Last week was a crazy week. I mean, every week nowadays is wild, but last week was truly nuts. It was “American Heroes Week” at the White House, and by the end of the week, both the Boy Scouts and the acting DEA Administrator issued apologies for speeches made by Trump. This came after the President of the United States repeatedly went after his attorney general on Twitter, and in between Rick Perry spent 22 minutes on the phone with a prankster posing as the prime minister of Ukraine, Trump said he was banning transgendered people from the military on Twitter, the White House press secretary read a letter from an alleged nine-year-old named Pickle, North Korea tested a missile that can reach the continental United States, Trump fired his chief of staff Reince Priebus, the Republicans tried to pass a sweeping health care bill in the middle of the night, and of course, the Anthony Scaramucci saga.
When a week is that jam-packed with madness, an oral history is the most succinct way to describe it, and The Washington Post put together an excellent retelling of one of the craziest news weeks any of us have endured. I strongly recommend you read the entire thing, but here are the ten best lines from WaPo’s oral history of last week.
David Bender, 15, Scout from Indiana: When he said, “Barack Obama,” I screamed “Oh my God,” and put my hands over my head. It was so unreal. I thought I was in a dream. He got the crowd to boo. It made me so sad.
Eli Stokols, Wall Street Journal: When you’re covering a speech like that, it’s like a microcosm of covering the whole presidency. You’re just treading water — you’ll fixate on one thing that’s kind of wild and then you’ll miss something else. I missed the “Under the Trump administration you’ll be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again when you go shopping” thing because I was so busy trying to make sense of the yacht story.
Jesse Ferguson, former press aide for the Hillary Clinton campaign: How did I feel about [McCain’s] vote? You think I still have feelings? Those died a long time ago.
Melissa Hanham, North Korea expert at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies: Our Slack channel’s divided into countries and into regions and into grant proposals, and — you probably can’t print this, but we literally have a channel called “F— F— F—-.” That is our channel for venting frustrating about how important this subject is, and why is no one paying attention to it? Or about the crazy thing that happened in Washington that day, or about why is life like this in 2017?
Springer, the Trump supporter in Yulee, Fla.: In eight years under Obama [my business] didn’t do great but in just the past six months my business has picked up dramatically. I think it’s optimism, just like the stock market. The stock market’s not based on any real facts. I think it’s optimism.
Olivia Nuzzi, Washington correspondent for New York magazine: I let out an exhausted sigh so loud that Evan McMorris-Santoro from Vice, who was in front of me, turned around and laughed.
It reminded me of when Bill O’Reilly used to take reader emails and they’d all be like: “I don’t understand how someone as smart as you has to deal with idiots all day.” But this one was from a child.
One of the questions was: “How much money do you have?” Which to me was a clue that Donald Trump wrote this with his left hand.
I think Pickle broke me. It’s so insane. So completely deranged.
Yashar Ali, New York magazine and HuffPost contributor: Scaramucci starts saying things that are just unbelievable. He says that the president says if you’re nice to me, I can come back on [CNN]. Then he said, “I told the president I can’t afford to be a sycophant to you, sir.” Then he did a whole attack of the CIA and the intelligence community. Then he quoted Joe Paterno.
I just kept thinking, “I cannot believe that the White House communications director is behaving this way.” .?.?. It was almost like a call-in on the radio. Like, someone who is angry on a radio show, like Howard Stern. Whenever you listen to those call-in shows you’re always cringing, and there’s part of you that wants to change the channel because you’re embarrassed for them.
8. This Quote About the Mooch-Priebus-Bannon New Yorker Story Is My Favorite from the Oral History
Matt Schlapp, Trump surrogate: I was driving with Viana, my oldest daughter. She’s going to be in high school next year. I looked at my Twitter at a red light and saw a story was getting tweeted out. I said to Viana, “Oh, my God, look at this story, will you read this out loud to me?” Then I looked for one half minute and said, ‘Oh no, thank you, you cannot read this out loud!’
I believe in guardian angels and I believe one interceded in that moment.
Susan Collins (R-Maine): After the vote, I waited a while for things to empty out, because I didn’t want to get caught in the crush of the press. After a while I saw Lindsey Graham and asked, is there a way I can get out of here where I can just go to my car? Lindsey and I tried to go out a side door and promptly set off an alarm.
Senate GOP aide: [After this week it’s] going to be exactly like World War I. Everybody’s settled into their trenches, they’re gonna blow the s— out of each other for four years until somebody wins — and even if they win, everything’s gonna be so f—— up that even the winner’s not a winner. And then who knows what happens in 2020.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.