The AP released part of the interview last week, but made a fuller transcript available late Sunday. You can read it in full here, but beware: It’s a doozy. The phrase “Donald Trump is unintelligible” was even a top trending topic on Twitter early Monday ― referring to the 16 instances where the AP marked parts of the transcript “unintelligible.” (Pace later told the Toronto Star that one of Trump’s aides was talking over him at those moments, and that the aide did not want their comments included in the transcript. The Star notes that “this is itself highly unusual.”)
Here are some of the interview’s most bizarre moments:
Shunning reality, Trump said he’s “mostly there” on fulfilling the promises of his first 100 days.
With the 100-day mark looming on April 29, the president has fallen short on every one of the legislative goals he set last year in his “100-day action plan.” Most notably, the Republican health care bill that Trump campaigned extensively for went down in flames. He has also failed to secure funding for the wall he’s hoping to build along the U.S.-Mexico border.
When WikiLeaks published hacked Democratic Party emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump brought it up at his rallies at every opportunity. But on Friday, when asked about reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is planning to pursue charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Trump sang a different tune.
“Never heard of Wikileaks, never heard of it,” he told the AP. “When Wikileaks came out, all I was just saying is, ‘Well, look at all this information here, this is pretty good stuff’... I don’t support or unsupport.”
This is what he said back in October:
Trump said the Electoral College is “very difficult for a Republican to win” because it’s “so skewed” toward Democrats. (It’s not.)
Tell that to former Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, etc. As Newsweek explained last year, the Electoral College may actually have a slight bias toward Republicans, since Democratic voters are more likely to be concentrated in major cities:
Increasingly, Democratic voters live in large urban areas, and are concentrated in several parts of the country. There are more of them, somewhat, but they live in relatively compact geographic areas. This gives Republicans a mild advantage in the electoral college; Republican voters are more spread out, and the Electoral College system potentially over-represents them slightly as a part of the overall population.
He admitted that when he bashed NATO during his presidential campaign, he didn’t actually know what the alliance did. He also erroneously said that “back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism.”
NATO was founded in 1949, but terrorism as a concept has been around for thousands of years. The term itself is rooted in the bloodshed of 18th-century post-revolution France.
Describing a meeting with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Trump offered the following word salad:
“Well he said, you’ll be the greatest president in the history of, but you know what, I’ll take that also, but that you could be. But he said, will be the greatest president but I would also accept the other. In other words, if you do your job, but I accept that. Then I watched him interviewed and it was like he never even was here. It’s incredible. I watched him interviewed a week later and it’s like he was never in my office. And you can even say that.”
Trump was talking, sort of, about an encounter he had with Cummings in March. According to Trump, the Maryland Democrat told him he’d be one of the greatest presidents in U.S. history. According to Cummings, that’s not exactly how it went down.
He claimed the U.S.-Mexico border wall is “not going to be that expensive.”
Trump’s own estimate of the wall’s cost has dramatically shifted in the nearly two years since he first proposed it. Sometimes it’s $4 billion, sometimes it’s $12 billion. In his interview with the AP, Trump said “I think I’ll do it for $10 billion or less.” But experts, including in a Department of Homeland Security internal report, have suggested the actual cost could be over $20 billion.
He abruptly interrupted himself to offer Pace a soda.
Presented without comment:
TRUMP: [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping], we have a, like, a really great relationship. For me to call him a currency manipulator and then say, “By the way, I’d like you to solve the North Korean problem,” doesn’t work. So you have to have a certain flexibility, Number One. Number Two, from the time I took office till now, you know, it’s a very exact thing. It’s not like generalities. Do you want a Coke or anything?
AP: I’m OK, thank you.
This article has been updated to include information from the Toronto Star.