Donald Trump’s 16 Craziest Ramblings from His Interview with Face the NationPhoto by Alex Wong/Getty Media Lists Donald Trump
In what is becoming a weekly occurrence in Paste’s media section, Donald Trump gave an absolutely insane interview—this week on CBS’ Face the Nation with John Dickerson—and we parsed through it to bring you the best moments (or worst, given how you want to look at it, you can check out last week’s summary of his interview with the Associated Press here). Here are the 16 craziest excerpts from his interview on Sunday morning.
1. I guess he’s technically right even if, well, just read the tweet below.
JOHN DICKERSON: Mr. President, you and the administration said to North Korea, “Don’t test a missile.” They have tested a missile. Is the pressure not working?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I didn’t say, “Don’t test a missile.” He’s going to have to do what he has to do.
North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
2. I’m not convinced that he knows what the word “happy” means.
JOHN DICKERSON: You say, “Not happy.” What does that mean?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I would not be happy. If he does a nuclear test, I will not be happy. And I can tell you also, I don’t believe that the president of China, who is a very respected man, will be happy either.
JOHN DICKERSON: Not happy mean military action?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.
3. Trump continued his trend of saying nicer things about murderous dictators than our closest allies.
JOHN DICKERSON: What do you make of the North Korean leader?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I have — I really, you know, have no comment on him. People are saying, “Is he sane?” I have no idea. I can tell you this, and a lot of people don’t like when I say it, but he was a young man of 26 or 27 when he took over from his father, when his father died. He’s dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular the generals and others.
And at a very young age, he was able to assume power. A lot of people, I’m sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it. So obviously, he’s a pretty smart cookie.
4. I, I mean, just…like…well, but…um, maybe…ugh. My head hurts.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: …You know, it’s very funny when the fake media goes out, you know, which we call the mainstream media which sometimes, I must say, is you.
JOHN DICKERSON: You mean me personally or?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, your show. I love your show. I call it Deface the Nation. But, you know, your show is sometimes not exactly correct. But when they talk about currency manipulation, and I did say I would call China, if they were, a currency manipulator, early in my tenure. And then I get there. Number one, they — as soon as I got elected, they stopped. They’re not — it’s not going down anymore, their currency.
JOHN DICKERSON: But that had been true before. That had been true—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No.
JOHN DICKERSON: —during the campaign, sir.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, not true to the extent that we’re talking about. Much more important than that, as to when, but, you know, it did stop. And I was talking about it all during the campaign. And I would say that I was the one that got them to stop. But forget that.
JOHN DICKERSON: You were the one who got China—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: He is working with us—
JOHN DICKERSON: —to stop manipulating their currency?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think so, during the campaign I talked about.
JOHN DICKERSON: Even if they were doing it before?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, they were doing it before. I mean, there was no question. I mean, they were absolute currency manipulators before. But somebody said, “Oh, you didn’t call him a currency manipulator.” Now, you and I are just talking about how he’s working — I believe that President Xi is working to try and resolve a very big problem, for China also.
And that’s North Korea. Can you imagine if I say, “Hey, by the way, how are you doing with North Korea? Also, we’re going to announce that you’re a currency manipulator tomorrow.” So the mainstream media never talks about that. They never say that. And that’s, you know, unfortunate. It’s just—
JOHN DICKERSON: Let me—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: —it’s just one of many things, John.
5. The truth hidden under this layer of crazy is that Trump hasn’t learned anything in 100 days.
JOHN DICKERSON: What do you know now on day 100 that you wish you knew on day one of the presidency?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, one of the things that I’ve learned is how dishonest the media is, really. I’ve done things that are I think very good. I’ve set great foundations with foreign leaders. We have you know — NAFTA, as you know, I was going to terminate it, but I got a very nice call from a man I like, the president of Mexico.
I got a very nice call from Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada. And they said please would you rather than terminating NAFTA — I was all set to do it. In fact, I was going to do it today. I was going to do as we’re sitting here. I would’ve had to delay you. I was going to do it today. I was going to terminate NAFTA. But they called up and they said, “Would you negotiate?” And I said, “Yes, I will negotiate.”
JOHN DICKERSON: That’s all you’ve learned, about the media? You knew from the campaign about the media. You said it all the time —
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, no, but the media didn’t cover it that way. The media said, oh, I didn’t terminate NAFTA.
JOHN DICKERSON: So—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: First of all, if you look at my statements, I said—
JOHN DICKERSON: No, no, I meant—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: “If I’m not able to renegotiate NAFTA, I will terminate NAFTA.” Well, I’ll make that statement right now.
