Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated: Fri, 10 Jan 2020 21:57:21 GMT
Amid an ongoing debate in Washington over when, exactly, the impeachment trial will begin in the Senate -- and the continued fallout from the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani -- President Donald Trump went to his happy place on Thursday night: a campaign rally.
Trump traveled to Toledo, Ohio, to bask in the glow of his adoring base -- and bask he did, delivering his now-familiar stream-of-consciousness speech rife with exaggerations and flat-out falsehoods. And the crowd loved every minute of it.
I went through the transcript of Trump's speech and picked out the lines you need to see. They're below.
1. "You remember, 2016, what year that was, right?"
I do! I mean, it was only, like, three years ago! And away we go!
2. "So now we have South Korea, we just finished the big one, $40 billion with Japan on January 15, we are signing a monster, a big beautiful monster, $40 billion to $50 billion to our farmers."
He's talking about trade. I think.
3. "I keep saying go buy larger tractors. Go buy larger tractors."
4. "And just in case you didn't know it, Ohio just had the best year economically in the history of your state."
It's not clear what measurement Trump is using here. As Seth Richardson of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes, Ohio actually lost jobs in 2019.
5. "I signed the largest-ever investments in the United States military, $738 billion, and we created this sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces, the Space Force, and everybody is excited about that."
6. "We've got new planes, we've got new rockets, new missiles, we've got new everything, and it's either here or coming in."
"We've got new everything." -- The President of the United States
7. "They go home to mommy. They're going home to mommy. They are going home to mommy. It's a beautiful sight. Thank you, security. Do we love law enforcement, by the way?"
This is Trump's response to a protester being escorted out of the rally. And yes, he says the "go home to mommy" thing every time. Why? Because, at root, he is a bully.
8. "So they don't want me to make that decision. They want me to call up, maybe go over there, let me go over to Congress. Or come on over to the White House, let's talk about it."
In which Trump says he can't possibly be asked to seek congressional approval for a military strike -- although the power to declare war lies solely in the hands of Congress. Because, the Constitution.
9. "We didn't have time to call up Nancy, who is not operating with a full deck."
In which the President suggests the Speaker of the House is operating at some sort of reduced mental capacity. His evidence? Oh, he didn't provide any.
10. "Nine inches. He buys the smallest shirt collar you can get, and it is loose."
Trump is talking here about the neck circumference of the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Very normal stuff!
11. "By the way, did you see, I did nothing wrong. They don't even know what the hell is going on."
This is about impeachment. And yes, Donald Trump is only the third president in the history of the country to be impeached by the House.
12. "That is the way the Academy Awards used to look when it was successful. Then they started hitting us all the time, and it became unsuccessful. I love it. I love it, actually."
So the Academy Awards are no longer successful because, uh, they started attacking Donald Trump? Also, the ratings for the 2019 Academy Awards were up from 2018. So ...
13. "They write -- if you watched for the last three years, think of it -- and then they get Pulitzer Prizes, but it turned out to be all wrong. How do you do that? They get Pulitzer Prize for being wrong."
[narrator voice] They weren't wrong.
14. "I made a deal. I saved a country, and I just heard that the head of that country is now getting the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the country. I said, what? Did I have something do with it? Yes."
Trump appears to be referencing the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner -- Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Abiy was chosen for the prize "for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea." Which, I guess, Trump thinks he did and, therefore, should have won the Peace Prize?
15. "I saved a big war. I saved a couple of them."
So I assume here Trump is counting the conflict with Iran as a "big war"? Let's, just for the sake of argument, grant that one. What other "big" wars has Trump saved us from?
16. "And nobody has done it like we've done it. And it is we, it is we. It is not me. It is we."
No "I" in team!!
17. "You know, outside, I don't know what this place holds, like 10,000 or 11,000 people, right? Outside you have thousands and thousands of people that want to get in."
This is a common Trump brag that is rarely based in reality.
18. "But now I have completed more promises than I have made."
[cut to egg-headed scientist] This simply isn't possible.
19. "Did you ever hear me prior to the election talk about Space Force? I never talked about it. We did Space Force. But did we ever speak about it? No."
Here's how Space Force came about, according to Trump himself in March 2018. "You know, I was saying it the other day -- because we're doing a tremendous amount of work in space -- I said, 'Maybe we need a new force. We'll call it the Space Force," Trump recounted. "And I was not really serious. And then I said, 'What a great idea. Maybe we'll have to do that.' "
20. "He calls me Mr. President. I've known this guy forever. He used to call me, 'Hey, Don, let's go out to dinner.' You know, before, he'll go, 'Hey, let's go out to dinner.' Now he goes, 'Mr. President, sir, how are you?' "
So, you are saying, people call you "Mr. President" now that you are President? But they didn't call you that before you were President? Weird!
