President Donald Trump was in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday night to rally support in advance of the Alabama special election between Roy Moore and Doug Jones on Tuesday.
Why was he in Florida rather than Alabama, you ask? Because the White House had previously said Trump wouldn't be going to Alabama to campaign for the controversial Moore, who faces a series of allegations of pursuing relationship with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. So, Trump, who formally endorsed Moore earlier this week, did the next best thing: He held a rally 25 miles from the Alabama border in a media market -- Pensacola/Mobile -- that reaches almost 20% of the state's voters.
Trump's speech was a classic in the Trump vein. I went through and picked out some of the most eye-catching lines. They're below.
1. "And you think this crowd is big, you should see right now what's outside. Congratulations."
Trump is always, always, always obsessed with crowd size. He views it as a measure of success. Or popularity. Or something. Also, I love the "congratulations" thrown in there. "Congratulations for being a big crowd. Well done."
2. "The Emerald Coast in the great state of Florida, where we had a tremendous victory, didn't we?"
Not sure if you heard, but Trump won Florida in 2016. Also, he won the Electoral College when no one thought he could. Also also, the election was 396 days ago.
3."Let me begin by wishing each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas; right?"
So we are saying "Merry Christmas" again!
4. "There's been no first year like this, or at least just about no; I think the answer is no, but I have to be very accurate because of the fake news back there."
The best first year. I think. Probably definitely. Also, fake news.
5. "By the way, how are your 401(k)s doing? Not too bad, right?"
[checks 401(k)] Not too bad!
6. "With us it goes up, with them it goes down -- and that's the end of the election, right?"
I'm convinced! (Trump is talking about the economy here and previewing his 2020 argument against Democrats.)
7. "We're going to speak the plain truth, and really the truth that you just want to hear -- you have to hear. They don't want to hear."
This idea, regularly pushed by Trump, that the media isn't interested in hearing the truth, is both wrong and pernicious.
8. "Did you see all the corrections the media has been making. They're saying sorry -- they've been doing that all year. They never apologize."
A few things here: a) Yes, the media makes mistakes b) When we make mistakes, we admit them, try to be transparent about how they happened and work to ensure they don't happen again, and c) If we in the media are "saying sorry" then how can it also be true that we "never apologize"?
9. "Get yourself a lawyer and sue ABC News. Sue them."
Trump's logic here is that because ABC News correspondent Brian Ross' incorrect report about the Russia investigation drove down the stock market briefly, people who lost money should be allowed to sue him. That is, um, not how any of this works.
10. "They apologized -- oh, thank you, CNN. Thank you so much. You should've been apologizing for the last two years. True. True."
CNN did not apologize. We corrected a story. Which happens. It's called accountability.
11. "We've created 2.2 million new jobs, factories are coming back to our country."
Trump's own Labor Department puts that number slightly lower: 1.9 million jobs.
12. "Any Hispanics here? Any Hispanics? Any Hispanics? You guys were great."
Hispanics: Terrific job. At something. I think.
13. "Remember, they weren't going to vote for me because I'm going to build the wall -- but they want the wall too."
14. "What, we have Cubans here tonight? Good. Was the number 86% in favor of Trump? A tremendous percentage."
Trump won 54% of Cubans in Florida in 2016.
15. "Consumer confidence is at a 17-year high -- think of that."
16. "We have some very good things happening with respect to health care, and the taxes are a part of it, and you'll see what happens right after taxes. You're going to see what happens."
What a cliffhanger!
17. "I kept you out of the TPP, which would have been a total disaster for you and for everybody else."
Trump is not down with TPP.
18. "They then come back because we're the big piggy bank that everybody likes robbing."
Potential future national motto: "America: We're an easily-robbed piggy bank."
19. "I love these guys. Look at these guys, 'blacks for Trump.' I love you. I love you. I love you."
I love you, man (is a terrible movie).
20. "Hillary resisted and you know what happened? She lost the election in a landslide."