JOHN DICKERSON: Here’s a question.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: If I’m not able to renegotiate NAFTA, we will terminate NAFTA.
6. OK maybe he has grasped something, in the same way that a toddler going to preschool for the first time learns how to share.
JOHN DICKERSON: Let’s step back a minute.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Okay.
JOHN DICKERSON: Presidents have to learn how to adapt. Every president comes into the job, it’s different than they expect, they must adapt. Surely, you’ve learned something else other than that the media is dishonest.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, no, I’m just saying—
JOHN DICKERSON: And how do you adapt?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: —it was one of my disappointments.
JOHN DICKERSON: Give me another thing you learned that you’re going to adapt and change because all presidents have to at this stage.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think things generally tend to go a little bit slower than you’d like them to go.
JOHN DICKERSON: Why?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Just a system. It’s just a very, very bureaucratic system. I think the rules in Congress and in particular the rules in the Senate are unbelievably archaic and slow moving. And in many cases, unfair. In many cases, you’re forced to make deals that are not the deal you’d make. You’d make a much different kind of a deal.
You’re forced into situations that you hate to be forced into. I also learned, and this is very sad, because we have a country that we have to take care of. The Democrats have been totally obstructionist. Chuck Schumer has turned out to be a bad leader. He’s a bad leader for the country. And the Democrats are extremely obstructionist.
All they do is obstruct. All they do is delay. Even our Supreme Court justice, as you know, who I think is going to be outstanding, Justice Gorsuch. I think that it was disgraceful the way they handled that. But, you know, I still have people, I’m waiting for them to be approved. Our chief trade negotiator. We can’t get these people through.
JOHN DICKERSON: I want to get to—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They are obstructionists. And you know what that’s hurting? It’s hurting the country.
7. Frankly, I’m shocked that the fusion of bullshit and batshit in this answer didn’t rip a hole in the universe.
JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about health care — Tucker Carlson interviewed you about six weeks ago when you were in the middle of health care negotiations. And you agreed with him that the health care bill wasn’t going to help your supporters. That those who lived in rural areas, the older, were going to get hurt by that bill. And you told him—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me, the health care bill is going to help my supporters.
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, hold on. Let me just finish the question, if I may, sir—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Otherwise, I’m not going to sign it. I’m not going to do it.
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, this is why I wanted to ask you. You said to Tucker, “We will take care of our people, or I am not signing it.” You said you were going to negotiate.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, that’s what I just said.
Tucker Carlson: “The counties who voted for you will do far worse under your healthcare plan.”
Donald Trump: “Oh, I know.”
— #AllofUs (@TimeForAllofUs) March 16, 2017
“A lot of things aren’t consistent” is the most honest thing he’s ever said.
8. This exchange begins where the previous one ended. You tell me who brought up Obamacare.
JOHN DICKERSON: So tell me what in the bill you’ve been negotiating to get—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: But let me—
JOHN DICKERSON: —in that helps your supporters. I’m just trying to get the details of how your people—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Let me just tell you.
JOHN DICKERSON: —will be helped.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I just watched another network than yours, and they were saying, “Pre-existing is not covered.” Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, “Has to be.”
JOHN DICKERSON: So—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have, we’re going to have lower premiums. And before you start there, let me just tell you something. Obamacare is dead. Obamacare right now, all the insurance companies are fleeing. Places like Tennessee have already lost half of their state with the insurance companies. They’re all going. Obamacare, John, is dead. Okay, because we’re being — we’re being compared to Obamacare. Just, so. Obamacare doesn’t work—
JOHN DICKERSON: I just want to compare you to your own.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: One thing. No, no, it’s important. I’ve got to compare it.
JOHN DICKERSON: No, no, but I want—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: But you were saying about Obamacare.
If he was suffering from dementia I’d be much less troubled about his mental state.
9. Trump supporters, do you feel comfortable knowing that he wanted to address the “failure” of his bill before explaining how it doesn’t fuck you over (like he admitted it did to Tucker Carlson)?
JOHN DICKERSON: So but in the bill, as it was analyzed, there were two problems. One, and you talked about this with Congressman Robert Aderholt, who brought you the example of the 64-year-old who under Obamacare the premiums—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: But that was a long time ago, John.
JOHN DICKERSON: But has that been fixed?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Totally fixed.