21. "So we have the greatest phrase of all time, Make America Great Again, and with all due respect, I'll never end it."
So it's the greatest phrase of all time now, is it?
22. "So Crooked Hillary -- wait -- Crooked Hillary --you should lock her up, I will tell you."
This comment followed a chant of "lock her up" from the crowd. Which is ironic because on Thursday, Trump's Justice Department cleared Clinton of any and all wrongdoing as secretary of state in regard to her work with the Clinton Foundation.
23. "Oh, I hate to see it."
You do hate to see it.
24. "You ever see these crazy polls that come out -- we are doing great in the polls, by the way."
In Gallup's most recent poll, 45% approved of how Trump is doing his job, while 51% disapproved.
25. "We are selling that hat like nobody has ever sold a hat before, I will say. So it's great. Good."
Trump is talking about the "Make America Great Again" hats. Or maybe the "Keep America Great" hats. Either way, those hats are selling "like nobody has ever sold a hat before."
26. "And he punked out on us, right, this guy."
"This guy" appears to be former Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, who refused to endorse Trump's 2016 campaign.
27. "I have a 95% approval rating. Can you believe it?"
I cannot. Mostly because it's not clear to me where Trump is getting this number, which he cites a lot. A Fox News poll conducted last month showed him at 85% approval among Republicans.
28. "They say, they did a poll on this. I think I remember the numbers. All you know is, we won against Abraham, Honest Abe. We won. Fifty-three to 47, do you believe that? Abraham Lincoln."
This is from a YouGov poll -- and Trump has the numbers right. A majority of Republicans believe he is a better president than Abraham Lincoln. So, well, yeah.
29. "I don't know if they had polls back then, but Abraham Lincoln -- I always say, I can be more presidential than any candidate that ever ran, than any president, other than maybe Abraham Lincoln when he is wearing his hat."
30. "But I like Abe Lincoln, but we are doing well."
Yeah, this all checks out.
31. "I should watch -- you know, I'm supposed to watch, it's like my job, try and watch. Watch the competition. But it's like watching death."
If you don't think Trump watches the Democratic presidential debates, I have a terrific company named Theranos to tell you about.
32. "And Biden doesn't know the difference between Iran and Iraq. He has gotten it wrong four times."
Here's Trump's answer from a 2015 debate when asked about the nuclear triad: "We have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ballgame. ... The biggest problem we have is nuclear -- nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman, go out and get a nuclear weapon. That's in my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces right now." Uh huh.
33. "I said, we have to have -- where is Hunter -- as a witness and they said, what do you mean, where is Hunter? I said, that's his first name. I have now made his first name, where is. Where is Hunter?"
So. Hunter Biden's new name, according to Trump, is "Where Is Hunter Biden." OK.
34. "So where is Hunter? Where the hell are you, Hunter?"
Where's Wallace at?
35. "And they just called today, five of the most respected people and they said things that were incredible. They said there's never been anything like this in the church that they can remember."
Religious leaders called Trump and told him that "there's never been anything like this in the church." And the "this" is the excitement for Trump. Yeah.
36. "It is being shipped all over the world, while every Democrat running for president wants to shut down our coal mines, we are putting our miners back to work. Dig we must. Dig we must."
Trump channels Yoda.
37. "You know, there is a state known as Texas, and I won Texas by a lot, just like I won Ohio by a lot."
A state known as Texas, you say? Also, Trump won Texas by 9 points in 2016. Mitt Romney won it by 16 points four years earlier.
38. "And our air and our water right now is cleaner than it's been in 40 years."
"US air quality is slipping after years of improvement" -- June 2019
39. "The steel industry was dead, and now it is vibrant."
40. "And Congressman Van Drew left their party and joined our party. So we've done things that nobody has ever done before, but the Democrats are taking their cues from the socialist Bernie Sanders and that girl."
Uh. I guess "that girl" that Trump is referring to is New York's Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
41. "Virtually every top Democrat also now supports late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother's womb right up until the moment of birth."
42. "I spent two to three hours talking to the people that work there. I looked at some of that hydraulics and I'm -- I love the whole thing, the world of tractors and all of that stuff. I know a lot about it."
Sure you do.
43. "And I looked at the carvings, I looked at the metal. I looked at how perfect everything was. The turrets, the round, how perfect it fit. They put it on."
The carvings. The metal. The turrets. The round.
44. "A lot of crooked people, disgusting, crooked people."
The President of the United States on Washington, DC. This feels like a good place to end,