denies it. He says the migrants were an “invasion.”
Jim Acosta of CNN points out Trump’s campaign had an ad of migrants climbing a wall. “They weren’t actors,” Trump says.
“I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN,” Trump says.
Trump says he’s not concerned about Russia because it’s a hoax.
Then he attacks Acosta who is trying to ask a follow up.
“CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a very rude .. person.. the way you treat Sarah Huckabee is…”
Now Acosta and Trump are in a war of words. Trump says CNN is fake news and as such the enemy of the people.
The room falls briefly into chaos before the Q&A rubric is re-established.
Trump is asked what he’d do if the Democrats try to obtain his tax returns.
He says “people don’t understand tax returns” and his returns are super complicated and processed by top firms and besides summaries he’s submitted (?) are more comprehensive.
Also his company is huge and continuously under audit – the same excuse he was making two years ago: “And it is a very big company, far bigger than you would even understand.”
“Nobody turns over a return when you’re under audit,” Trump says – as if it ever comes up.
Question about Jeff Sessions’ future.
“I’d rather answer that at a little different time. We’re looking at a lot of different things including Cabinet… for the most part I’m extremely happy with my cabinet. I think Mike Pompeo fit in beautifully.”
How about your interior secretary?
“We’re looking at that.”
Trump promises retaliation for oversight
Trump opens it for questions.
First question is about bipartisanship. “Do you really believe given what the relationship has been like that that will happen?”
Trump: “I think there’s a very good chance that it will happen.”
Will you have to compromise? Will you be subpoenaed?
“If that happens,” Trump says, “then we’re going to do the same thing, and government comes to a halt, and I would blame them.”
Trump invites ‘beautiful bipartisan type of situation’
“It really could be a beautiful bipartisan type of situation,” Trump says. “We have a lot of things in common on infrastructure … healthcare. There are a lot of great things we could do together.”
Trump says loss in House opens ‘much easier path’
Trump says he gives Nancy Pelosi “a great deal of credit”.
“Hopefully we can all work together,” he says. He names infrastructure, trade, prescription drug costs …
“If the Republicans won and let’s say we held on by two or one or three, it would have been very hard” to hold a majority, he says. “That puts us in a very bad position. In other words, had we kept … it puts us in a very tough position.”
He does not seem to understand the nature of congressional leadership and the majority party’s ability to run committees, conduct oversight and advance a legislative agenda.
“Now we have a much easier path because the Democrats will come to us … and we’ll negotiate.”
Then his biggest whopper yet: “The Democrats stick together well.”
“I really respect what Nancy said last night about bipartisanship and … uniting.
“I can see it being extremely good politically because I think I’m better at that than they are.”
“In the House Republicans dramatically outperformed historical precedents,” Trump falsely says. It’s possible to point to worse midterm elections for Republicans in the House but not recently.
Trump says the governor’s races were great too, which is hard to square with the fact of the Democrats’ having picked up seven statehouses but voilà.
The voters “clearly rebuked the Senate Democrats for their handling of the Kavanaugh hearing”, Trump says, which is a theory Republicans are clearly excited about this morning.
Trump says “great judges excelled … we have a list of people that were fantastic”.