While former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was busy getting convicted in Alexandria, Virginia, Michael Cohen was similarly indisposed some 240 miles away in New York, where the President’s notorious fixer pleaded guilty to eight counts including campaign finance violations.
Where was Donald Trump during the worst day of his presidency? Well, he was on Air Force One heading to a rally in Charleston, West Virginia.
The raucous event unfolded in front of an almost exclusively white crowd and found Trump leaning on familiar talking points that he believes play well when it comes to whipping the base into an anti-progressive, anti-establishment frenzy.
He kicked things off by criticizing NFL players who he again accused of attacking “our beautiful, beautiful national anthem”.
Trump didn’t mention Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, presumably because he didn’t have time to figure out what he could say that wouldn’t further implicate him a list of crimes that grows longer seemingly by the week, but he did talk about collusion a bit.
“Fake news, and the Russian witch hunt”, Trump said, taunting the media before adding the following:
Where is the collusion? You know they’re still looking for collusion. Where is the collusion? Find us some collusion. We want to find the collusion.
He did concede that “fake news” is better than no news, where no news would entail him shutting down unfriendly media outlets, something a disconcerting percentage of Republican voters are now on board with.
“I’d rather have fake news then have anybody — including liberal socialists, anything — then have anybody stopped and censored,” he said. Of course he doesn’t mean that, but it’s the thought that counts, so thanks, Mr. President. Although really, that’s just him implicitly chiding social media for shutting down folks like Alex Jones.
All of that was just par for the already crazy course, but it would subsequently get immeasurably more bizarre.
On Tuesday, the EPA unveiled plans to permit states to set their own emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants. Obviously, anything that’s “good” for coal will play well in West Virginia, so that was the backdrop for the rally. Well at one point, Trump claimed that a good argument against wind power is that if the United States is ever invaded, the would-be conquerers would find windmills to be easier targets than “indestructible” coal. Here’s the President to explain:
Believe it or not, that wasn’t the most bizarre thing the President said at the event – not even close.
In the course of explaining how lawmakers need to be more patient when it comes to the administration’s trade policies, Trump attempted to invoke a story about his mother cooking Turkey. That went about like you’d think it would go. Have a listen.
The President would go on to talk a bit about auto tariffs and how unfair the current set up is for U.S. manufacturers. In order to drive the point home, he quite literally made up a story about a Chinese man shouting at another Chinese man about Camaros at a stop light in Beijing. Here’s that clip:
Finally, in the coup de covfefe, Trump said this:
No arguments there, sir.