In honor of the impending hundredth day of Donald Trump’s presidency, I wanted to compile what will hopefully be a definitive list “Nobody could have known” Trump statements.
As I wrote a few days ago, one of the novelties of Trump’s presidency and public statements is not only his woeful lack of preparation and also incredible level of ignorance but his uncanny willingness to share, even eagerly share, his new discoveries. As I wrote then …
So far the Trump Presidency has been a sort of Mr Magoo performance art in which the comically ignorant Trump learns elemental or basic things that virtually everyone in the world of politics or government already knew – things that the majority of adults probably know. Health Care: “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.” North Korea: “I felt pretty strongly that they had tremendous power. But it’s not what you think.” There are perhaps half a dozen examples equally stark.
In other words, President Trump is open about his discoveries and even eager to share them but universally projects his previous state of comical ignorance onto the general public or whomever he is talking to. In other cases, this would make sense. If Trump discovered that humans could fly if they hold their nose, close one eye and say “Shazam!” I’d want to know. Because that’s awesome. And I wouldn’t think worse of Trump for not knowing it before. Because this is new and amazing information. But learning that health care policy is complicated is a different kind of discovery.
So with that, here’s the beginning of our list. The standard is that they cannot be characterizations of Trump’s learnings or reports of Trump’s thinking from confidants or associates. They need to be on the record quotes from the President. They should be open statements of discovery of things virtually every other adult in the United States everyone knew. So here we go.
February 26th: “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”
April 12th (conversation with President Xi of China): “After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy. You know I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power over [North Korea]. But it’s not what you would think.”
April 23rd: “They had a quote from me that NATO’s obsolete. But they didn’t say why it was obsolete. I was on Wolf Blitzer, very fair interview, the first time I was ever asked about NATO, because I wasn’t in government. People don’t go around asking about NATO if I’m building a building in Manhattan, right? So they asked me, Wolf … asked me about NATO, and I said two things. NATO’s obsolete — not knowing much about NATO, now I know a lot about NATO — NATO is obsolete.”
April 23rd: “I’m saying to myself, “You know, this is more than just like, 79 (sic) missiles. This is death that’s involved,” because people could have been killed. This is risk that’s involved, because if the missile goes off and goes in a city or goes in a civilian area — you know, the boats were hundreds of miles away — and if this missile goes off and lands in the middle of a town or a hamlet …. every decision is much harder than you’d normally make. (unintelligible) … This is involving death and life and so many things. … So it’s far more responsibility.”
April 27th: “I loved my previous life. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”
I believe there are definitely more of these. So this is where I need your assistance. Is there another Trump statement that should be added to this pantheon of derp? If you have one, please drop me a line by email at talk (at) talkingpointsmemo.com. Please include the quote and a link to a reputable news source.