Hilary Clinton: 65,853,516
Donald Trump: 62,984,825
21. "This is a rigged -- this is a rigged system. This is a sick system."
This is the president of the United States. The head of the government. Telling people that the "system" is "sick" and "rigged." Truly amazing.
22. "We have a rigged system in this country and we have to change it. Terrible. Terrible."
23. "Thanks to General Mattis and the military leaders and the allies -- Mad Dog -- Mad Dog Mattis. Mad Dog Mattis."
I have long believed that if Mattis' nickname was "Tiny" rather than "Mad Dog," Trump would have been less inclined to choose him as Secretary of Defense.
24. "Oh, surveillance? That sounds familiar. That sounds familiar. Remember when I suggested something like that -- everyone said, Trump, why is he saying? Well, it turned out I was right about that one, wasn't I?"
You were not. Trump said that President Barack Obama ordered wiretaps of him at Trump Tower. Every intelligence agency has said that didn't happen.
25. "We'll have borders on top of borders."
What would that, um, look like?
26. "We will stay American and be proud of it -- and that's what's happening more and more. That's why I see all of those red hats and those white hats. I love those hats."
27. "I said, you mean I beat Abraham Lincoln? That's pretty good for 10 months."
He's talking specifically here about the number of regulations he's gotten rid of since becoming President -- in case you were wondering.
28. "When we were doing well during that beautiful election night -- when we were doing well all over Florida, I said, was the Pensacola area included yet? And they said no. I said, guess what? We just won that election."
The election ended 396 days ago.
29. "Did you see West Virginia? I love West Virginia. West Virginia. I love West Virginia."
Things Trump loves according to this speech (so far): Blacks for Trump, West Virginia, MAGA hats.
29. "We make the greatest missiles, the greatest military equipment anywhere in the world."
The best missiles. Not close. Believe me.
30. "The first thing I see is that big beautiful Merry Christmas sign. I mean, can you believe it?"
31. "It was summer, but I said, you know, we are going to say Merry Christmas. But let me just tell you, the department stores, right, they had the beautiful red walls, they had snowflakes all over the place, they had everything. Only one thing missing, the words 'Merry Christmas.' They are using those words again. Do you notice? They are using those words again."
Trump 2020: "I brought back Christmas. You're welcome."
32. "This guy is screaming, we want Roy Moore. He is right."
In case there was any doubt why Trump was in Pensacola, this should clear it right up.
33. "I love our veterans."
Running list of what Trump "loves": Blacks for Trump, West Virginia, MAGA hats, veterans.
34. "I can't believe that Arnold Schwarzenegger bombed so badly on 'The Apprentice' -- my poor, beautiful show. Oh, it was so successful. We get a big movie star and he can't pull it off."
This came in the middle of Trump talking about the Veterans Affairs Department. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
35. "These are bad people. These are very, very bad and evil people. They know who they are."
Trump is talking about people who disagree with his agenda. And, yes, this contributes to our inability to disagree without being disagreeable. Or avoiding villainizing those who don't agree with us.
36. "They will lie and leak and smear because they don't want to accept the results of an election where we won by a landslide."
Hilary Clinton: 65,853,516
Donald Trump: 62,984,825
37. "A poll came out today on CNN. Such a fake. A poll came out."
I think Trump is referring to this Pew poll that showed him at 32% approval. But, how did he see it since he always says he never watches CNN???
38. "We need some love in the country. I would love to bring both sides together if that's possible. There is a lot of hatred out there."
"These are bad people. These are very, very bad and evil people. They know who they are." -- Donald Trump, like 30 seconds before this quote.
39. "Although I'm doing a good job, I guess, right? I'm President. I'm President."
I have absolutely no idea what he's going for here. But, he is President.
40. "And she said no, no, no, my bunch of dummies -- bunch of dummies."
Trump takes an, ahem, dim view of the campaign Clinton ran.
41. "Whether we are from the city or the country, and whether we are black or brown or white, you've heard it before, we all bleed the same red blood."