Donald Trump’s CNBC phone interview: The 27 most dubious lines

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I went through the transcript and picked out the Trump lines you need to see. They’re below.

1. “Well, I guess he’s not so brilliant. Look, without tariffs, we would be captive to every country, and we have been for many years.”

2. “I’m a member of the US Chamber — maybe I’ll have to rethink that, because when you look at it, the chamber is probably more for the companies and the people that are members than they are for our country.”

The President disagrees with the Chamber on the impact of tariffs so he publicly threatens to leave the group and then suggests they are only looking out for big companies rather than the broader country. Sure! Normal stuff!

3. “Because without tariffs, we would be absolutely, outside of something that I won’t even mention, we would be absolutely in a competitive disadvantage, the likes of which you’ve never seen.”

Wait, what is the “something” Trump won’t even mention? Is this like saying Voldemort’s name?

4. “Now, people haven’t used tariffs, but tariffs are a beautiful thing when you’re the piggy bank, when you have all the money.”

In sum: Tariffs are beautiful. But only when you are a piggy bank. And have “all the money.”

5. “And China will, in my opinion, based on a lot of facts and a lot of knowledge, China’s going to make a deal because they’re going to have to make a deal.”

Facts and knowledge, man. Facts and knowledge.

6. “I’m going to tell you that most people understand that the people having to do with borders and illegal immigration and immigration of any kind, they understand exactly what that is.”

[Nods head uncertainly]

7. “But this is something the US has been trying to get for over 20 years with Mexico. They’ve never been able to do it. As soon as I put tariffs on the table, it was done. It took two days.”

“The deal to avert tariffs that President Trump announced with great fanfare on Friday night consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months, according to officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations.” — The New York Times

8. “You know, we’ve picked up trillions of dollars in worth since I’ve been elected.”

This is true! But it lacks lots of context. Here’s that context via CNN’s business team:

“It’s true the nation’s net worth has grown by about that amount, according to the Federal Reserve. It rose to $101 trillion in the first quarter, up from $94 trillion in the same period a year earlier, when Trump took office. (The gain shrinks to just under $5 trillion if you adjust the figures for inflation.)

“However, the country was getting wealthier long before Trump’s presidency. After taking a beating during the Great Recession, net worth rocketed back. It rose by nearly $40 trillion during the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, or $31 trillion when adjusted for inflation.”

9. “Had a Democrat gotten in, namely, the one we’re talking about, China would have caught us by the end of her term.”

Wait, so Hillary Clinton is Voldemort here?

10. “They’ll never catch us. Not with what I’m doing. They’ll never catch us.”

“Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!” — The Gingerbread Man

11. “He put some of it on, but they didn’t put it on the way that they should have. So, you know, that was a little bit of the media.”

I think Trump is talking here about quotes his economic adviser Larry Kudlow gave in which he acknowledged that American importers, not the Chinese, will pay Trump’s tariffs. So, look, Kudlow “put some of it on but they didn’t put it on the way they should have.” Uh, OK?

12. “We have a Fed that raises interest rates the day before a bond issue goes out, so we have to pay more money. You tell me about that thinking, OK.”

“I am confident that with Jay as a wise steward of the Federal Reserve, it will have the leadership it needs in the years to come,” said Donald Trump, nominating Jerome Powell as the Chairman of the Fed in November 2017.

13. “We should be entitled to have a fair playing field, but even without a fair playing field — because our Fed is very, very destructive to us.”

Again: Trump hand-picked the current head of the Fed.

14. “I’m winning, but I’m not winning on a level table. If I had a table — don’t forget, the head of the Fed in China is President Xi.”

My kingdom for a level table! (Side note: There is NOTHING worse that sitting down at an uneven table at a restaurant. Maddening.)

15. “We’re doing — but I just want to say to the United States Chamber of Commerce, if we didn’t have tariffs, we wouldn’t have made a deal with Mexico.”

“The deal to avert tariffs that President Trump announced with great fanfare on Friday night consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months, according to officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations.” — The New York Times

16. “Nobody’s going to be able to get through. And then they’re also going to protect our southern border.”

Trump is arguing here that with Mexico sending troops to stop people entering from Central America that “nobody’s going to be able to get through.” But I thought only the border wall could fix that problem…

17. “It’s a very simple — it is a simple stat. [President Xi is] for China, I am for the US, so we are going to have our differences.”

[Narrator voice] This isn’t a “stat.”

18. “I can tell you they discriminate against me.”

The President of the United States, without citing any evidence, claiming that the big technology companies are biased against him. Sure!

19. “You know, people talk about collusion. The real conclusion is between the Democrats and these companies.”

Wait, wait. I thought the real collusion was between Democrats and the Russians? Is this collusion even more real?

20. “We are not fools anymore. We are not the foolish country that does so badly.”

Trump 2020 slogan: Won’t get fooled again!

21. “I’m a budget cutter and I have cut the budget.”

Trump’s proposed budget this year — $4.75 trillion — was the largest in American history. So….

22.'”I am very much of a cost cutter. I want to have a great budget.”

See No. 21.

23. “I got the plane cost down a lot.”

“The plane.”

24. “Well, there’s something going on.”

This conspiratorial answer from Trump is in response to this question: “Mr. President, the treatment of you, set aside with Google and Facebook, just in terms of market size and market dominance, do you think that there is a monopoly antitrust problems with those big companies?” What, specifically, is Trump talking about “going on?” Does he even know?

25. “This country is allowing this French wine which is great, we have great wine, too, allowing it to come in for nothing. It is not fair. And you know what, it’s not fair. We’ll do something about it.”

French wine is great.

26. “We are leading in everything.”

[Does quick check of leaderboard for “everything”] Yeah, this checks out.

27. “We are — if you look at China, China, as great as they are and they are great, they are near the capability of our geniuses in Silicon Valley that walk around in undershirts and they were not $2 billion a piece.”

Wait, people walk around in $2 billion undershirts? Or they don’t? Either way — our geniuses are better than China’s geniuses. This feels like a good place to end.



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