Earlier this afternoon, Stranger emperor-editor Dan Savage published a Slog post with the headline The President Is Insane. If you didn't click on the little link he includes in the post, you wouldn't know that he's referring to the unhinged, fact-free, low-key racist, impromptu press conference Donald Trump delivered today. Hoo boy. Let's roll through the lowlights.
But first, some context. Just as DT squared up to the podium to "lambast" the media and generally dissemble, Democrats on the Senate floor were laying into Scott Pruitt, Trump's nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to Reuters, Pruitt sailed through the cloture vote, 54-46. One Republican, Susan Collins, voted against him.
This is the same Scott Pruitt who sued the agency he's been selected to run 14 times. The same Scott Pruitt who was the attorney general for oil-rich Oklahoma. The same Scott Pruitt who denies that climate change is real.
Here's Washington Senator Patty Murray, describing exactly what's wrong with Pruitt:
If you believe, as many believe, that climate change is the greatest threat to national security facing this country, then Scott Pruitt is like all four horseman of the apocalypse rolled into a single, jowly package.
To what extent Trump's particularly seething performance of himself today was in any way a strategic deflection from attention to Pruitt's nomination doesn't concern me. The fact of the matter is that it did deflect from the Pruitt vote, and that sucks.
Okay. End of context. Let's talk about all the lies Trump told at the conference today.
It started out somewhat normally, with Trump announcing the nominee for secretary of the Department of Labor—Alex Acosta—who, if confirmed, would be Trump's only cabinet member. But then came the lies.
• Lying about the media lying: “This morning, because many of our nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth, and will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve. And I hope going forward we can be a little bit — a little bit different, and maybe get along a little bit better, if that’s possible.”
• Lying and blaming the previous administration: “To be honest, I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home and abroad, a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country; you see what’s going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to Mexico and other places, low pay, low wages, mass instability overseas, no matter where you look. The middle east is a disaster. North Korea - we’ll take care of it folks; we’re going to take care of it all. I just want to let you know, I inherited a mess.”
• Lying about ISIS: “ISIS has spread like cancer - another mess I inherited.” According to CNN: the territory controlled by ISIS saw a 9.4% reduction in the first six months of 2015, and is now approximately 32,000 square miles.”
• Lying about how good things are going (to recap, Michael Flynn has resigned from the National Security Council, Andrew Pudzer took his name out of contention for Labor Secretary, Betsy DeVos barely squeaked by—in sum, there are more leaks than a dam full of bullet holes): “This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can’t get my cabinet approved.”
• Lying about Obamacare replacement (he doesn’t have one) and butchering the English language at the same time: “We’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It’s a disaster. I know you can say, oh, Obamacare. I mean, they fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they are not the Republican people our that representatives are representing."
• Lying again about the media: “And, you know, you can talk all you want about Russia, which was all a, you know, fake news, fabricated deal, to try and make up for the loss of the Democrats and the press plays right into it.”
• Lying again about the failing New York Times: “The failing New York Times wrote a big, long front-page story yesterday. And it was very much discredited, as you know.” The New York Times’ subscriptions increased to 2.5 million after his election.
• Lying about access to the media: “But I will say that, I never get phone calls from the media. How did they write a story like that in The Wall Street Journal without asking me or how did they write a story in The New York Times, put it on front page?” (Pro-tip, Donald, this is your second fucking press conference, and reporters don’t just have the ability to speed dial you.)
• Lying about how nobody mentioned Hillary cheated during the debates: “Which, by the way, nobody mentions. Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates. Can you imagine — seriously — can you imagine if I received the questions? It would be the electric chair.” The Washington Post (among many others) which Trump just denounced as liars, covered it.
• Lying about the travel ban: “Let me tell you about the travel ban. We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court. Got a bad decision. We had a court that’s been overturned. Again, may be wrong. But I think it’s 80 percent of the time, a lot.” (Is this real life?)
Oh yeah, and then there's also this casually racist assumption that also suggests reporters are somehow in the pockets of lawmakers:
Reporter: Will you meet with the Congressional Black Caucus?
Trump: "I would. You want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?" pic.twitter.com/8Pp18KBUJd
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 16, 2017
He’s right about one thing: “I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done.”