JOHN DICKERSON: How?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: How? We’ve made many changes to the bill. You know, this bill is—
JOHN DICKERSON: What kind though?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: —very much different than it was three weeks ago.
JOHN DICKERSON: Help us explain because there are people—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The bill—
JOHN DICKERSON: —out there wondering what kind of changes.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Let me explain. Let me explain it to you.
JOHN DICKERSON: Okay.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This bill is much different than it was a little while ago, okay? This bill has evolved. And we didn’t have a failure on the bill. You know, it was reported like a failure. Now, the one thing I wouldn’t have done again is put a timeline. That’s why on the second iteration, I didn’t put a timeline.
But we have now pre-existing conditions in the bill. We have — we’ve set up a pool for the pre-existing conditions so that the premiums can be allowed to fall. We’re taking across all of the borders or the lines so that insurance companies can compete—
JOHN DICKERSON: But that’s not in—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: —nationwide.
JOHN DICKERSON: —this bill. The borders are not in—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Of course, it’s in.
JOHN DICKERSON: —this bill. It’s in that third bill, right, because—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It’s in the second phase.
JOHN DICKERSON: Okay.
10. “Such competition” reminds me of a Chinese food place by my house that advertises “We delivery!”
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: But let me just explain something. There will be such competition. Right now, there’s no competition. There will be such competition by insurance companies so that they can get health care and the people taking care of health care.
At least the people who run the Chinese food restaurant have a good excuse: they don’t speak any English. Well, never mind, I guess Trump doesn’t either. He speaks very much tremendous Trumpian Trumpness Trumpnocity.
11. I think I had a seizure while reading this exchange.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: But when I watch some of the news reports, which are so unfair, and they say we don’t cover pre-existing conditions, we cover it beautifully.
JOHN DICKERSON: Although—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I’ll tell you who doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. Obamacare. You know why? It’s dead.
JOHN DICKERSON: In one of the fixes that was—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It’s not going to be here.
JOHN DICKERSON: In one of the fixes it was discussed pre-existing was optional for the states—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Sure, in one of the fixes. And they’re changing it—
JOHN DICKERSON: —oh, okay. So it’ll—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: —and changing.
JOHN DICKERSON: —be permanent?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Of course.
12. Dickerson’s exasperation at the end of this exchange is a good description of where America is right now.
JOHN DICKERSON: But on that crucial question, it’s not going to be left up to the states? Everybody gets pre-existing, no matter where they live?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, but the states—
JOHN DICKERSON: Guaranteed?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: —are also going to have a lot to do with it because we ultimately want to get it back down to the states.
JOHN DICKERSON: Okay. Is it a guarantee?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Look, because if you hurt your knee, honestly, I’d rather have the federal government focused on North Korea, focused on other things, than your knee, okay? Or than your back, as important as your back is. I would much rather see the federal government focused on other things—
JOHN DICKERSON: Let me.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: —bigger things. Now, the state is going to be in a much better position to take care, because it’s smaller.
JOHN DICKERSON: People out there with pre-existing conditions, they are worried. Are they going to have the guarantee of coverage if they have a pre-existing condition or if they live in a state where the governor decides that’s not a part of the health care, or that the prices are going to go up? That’s the worry. The American Medical Association says—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We actually—
JOHN DICKERSON: —it could effectively make coverage completely unaffordable for people.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: —we actually have, well, forget about unaffordable. What’s unaffordable is Obamacare, John.
JOHN DICKERSON: So I’m not hearing you, Mr. President, say there’s a guarantee of pre-existing conditions.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We actually have — we actually have a clause that guarantees.
JOHN DICKERSON: Okay, excellent. We got there.
13. “I’m not touching Medicare except for all the parts of Medicare that I’m going to cut.”
JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you this, Mr. President. Congress may not go along with—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Always.
JOHN DICKERSON: —so they’re going to try and find some spending. Let me ask you about the question of Medicare. They’re going to want, in Congress, to make up on the spending side, to change Medicare. Will you allow that?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You’re not going to have to do it.
JOHN DICKERSON: But, sir, will you allow it?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You’re not going to have to do it. I’m just telling you we are—
JOHN DICKERSON: Does President Donald Trump want them not to do that?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I would much prefer them not to do that, that’s right.
JOHN DICKERSON: It sounds as if, having covered you in the campaign, it sounds like you’re leaving the door open. On the campaign, you were quite clear. You said, “I’m the guy who’s not going to touch Medicare.”
