Has Donald Trump changed in the 14 months since he’s been out of office? Has the time away given him any perspective on the many mistakes his administration made? Has the distance allowed him to pause, reflect, and consider that maybe he should not have tried to overturn the last election? Has nature healed all of the things that are wrong with him? Given that in the last two months alone, Trump has sued Hillary Clinton for trying to “destroy his life,” reportedly suggested that the US should start a war between China and Russia, asked a murderous autocrat to help him take down the current president of the United States, and never once stopped repeating the very false claim that he won the 2020 election, the answer is quite obviously a very big no. Nevertheless, The Washington Post wanted a little more proof — to look under the hood and hear it from the deranged horse’s mouth that, yes, he is still a lying sociopath. And they got it!
In a 45-minute interview from Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump treated reporter Josh Dawsey to a dazzling array of bullshit, lies, pathological narcissism, and a clear picture of what it would be like if Trump were reelected in 2024 and return to the White House for a second term, ie so, so much worse.
For starters, despite everything we know about what took place on January 6, 2021 — namely, a violent insurrection led by Trump supporters that left several people dead — Trump told Dawsey that he remains hugely regretful that he was unable to march with the rioters to the Capitol, where they laid siege to the building in the hopes of blocking the certification of Joe Biden‘s win. Secret Service said I could not go. I would have gone there in a minute, ”he said. He also said he had no regrets whatsoever about having invited his followers to come to Washington in the first place via a tweet telling them things would “be wild!” and falsely claimed that he urged only peace and patriotism. (In fact, he told the group assembled to “fight like hell,” filled their heads with lies about the election having been stolen, and repeatedly threatened Mike Pence—Which, and we’re just theorizing here, may have led to the rioters’ “hang Mike Pence” chants at the Capitol.)
Naturally, being a deeply disturbed individual with a documented obsession with crowd sizes, Trump also complained to Dawsey that he did not get enough credit for the sheer number of people at the rally that preceded the insurrection, which would be like Lee Harvey Oswald gripping that he never gets enough credit for all he prep work that went into assassinating JFK. “The crowd was far bigger than I even thought. I believe it was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken to. I do not know what that means, but you see very few pictures. They do not want to show pictures, the fake news does not want to show pictures, ”Trump insisted. “But this was a tremendous crowd.”
As for the violence that subsequently went down, which Trump still claims he did not cause, he’d like people to know that it was actually Nancy Pelosi‘s fault. “I thought it was a shame, and I kept asking why is she not doing something about it?” Trump said, like only a true sociopath could. “Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi doing something about it? And the mayor of DC also. The mayor of DC and Nancy Pelosi are in charge. I hated seeing it. I hated seeing it. And I said, ‘It’s got to be taken care of,’ and I assumed they were taking care of it. ” As Dawsey notes, Pelosi shares control of the Capitol with the Senate majority leader, and “most decisions on securing the Capitol are made by a police board.” In a statement, Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, told the Mail: “The former president’s desperate lies aside, the speaker was no more in charge of the security of the US Capitol that day than Mitch McConnell.”
As the Mail‘s Philip Bump notes, it’s more than a little rich of Trump to suggest that he thought the violence was terrible but that he was merely waiting for Pelosi to stop it, since (1) he was the president, (2) he continued to attack Pence as the violence went down, and (3) we know that he was loving the attack. (According to his former press secretary, he “gleefully” watched the insurrection on TV, saying, “Look at all of the people fighting for me,” an accounting of the day that tracks with that of Republican senator Ben Sasse, who said in an interview on January 8, 2021, that senior White House officials had told him that as the insurrection unfolded, “Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team were not as excited as he was. ”)
Unsurprisingly, the ex-president told Dawsey that he has no idea why there is a seven-hour-plus gap in his phone logs as the Capitol was being sacked, and that despite having a “very good” memory, could not recall exactly who he spoke to that day. (As a reminder, amidst the violence, he called at least one senator to urge him to continue to block Biden’s win, a conversation that, curiously, is reportedly among those left out of the official presidential record.) Trump also appeared to suggest that Biden should be forced to vacate the White House, and that he should replace him. “If you’re a bank robber, or you’re a jewelry store robber, and you go into Tiffany’s and you steal their diamonds and get caught, you have to give the diamonds back,” he said.
And, most disturbingly, he indicated that a 2024 run is likely. “I do not want to comment on running, but I think a lot of people are going to be very happy with my decision,” he told Dawsey.
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Nothing is bringing down Cory Booker today