“Can you guarantee that ending?”
Donald Trump sat down with ABC News anchor David Muir on Wednesday for his first interview as president. Their discussion did not do much to dispel rumors that Trump is obsessed with both the size of the crowd at his inauguration and his feud with the media. None of Trump’s remarks were a departure from what he said on the campaign trail, but it was still odd to see a sitting president insulting a journalist, calling his critics “fools” for accurately describing international laws, and poring over inauguration photos with the zeal of someone trying to demonstrate the moon landing was fake. Here’s a rundown of the most befuddling moments.
Trump kicked things off by affirming that he believes there could have been 3 to 5 million illegal votes cast in the 2016 election, and he raised concerns about people who are registered in two states. (It’s only illegal to vote in two states, and several of his advisers and family members are on two state voting registers.)
As evidence, Trump pointed to a 2012 Pew Survey about inaccurate voter registries. Muir said he had just talked to the author of the report, David Becker, who has repeatedly said that the report wasn’t about voter fraud, and that there’s no evidence that large numbers of people are casting illegal ballots. Trump accused Becker of “groveling.”
At two points in the interview, Trump insisted that even if millions of people voted illegally, his election is still legitimate because every single one was a Clinton voter.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Believe me. Those were Hillary votes. And if you look at it they all voted for Hillary. They all voted for Hillary. They didn’t vote for me. I don’t believe I got one. Okay, these are people that voted for Hillary Clinton. And if they didn’t vote, it would’ve been different in the popular.
Trump then denied that he said millions of people voted illegally — though he thinks it’s possible. When Muir read a tweet contradicting that, Trump ignored him and continued explaining how he could have won the popular vote if he wanted to.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I didn’t say there are millions. But I think there could very well be millions of people. That’s right …
DAVID MUIR: … you tweeted, “If you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally, I won the popular vote.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: David, and I also say this, if I was going for the popular vote I would’ve won easily. But I would’ve been in California and New York. I wouldn’t have been in Maine. I wouldn’t have been in Iowa. I wouldn’t have been in Nebraska and all of those states that I had to win in order to win this. I would’ve been in New York, I would’ve been in California. I never even went there.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
Trump closed by noting that the investigation he intends to launch won’t uncover all the facts about voter fraud in the 2016 election, but the investigation will also uncover all the facts.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think that if [massive voter fraud] didn’t happen, first of all, would — would be a great thing if it didn’t happen. But I believe it did happen. And I believe a part of the vote would’ve been much different.
DAVID MUIR: And you believe millions of illegal votes …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’re gonna find out.
DAVID MUIR: Let me ask you this …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re gonna find out. And — and, by the way, when I say you’re gonna find out. You can never really find, you know, there are gonna be — no matter what numbers we come up with, there are gonna be lots of people that did things that we’re not going to find out about. But we will find out because we need a better system where that can’t happen.
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
. . . Srsly go read the transcript.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: OK, so I’m glad you asked. So, I went to the CIA, my first step. I have great respect for the people in intelligence and CIA. I’m — I don’t have a lot of respect for, in particular one of the leaders. But that’s okay. But I have a lot of respect for the people in the CIA.
That speech was a home run. That speech, if you look at Fox, OK, I’ll mention you — we see what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches. They showed the people applauding and screaming and — and they were all CIA. There was — somebody was asking Sean — “Well, were they Trump people that were put–” we don’t have Trump people. They were CIA people.
That location was given to me. Mike Pence went up before me, paid great homage to the wall. I then went up, paid great homage to the wall. I then spoke to the crowd. I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl and they said it was equal. I got a standing ovation. It lasted for a long period of time. What you do is take — take out your tape — you probably ran it live. I know when I do good speeches. I know when I do bad speeches. That speech was a total home run. They loved it. I could’ve ..