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President Donald Trump talked about “good boy” Jared Kushner and called his speech to the Boy Scouts “the greatest speech ever made to them” (the Scouts later had to apologize for his remarks) according to the full transcript of the president’s sit-down with The Wall Street Journal, which was published by Politico on Tuesday.
Although Trump did the interview with Journal editor in chief Gerard Baker on July 25, the newspaper hadn’t made the full transcript of its conversation public, instead publishing choice tidbits that made the president sound like someone whose mental capacity is slowly declining. In the meantime, the transcript circulated throughout the newsroom until it was leaked to Politico.
And boy, it’s a good one, even by Trump standards.
There was this exchange, which seemed to convey that the president didn’t lift one solitary, chunky finger for his party’s healthcare bill (emphasis mine throughout):
BAKER: What have you been doing, Mr. President, sort of behind the scenes?
TRUMP: A lot. A lot.
BAKER: I mean, what do you think the crucial conversations have been?
TRUMP: Many conversations. I just had one with a certain senator that was very convincing to that senator. So I’ve done a lot. I mean, last night — last night it was amazing. I was at the — you know, I was in West Virginia doing certain things and making a speech to the Boy Scouts, and that was some crowd. That was an incredible crowd.
Trump wasn’t done talking about that insane, incendiary speech he delivered at the Boy Scouts’ annual jamboree:
TRUMP: ... from the time I walked out on the stage — because I know. And by the way, I’d be the first to admit mixed. I’m a guy that will tell you mixed. There was no mix there. That was a standing ovation from the time I walked out to the time I left, and for five minutes after I had already gone. There was no mix.
WSJ: Yeah, there was a lot of supporters in the arena.
TRUMP: And I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful. So there was — there was no mix.
The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale reported that the Boy Scouts deny that any such call ever took place.
Trump maybe calls world leaders to ask how many people live there:
So I deal with foreign countries, and despite what you may read, I have unbelievable relationships with all of the foreign leaders. They like me. I like them. You know, it’s amazing. So I’ll call, like, major — major countries, and I’ll be dealing with the prime minister or the president. And I’ll say, how are you doing? Oh, don’t know, don’t know, not well, Mr. President, not well. I said, well, what’s the problem? Oh, GDP 9 percent, not well. And I’m saying to myself, here we are at like 1 percent, dying, and they’re at 9 percent and they’re unhappy. So, you know, and these are like countries, you know, fairly large, like 300 million people. You know, a lot of people say — they say, well, but the United States is large. And then you call places like Malaysia, Indonesia, and you say, you know, how many people do you have? And it’s pretty amazing how many people they have. So China’s going to be at 7 [percent] or 8 percent, and they have a billion-five, right? So we should do really well.
He also doesn’t really get the distinction between “repeal and replace” and a “full repeal” of the Affordable Care Act:
BAKER: Are you recommending to the people that you talk to a particular — do you want — are you saying do this and then go for repeal, or are you going –
TRUMP: I’d rather see repeal and replace because I — I can do either way.
TRUMP: You think — yeah, the partisanship. So, anyway.
So I’d rather see — I’d rather see replace. I’d rather add the replace. And we have a very good plan. That’s the one thing, we really have a good plan.