(Photo: President-elect Donald J. Trump during a meeting at The New York Times’s offices in Manhattan on Tuesday. CreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times)
Donald Trump agreed to an extensive sit-down with The New York Times on Tuesday and the story that’s emerging from the meeting is Trump’s backpedaling on both prosecuting Hillary Clinton (for nonexistent crimes) and the climate crisis. Important issues, yes, but there are many more quotes from the president-elect that should be making news. Here are just a few.
1) “So we won that by a lot of votes and, you know, we had a great victory. We had a great victory.”
While, yes, Trump won the election via the dreaded Electoral College, he lost the popular vote by a record margin for an electoral vote winner. Two million votes and counting. In the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Trump only won by a total of around 105,000 votes — roughly the capacity of the Ohio State Buckeyes football stadium. His margin of victory in Michigan was just 9,528 votes.
2) “And in the end she didn’t get the African-American vote and we ended up close to 15 points, as you know.”
Here’s an example of Trump contradicting himself in the same sentence. Hillary, he said, didn’t get the African-American vote, even though he only won 15 percent of it. Oh, and Trump’s “15 percent” is wrong, too, at least according to the publication that was interviewing him. The New York Times has Trump winning eight percent of the black vote, not 15. Hillary walked away with 88 percent. Might’ve been nice had the Times corrected him on the spot, but it’s difficult to nab every lie as it launches out of the tennis ball machine.
3) Regarding his cabinet choices: “People are giving up tremendous careers in order to be subject to you folks and subject to a lot of other folks. But they’re giving up a lot. I mean some are giving up tremendous businesses in order to sit for four or maybe eight or whatever the period of time is.”
Aww. Poor babies. By the way, if they’re giving up their businesses, why isn’t Trump? Oh, and not to bury the lede but “whatever the time period is?” What? No, see, it’s either four years or eight years. No more. No “whatever the time period.” Is he aware of this? Is he bullshitting his presidential term limits answer? Maybe. Is he hinting at a longer stay? Maybe. Look at his bestie Putin who’s still in power years after his reign should have ended. Also, most cabinet members and staffers barely hang on for four years. Cabinet secretaries usually resign at or before the end of the first term.
4) Question from Tom Friedman: “FRIEDMAN: Are you worried, though, that those companies will keep their factories here, but the jobs will be replaced by robots?” Trump’s answer: “It’s a big thing, we’ll make the robots too. Right now we don’t make the robots. We don’t make anything. But we’re going to, I mean, look, robotics is becoming very big and we’re going to do that.”
So, instead of addressing the reality that robots are rapidly taking over manufacturing jobs, Trump pledged to make more robots. By the way, the United States is among the top suppliers and users of industrial robots already.
5) On the infrastructure spending in Obama’s 2009 stimulus: “It didn’t work for Obama because unfortunately they didn’t spend the money last time on infrastructure. They spent it on a lot of other things.”
Pants on fire. The total infrastructure spending in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“the stimulus”) was $105.3 billion — around one-eighth of the total spending in the law. The bulk of the stimulus went into the largest middle class tax cut in American history. Meanwhile, the Republican Congress blocked all further infrastructure bills supported by the Obama White House. All of them.
6) “We’re going for a lot of things, between taxes, between regulations, between health care replacement, we’re going to talk repeal and replace. ’Cause health care is — you know people are paying a 100 percent increase and they’re not even getting anything, the deductibles are so high, you have deductibles $16,000. So they’re paying all of this money and they don’t even get health care.”
People aren’t paying a “100 percent” increase in premiums. The average increase, according to Fox News is 25 percent, though most ACA customers will pay the same premium when tax credits are factored in. As for the high deductibles, those of us who know the law (unlike Trump) know that pre-ACA deductibles were as high as insurers chose to make them. The ACA capped deductibles, as well as eliminated lifetime limits on coverage, and it banned the practice of “rescission,” in which insurers routinely rescinded coverage after customers were getting sick or injured. And finally, yes, even with deductibles, people still get healthcare — healthcare they like. (The ACA enjoys an 86 percent approval rating among people who use the ACA for insurance.)
Donald Trump doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Ever. This means he’ll be especially susceptible to his own whimsy, as well as the agendas of neo-Nazi adviser Steve Bannon, along with his chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
Can someone please give the president-elect a few lessons on being, you know, the president?
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