“When we released that conversation, all hell broke out with the Democrats because they said, ‘wait a minute, this is much different than Schiff told us'”, Donald Trump said, in Davos, where he decided to hold a press conference on Wednesday, apparently for the sole purpose of venting his frustrations.
The president was attempting – again – to suggest that somehow, the White House’s decision to release a rough transcript of his July 25 call with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky was a stroke of strategic genius.
In fact, it was a misstep of historic proportions. The transcript, despite being released by Trump himself, validated the whistleblower complaint. Far from “all hell breaking loose” among Democrats, most lawmakers seemed shocked that the White House didn’t understand why their own account of the call was received so poorly. In other words, the following (from Wednesday’s presser in Davos) is a complete, and total lie.
We cannot emphasize this enough: There is nothing even remotely true about that. That transcript is one of the key pieces of evidence in the case against this president. And he released it himself.
Trump was visibly irritated on Wednesday, which makes you wonder why he bothered to speak to the press. Until you remember that sometimes, press conferences are simply an outlet for the president to blow off steam. It’s the non-physical equivalent of an abusive husband who comes home and beats his wife out of pent-up frustration with co-workers he can’t assault.
Here’s a lengthy harangue that gives you a sense of the proceedings:
“This is the greatest — witch hunt — this started the day I came down the escalator with the First Lady”, Trump lamented.
Among other things, he also told reporters that additions to the travel ban will be announced soon (that was tipped earlier this week), that John Bolton can’t testify in the Senate trial (because it would be a “national security problem”), that Mike Pompeo can’t testify either (same rationale) and that Rudy Giuliani is a quality individual.
“Mr. President, a question on Iran”, a reporter called out.
“You said repeatedly to Americans that after Iran retaliated for the Soleimani strike, no Americans were injured. We now know at least 11 service members were airlifted from Iraq. Can you explain?”, she wondered.
“No. I heard that they had headaches. I can say — I can report it’s not very serious”, Trump chided.
“You don’t consider a potential traumatic brain injury serious?”, the reporter pressed.
“Ah, you’d have to ask DoD”, Trump responded. “No, I don’t consider them very serious compared to other injuries I’ve seen”.
At the outset, Trump claimed he’s created “at least” $19 trillion in “wealth” for “our country”. He repeatedly used the word “here” in conjunction with boasts about the US. At times, he seemed completely unaware that he was, in fact, in Switzerland.
Trump spoke in front of a “World Economic Forum” curtain. “Committed to improving the state of the world”, it read.