President Trump spoke on Thursday with a reporter from The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt. The interview took place in the Grill Room of his golf club in West Palm Beach, Fla., whose noise made some portions at times hard to hear.
The following are excerpts from that conversation, transcribed by The Times. They have been lightly edited for content and clarity, and omit several off-the-record comments and asides.
This was ultimately a frustrating read for its rambling nature and repetition of self-serving non-sequiturs.
What it does well, though, is illustrate the chaotic, self-aggrandizing, and exculpatory mindset of the president. Over half of the electorate believes not a word he says, if his disapproval polling can be used as a metric, and early signs indicate our disbelief will harm his party and his agenda in 2018. Yet he remains at war with the past.
Documented fact does not enter into his defensive calculus. His formula is I say it, therefore it is so. Let me repeat that to pave over unpleasant truths. Parallels to “the big lie” of past fascist dictators abound, yet this president appears unaware, or unconcerned.
That’s because the gist of his words is purposeful, if poorly executed. Imagine a more competent American politician using Trump’s rhetoric.
Trump’s false words will be his downfall.
We’ve already seen disenchantment among blue-collar workers who were used as stage props for Trump’s populism. Those jobs at Carrier, and the coal industry as a whole, aren’t going the way workers thought they would.
At the same time anti-Trump sentiment has brought out the vote in opposition to candidates he’s endorsesd.
Your president, in his own words. Maybe he was your candidate. This, then, is what America has done to itself.
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