On Wednesday, a tired-sounding President Donald Trump took a low-energy victory lap around the burning wreckage of what was once his party’s House majority, insisting that Republicans had a great midterm election in spite of their having lost 50 percent of Congress. But what started as a sleepy recitation of a dull prepared statement quickly became a quintessentially Trumpian train wreck.
First, the president spent the morning naming each of the Republicans who lost in Tuesday’s midterms, mocking them for their failure to “embrace” him and his administration.
Of course, this sort of macho bullshit is exactly what we’ve come to expect from a president who has an uncanny ability to be as much of a dick as is humanly possible in every single situation, but Trump wasn’t finished. He went on to ramble about possible House investigations into his administration, talk shit about NAFTA, and brag about how the United States has “the cleanest air.”
And then came the questions.
Trump reiterated his earlier tweeted threat to respond to any potential Democratic House investigations by insisting that “we can play it better.”
He offered a series of words that vaguely resembled a normal sentence when asked about Democrats potentially issuing a subpoena for his tax returns:
And then things went completely off the rails, with Trump essentially shouting at CNN’s Jim Acosta that he was a “rude, terrible person” after being asked about the president’s fear mongering over the Central American caravan of asylum seekers and possible indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
It quickly became clear that Trump, no matter how triumphant he had tried to sound at the start of the press conference, was rapidly losing control of himself and the briefing. He spent much of the next five minutes yelling at reporters, demanding that they sit down and stop asking him questions he didn’t like.
After a brief, bizarre interlude in which he asked Vice President Pence to re-join him on the 2020 ticket, Trump returned to one of his favorite hobbyhorses: the Mueller investigation, which he insisted he could stop anytime by “[firing] everybody right now”
Asked whether he could ratchet down violent rhetoric toward the media, Trump insisted that he would “love to see unity, peace, and love.” He also followed up yelling at reporters for the past hour by claiming that he’d be “very good” at having a “low tone.”
“I would be very honored by that,” he added. What?
He asked a Japanese reporter to “say hello to [Prime Minister] Shinzo [Abe]” for him, before telling the same reporter, “I really don’t understand you.”
Responding to a question about rising racism in the U.S., Trump bragged about moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Trump insisted to PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor—one of the few black women in the White House press corps—that asking him about his calling himself a “nationalist” was a “racist question.”
Oh, and then he denied using racist remarks by claiming that he didn’t know who (former Apprentice contestant) Lil’ Jon is.
Trump also bravely staked the position that right-wing domestic terrorism is “a problem I don’t like even a little bit.” Courageous!
And then, just like that—a full brain-melting hour and a half later—it was done. And I am just so, so tired.