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Okay, then let me more clear. I’m not going to touch it, because I said it. Now, waste, fraud and abuse, I’m going to touch. If there’s something in Medicare that’s been abused, I will touch that. There are certain things, as you know, that have been absolutely abused. There are certain provisions in Medicare that are horrible and abusive and there’s been terrible things happening. So that kind of stuff, I will absolutely touch.
JOHN DICKERSON: So if I—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: But the concept of Medicare, I’m not touching.
JOHN DICKERSON: For me, if I have it now, or if I’m going to have it in the future, it’s not getting cut?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Waste, fraud and abuse.
JOHN DICKERSON: And that’s it?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And if there are things within Medicare that are being abused, I will touch that also.
14. I’m pretty sure that Trump’s mind pivoted to his dick in the middle of this answer.
JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about your tax returns, sir. When your Treasury secretary was asked about whether you were going to release them, Secretary Mnuchin said, “The president has no intention.” Is that right?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I never spoke to him about it. Honestly, he’s never asked me about it. I said, number one, I’m under audit. Right now, I’m under audit. After the audit is complete. It’s a routine audit, but I have a very big tax return. You’ve seen the pictures. My tax return is probably higher than that from the floor. When you look at other people’s tax return, even other wealthy people, their tax return is this big. My tax return is this high.
15. Oh look, Donald Trump downplaying Russian involvement in the election again.
JOHN DICKERSON: You don’t think it’s phony that they, the Russians, tried to meddle in the election? You believe that?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: That, I don’t know. I don’t know.
JOHN DICKERSON: That you don’t know or you do know?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I have a problem. You have Podesta, who, by the way, I understand has a company with his brother in Russia. Hillary’s husband makes speeches in Russia. Hillary did a uranium deal with Russia. Nobody ever talks about that. But I don’t know—
JOHN DICKERSON: You don’t—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: —because the F.B.I. was not allowed by Podesta to go in and check all of the records on their servers and everything else that you would normally have to check. That’s number one.
Number two, knowing something about hacking, if you don’t catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it’s very hard to say who did the hacking. With that being said, I’ll go along with Russia. Could’ve been China, could’ve been a lot of different groups.
JOHN DICKERSON: So President Donald Trump is ambivalent—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: But it could’ve—
JOHN DICKERSON: —about or not ambivalent, you’re not just not sure?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No. We have to find out what happened. I’d love to find out what happened.
JOHN DICKERSON: But you don’t think it’s the Russians—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I can tell you one thing. Had nothing to do with us. Had nothing to do with this, and everyone knows it. And by the way, even my enemies on your show said, “We haven’t found anything that the Trump campaign did wrong.”
JOHN DICKERON: But—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Do you agree with that?
JOHN DICKERSON: But there is agreement in the intelligence communities and other places and investigative communities on the Hill that Russia was—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I’m okay with it.
JOHN DICKERSON: —involved in the election.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Honestly, John, I’m okay. But why didn’t Podesta and the Democrats, why didn’t they allow the F.B.I. to eject the server? They hired some company who somebody said some pretty bad things about, to go and check their server and give the information. So they were hacked. Why didn’t they — the Democrats allow the F.B.I.? They told the F.B.I., “We are not going to allow you to do it.” Why did they do that? Why did they do that, John? Why wouldn’t they let the F.B.I. go in and check? And by the way, why didn’t the F.B.I. complain about it?
JOHN DICKERSON: Mr. President, I think we’re going to have to end it there.
I wonder why Donald Trump always prefers to bash our intelligence services instead of acknowledging Russian meddling in the election—even when it has nothing to do with allegations that he colluded with them. Could it be because he’s an admitted money launderer who was fined $10 million by the Treasury for violations at his casino that was known as a vacation spot for wealthy Russians? I don’t know, it sure would be nice if a journalist ever asked him about this portion of the findings from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network at the Department of the Treasury:
Trump Taj Mahal, a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, admitted to several willful BSA violations, including violations of AML program requirements, reporting obligations, and recordkeeping requirements. Trump Taj Mahal has a long history of prior, repeated BSA violations cited by examiners dating back to 2003. Additionally, in 1998, FinCEN assessed a $477,700 civil money penalty against Trump Taj Mahal for currency transaction reporting violations.
16. Trump literally kicked Dickerson out for asking about his unfounded wiretapping allegations.
Strangely enough, this was not included in the transcript that CBS published, but they released the video of it, and hoo boy, is it something.
— Aaron Vallely (@Vallmeister) May 1, 2017
Jacob Weindling is Paste’s business and media editor, as well as a staff writer for politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.