Yesterday, TIME published an exclusive interview with Donald Trump on “Truth and Falsehoods.” Which is an incredibly bold premise to take with a president who’s finally answered the age-old question, “What would Nixon have been like on coke?” Because talking to Trump is like trying to hold onto a man-sized carrot doused in lube. Barely two questions into the interview, Trump essentially says he was speaking in “air quotes” when he accused the Obama administration of wiretapping him, but then also claims he was “vindicated” by Devin Nunes’ press conference. To be clear, Nunes’ press conference confirmed that, yes, communications from Trump aides were intercepted as part of an ongoing investigation into the campaign’s alleged collusion with Russian hackers. However, Nunes said he “didn’t know if Trump’s own communications were intercepted.” None of that vindicates the fevered accusation that President Obama had Trump wiretapped to help Hillary Clinton win the election. But the truly ridiculous part is that Donald Trump actually attempted to brag that he was proven right — as he so often is — by a press conference that confirmed his own campaign is being investigated for allegedly coordinating with a foreign power to influence an American election. It takes a special brand of pompous idiot to smile smugly after essentially saying, “See? I had every reason to be wiretapped because I was committing treason. Sad!”
Trump is also adamant that his allegations that he lost the popular vote because of three million “illegal” votes will also be proven right, which he genuinely believes happens to every single random notion he farts into the wind. And in case that sounds like hyperbole, here’s the President of the United States making it very clear that he’s going to say whatever the hell he wants whenever he wants because he has, like, the best instincts.
Is there anything different about making these kinds of predictions without having the factual evidence as President?
I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right.
And Trump’s ego was only warming up along with his penchant for speaking in a language that I’m positive only Sarah Palin can understand. It’s as if the two of them share a secret dialect, and that dialect is a shotgun blast into the face of coherency called “Fuck You, Words.” Which makes it all the more breathtaking that the media mustered up the attention span to make it to the end of the interview where Trump did his big boy mic drop and drove home the terrifying reality that America truly is at the mercy of a toddler.
Hey look, in the mean time, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know. Say hello to everybody OK?
And while that’s an hilarious and horrifying gem that I can’t fault anyone for turning into a schadenfreude-laced piece of internet that revisits just how tiny of a hole that outcome squeezed through, what stood out the most in Trump’s conglomeration of word salads is this little remark:
I said the election was rigged against Bernie, a lot of people agree with that one, a lot of people hated the statement when I made it.
That is a very odd and uniquely Trumpian thing to brag about in our president’s current position. Because here’s the subtext that gets glossed over whenever anyone talks about the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia: If those allegations are true, the express purpose of that collusion was to bolster a paper-thin narrative that Bernie Sanders was shafted by the Democratic National Convention by selectively leaking out-of-context emails. And it worked. Despite Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote, a significant enough margin of the Left either stayed home on Election Day or ran straight into the anti-vaxxer arms of Jill Stein to flip the Electoral College. So boasting that he knew the election was “rigged against Bernie” is a monumentally reckless comment for Trump to make right now, but that has been his entire brand since white nationalism handed him the Republican nomination on a Jesus-y silver platter: “My mouth is going to move now and clearly whatever comes out will be pure gold that can’t possibly backfire in incredible and spectacular ways because I’m Donald Trump.”
Except Trump’s words do backfire — almost every single time — but a depressing number of factors have aligned to let him keep frothing again and again even as America descends even further into chaos. (Matt Taibbi is all over this.) A media whose ratings/clicks/buckets/whatever are through the roof every time he tweets. A gaggle of barely humanoid GOP politicians that are still hoping Trump is the Santa Claus who’ll give them everything on their wish list this year while pissing on the poor from his sleigh. And a not-insignificant chunk of Americans who are clearly willing to give up their own affordable healthcare and starve the elderly to death as long as we start rounding up Muslims and Mexicans, and oh, hey maybe, look the other way while some of them spray paint swastikas on day cares. At this point, Donald Trump is Immortan Joe and his followers, both in and out of office, haven’t met a fact they won’t kamikaze into with a face full of silver spray paint. How do you even combat that?