Lost in Thursday’s “shithole” shitstorm was a Wall Street Journal interview with Donald Trump that happened to hit around the same time as the Washington Post article detailing the President’s “tough” language on Latin and African immigrants.
As you’re probably aware, the Journal (and more specifically, Gerard Baker) has been variously criticized for adopting an absurdly biased editorial line when it comes to Trump. According to multiple reports, that’s sparked a veritable “civil war” at the paper.
One particularly egregious episode involved Baker actually taking the byline on a Trump interview, a decision that was variously lampooned by other media outlets. You can read the full story on that here.
The issue for Baker when it comes to Trump interviews is that there’s no disguising the crazy, no matter how bad you want to and Thursday’s interview was no exception.
There was this on Kim Jong-Un (with whom Trump is engaged in an ongoing war of words that threatens to escalate into a literal nuclear at the drop of a tweet):
I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un. I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised.
There was this on whether he still thinks Mexico is going to pay for the border wall:
They can pay for it indirectly through Nafta.
Asked if he could definitively say that he would never patch things up with Steve Bannon, Trump said he doesn’t know what words are:
I don’t know what the word permanent means.
And then there was Trump explaining how his combative tweets are actually the way he makes friends. He claimed that while he could only cite 20 examples of this strategy working, “you” could cite 30:
You’ll see that a lot with men. And then all of the sudden somebody’s my best friend. I could give you 20 examples. You could give me 30. I’m a very flexible person.
Yes, Trump is “a very flexible person.” A “flexible,” “stable”, “genius.”
But as batshit as all of those quotes (which appear in the edited version of the interview) are, the full transcript is straight up, padded cell nuts.
Asked by the Journal if he believes Kim is “trying to drive a wedge between America and South Korea,” Trump initially said he’d have to “let [the Journal] know within the next 12 months” (as if that answer makes any kind of sense in the context of the question), but unable to help himself, he elaborated as follows:
The difference is I’m president; other people aren’t. And I know more about wedges than any human being that’s ever lived, but I’ll let you know.
Pressed for more color on how Mexico is
definitely not going to pay for the wall, Trump had this to say:
Let me, let me tell you something about the wall. So I’ve always said we have to have a wall. I’ve also said Mexico’s got to pay for it—sometimes you know on occasion, I’d add who’s going to pay for it? Mexico. Well they will pay for it, OK? There are many forms of payment. I could name 10 right now. There are many forms of payment.
The other thing…so the wall. The wall’s never meant to be 2,100 miles long. We have mountains that are far better than a wall, we have violent rivers that nobody goes near.
If you have a wall this thick and it’s solid concrete from ground to 32 feet high which is a high wall, much higher than people planned. You go 32 feet up and you don’t know who’s over here. You’re here, you’ve got the wall and there’s some other people here.
I don’t have to because the wall is the same wall I’ve always talked about. I can understand why I have to have see-through.
If I’m standing here, I want to be able to see 200 yards out. I want to be able to see, I don’t want to have a piece of concrete that I can’t see.
This is going to be state of the art wall; this will be state of the art. But, I can fully understand why you’d have to have vision. I’d like to be able to see three or four hundred yards instead of we’re at a wall we have no idea who’s on the other side. Does this make sense or am I just wasting my time.
Here is the Journal’s one-word response to that: “Yes.”
The highlight of the whole thing comes when the Journal asks Trump “why he thinks it is” that he gets such bad press. Here is Trump’s answer, verbatim:
They dislike me, the liberal media dislikes me. I mean I watch people—I was always the best at what I did, I was the—I was, you know, I went to the—I went to the Wharton School of Finance, did well. I went out, I—I started in Brooklyn, in a Brooklyn office with my father, I became one of the most successful real-estate developers, one of the most successful business people. I created maybe the greatest brand.
I then go into, in addition to that, part-time, like five percent a week, I open up a television show. As you know, the Apprentice on many evenings was the number one show on all of television, a tremendous success. It went on for 12 years, a tremendous success. They wanted to sign me for another three years and I said, no, I can’t do that.
That’s one of the reasons NBC hates me so much. NBC hates me so much they wanted—they were desperate to sign me for—for three more years.
Just—and so—so I was successful, successful, successful. I was always the best athlete, people don’t know that. But I was successful at everything I ever did and then I run for president, first time—first time, not three times, not six times. I ran for president first time and lo and behold, I win. And then people say oh, is he a smart person? I’m smarter than all of them put together, but they can’t admit it. They had a bad year.
So you know, when you read all of that, you might be inclined to think that this is a person who should be institutionalized. But before you jump to any conclusions, just remember that Trump is “smarter than all of [you] put together, but [you] can’t admit it.”