While cameras were rolling during a meeting with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, held to discuss the upcoming hurricane season, President Donald Trump politely thanked each of his Cabinet members and briefly mentioned Puerto Rico, where, according to a new report, thousands more than initially reported died as a result of Hurricane Maria.
But behind closed doors, hurricanes were the last thing on Trump’s mind, according to audio of the private discussion obtained by the Washington Post. The President jumped from subject to subject, making seemingly random requests of his Cabinet members and boasting about things he deemed accomplishments.
Trump reportedly bragged about his “popularity” and the work his Cabinet has done: “I understand a big story is being done in a major newspaper talking about what a great Cabinet this is— what a great Cabinet this has turned out to be. … Our level of popularity is great,” he said.
He told Energy Secretary Rick Perry he should hold a press conference to promote his message about helping coal companies and lauded his own role in “setting records” to improve the U.S. economy.
“We have tremendous number of companies coming back,” he said. “Nobody had any idea this was going to happen. I did.”
Trump also claimed that he saved the U.S. $1.6 billion in airplane expenses because he helped negotiate a deal with Boeing for Air Force One. As the Post notes, military officials aren’t sure where Trump got that figure, which he has cited previously. He then grumbled about the military spending too much money on new technology for aircrafts— a complaint no one in the room responded to at first.
“Part of it is, they want to have all new. Instead of having the system that throws the aircraft off the (ship), which was always steam, they now have magnets,” he said, according to the Post. “They spent hundreds of millions of dollars, I’m hearing not great things about it. It’s frankly ridiculous.”
Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan eventually stepped in, reportedly vowing to start bringing Trump receipts.
Read the Post’s full story here.