Remember the date — February 16, 2017. It’s one for the history books, the day that an American president gave a public performance so nutty, so bizarre, so full of malignant narcissism and wild invention that it boggles the mind and rattles the teeth.
In a 77-minute rant, Donald Trump defended his madcap administration as entirely sane, as if the firing of Mike Flynn, the collapse of Andrew Puzder’s cabinet candidacy, the ethics violation of Kellyanne Conway, the sinister stylings of Steve Bannon’s executive orders, the fight with the intelligence community, the battle with the judiciary, the posturing againt the media, the ongoing questions about Russia’s connection to his campaign, were not happening.
Remember people: His administration is not yet four weeks old.
Every question Trump took from a journalist was accompanied by a dig at the said journalist. He couldn’t take a question without insulting the person asking it. The CNN reporter had bad ratings. He called an orthodox Jewish journalist — the kind with the sidecurls and the black suit — a liar. He called on an African-American journalist and then asked her to set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. He dodged every question on Russia. And he said that Mike Flynn — who HE fired — didn’t do anything wrong, really.
The press conference, it has been reported, was a surprise to Trump’s own staff. So here’s how this went: The president tossed and turned all night, raging internally at the unfairness of it all. And he got up determined to set the world straight. To make sure everyone understood that he’s a good guy getting a bad rap.
But really, it was like upside down day. Like opposite day. Trump as the Mad Hatter, spinning an alternative reality without the goggles.
He denied that his White House was in chaos, as if he felt compelled to counter, verbatim, the New York Times whose headline said exactly that.
“There’s zero chaos,” he protested. The administration is a “fine-tuned machine.”
It got nuttier from there.
On Flynn: “The leaks are real. The news is fake.” (As others have pointed out, this is not possible. If the leaks are real, then the news they are leaking can’t be fake.”)
“I’m not a bad person.”
“I’m actually having a very good time. ”
“I inherited a mess.”
“You’re dishonest people.”
“I’m the least anti-Semitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”
On Russia: “A nuclear holocaust would be like no other.”
Every day in Trump Administration time is like a month for any other presidency I’ve witnessed.
But today, our obstreperous and unhinged commander in chief must surely be giving some sleepless nights not to his enemies, but to his Republican friends.
You can watch the whole thing here, but remember you don’t get those minutes back: