President Trump called into his favorite show Friday morning to hold court for 57 minutes and try to spin one of the worst weeks in his presidency.
Most of what Trump said on Fox & Friends is, by now, familiar. He spoke about his “perfect” phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, hit out at “shifty” Adam Schiff, and ranted about the U.S. paying more on defense than many European nations.
However, he did confirm that he would keep Mike Pence on board as his running mate for re-election in 2020, and tried to revive a few conspiracy theories that have been quashed in impeachment hearings.
Hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt took turns lobbing mostly softball questions to the President, with a few exceptions from Kilmeade, whose visible cringes made him seem irritated by the President’s long and imprecise answers.
Kilmeade made a few valiant attempts to get Trump to back up some of his wilder claims. “Who is your source, sir?” the host said in response to a number of Trump's talking points, including his theory that former President Barack Obama is ultimately responsible for planting information that led to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
But mostly, the conversation ran in confusing circles.
Doocy asked about Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony during this week’s House impeachment hearings. Trump said that Sondland is “anti-Trump,” despite the fact that he gave a $1 million donation to Trump's inauguration fund, and claimed he had “Hillary Clinton lawyers.”
Doocy explained to the President: “Sondland said there was quid pro quo because you wanted an investigation into corruption but it involved the Bidens, so it looked like you wanted dirt on an opponent.”
Trump responded to say: “That’s absolutely not true.” Confused, Doocy asked, “Which part?” to which Trump said, “Biden is corrupt.”
Trump saved his harshest criticism for women, calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “paralyzed” and “crazy as a bed bug,” and he seemed to stop himself just in time from saying something disparaging about former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
“The ambassador, the woman, she wouldn’t even put up my picture in the embassy,” he said. “She’s an Obama person. She’s a woman. We have to be nice.”
He resurrected his favorite nickname for Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, calling her “Pocahontas” several times.
Asked about his recent unscheduled visit to Walter Reed Medical Center, Trump claimed he went simply because he had a few hours of free time. Trump recounted that when he got home, Melania said, “Darling, darling, are you ok?” amid reports that he had a heart problem, which he denied by describing a 14-hour day on the campaign trail.
Trump did hint that Mike Pompeo may soon leave his administration, as has been rumored in recent weeks, saying that his Secretary of State “just loves Kansas,” as if to suggest he might soon go back.
Kilmeade then brought up Rudy Giuliani, asking him why he put his personal lawyer “into the middle of the Ukraine.” Trump answered by saying that he did it “because America’s mayor is one of the greatest and most famous crime-fighters anywhere in the entire world.”
Trump heaped praise on Nikki Haley, but said she would not be his 2020 running mate, because he intends to keep Pence on the ticket. And he got a dig in about Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway. “Kellyanne is great, but she’s married to a total whack job,” the president said. “She must have done some bad things to him because he’s crazy.”
The rambling conversation ended with the president promising to call back soon so he can “talk to the people.”