Not on everything, presumably. But on the key issues of our time, he is right on the money. I didn’t know about this interview on Friday until I saw it linked on InstaPundit this evening, and I haven’t seen a complete transcript. But The Federalist is a good source, so here we go:
In a wide-ranging interview in the Oval Office Friday, President Donald J. Trump said that the country is in the midst of “a political war … where the left will use anything to win, including the culture.”
The president said that to restore order and win in 2020, his Republican allies “need to be stronger” in standing up to rioters and those who would tear down statues. “They’ve got to get much tougher,” Trump said, drawing comparisons to moments when Republicans stood together on impeachment and in battles over judicial nominees. “They have to be stronger, have to come together,” or risk losing politically and worse.
True again. The Democrat-backed riots, looting and arson that have bedeviled many American cities (generally in their poorer, and often African-American, neighborhoods) give Republicans a golden opportunity for sweeping victories in November. It is hard to understand why some Republicans don’t seem to understand this.
While acknowledging the “horrible” scene that played out in Minnesota with the death of George Floyd, Trump argued that the Floyd-related protest movement has since morphed into an “anti-cop, defund the police, anti-American” movement that puts American communities at risk.
“Police never get the credit they deserve by politicians, who are being weak,” Trump said, positing that fear of criticizing the excesses of rioters and violent protesters is driven by political correctness and the danger of being called “racist.”
I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone is afraid of being called a “racist.” The word has lost all meaning, and when it is not a generic term of abuse it is often used to refer to the exact opposite of its true significance; i.e., the current doctrine that being color-blind, paying no attention to race, is “racist.” How dumb do liberals think we are?
“Republicans need to be fighting,” Trump said, citing the ideology of the more radical agitators in the streets as “vicious” and “seditious.” As the president recognizes, the goals of those sowing the seeds of unrest are clear. “You see their leaders on TV saying ‘give us what we want, or we’ll burn down this system and replace it.’ That’s almost terrorism.”
Again, totally true statements, except I would strike the “almost.”
The Federalist story notes that there are around 500 federal investigations of violent rioters now in progress. Needless to say, I would like to see rioters, looters and arsonists prosecuted and jailed. But:
For his part, the president seemed frustrated that he was being called in to deal with problems within Democratic-represented states and Democratic-run cities.
“This should be about the mayor, and then the governor, before it even gets to the president,” Trump said, noting that while he has made the National Guard available to restore order in many cities, “they haven’t called for them.”
Again, Trump is entirely correct. The police power belongs to the states, not the federal government. The problem is the extreme malfeasance of many state and local officials. (In a week or two, Minnesota’s biggest-circulation magazine, Thinking Minnesota, will feature a cover story on the extraordinary incompetence of the state’s governor and other politicians in responding to the riots.)
Trump was surprisingly candid in talking about his use of social media:
In response to a question on whether he expects to soon be banned by Twitter — where he has over 82 million followers — Trump said: “Yes, I do.”
The president believes the ban from the popular platform will happen in the fall before the 2020 election, an opinion shared by others in the White House.
I think they are right. As I wrote here, many major businesses are withholding their advertising dollars from social media platforms to pressure those companies to do more to help elect Joe Biden. The main target is Facebook, but Twitter is also feeling the pressure, and unlike Facebook, Twitter is run by people who don’t even pretend to have any commitment to free speech. The social media freeze-out of conservative and Republican voices will flower in the Fall. Is there an alternative?
“Some people say I should join Parler,” Trump said. “Maybe. We do have over 194 million followers, though, across multiple sites.”
For what it is worth, I have joined Parler.
Trump also made some sophisticated comments about the legal structure that protects social media companies from legal liability. He moved on to talk about America’s utterly corrupt press:
Describing the media as “worse than fake news,” Trump expressed derision for prize-winning journalism which ultimately proved false.
“The Pulitzer Prize is a joke,” Trump said. “Giving the Pulitzer to the New York Times, the Washington Post for wrong coverage, false coverage? Years of it on Russia? They should all have to give them back.”
Truer words were never spoken, but of course it won’t happen. The Times and the Post are proud that their false coverage damaged the President. That was their goal.
Trump looked ahead to November’s election:
Despite facing serious political headwinds as well as some cautionary recent polling data, Trump’s mood was confident and relaxed. Acknowledging the challenge of proving he can lead the country out of a global pandemic and an economic funk, he said that re-election looked easy “as recently as three, four months ago” before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Yes. As of January, I would have given President Trump a 99% chance of re-election.
Referring to Joe Biden as “a Trojan Horse” for leftist policy, Trump said that he fully expects the left flank of the Democratic Party, represented by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to push Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer to deploy the “nuclear option,” banning the filibuster to jam radical, far-left policies through the Senate.
“Schumer will go ‘nuclear option’ on day one if we lose,” Trump said.
I think he is right there, too. It is vitally important that Republicans keep the Senate, and it would be great to recapture the House, too.
Finally, the President talked about his upcoming visit to Mount Rushmore, which is now under threat from Democrats:
Trump plans to head to Mount Rushmore in the coming week to deliver remarks and take in the first fireworks display held at the famed destination in a decade, on July 3rd.
A survey released this week by academic Eric Kaufmann, author of Whiteshift, found that 44 percent of liberal respondents and 58 percent of very liberal respondents agreed that Mount Rushmore should be eliminated.
“I do wonder sometimes if Democrats love our country,” Trump said in response to the figures.
Do Democrats love our country? Very few, I think. Those who do have left that extremist party. And if you think there is no threat to Mount Rushmore, think again. Liberals are talking about blowing it up or otherwise destroying it. South Dakota’s current Governor, Kristi Noem, stands in their way:
Not on my watch. https://t.co/U6gGap5Ib6
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) June 23, 2020
At noon Central time on July 8, I will be interviewing Governor Noem, mostly on her state’s successful response to the Wuhan epidemic, where she was the only governor (or possibly one of two) who refused to order a shutdown. But I hope to get in a question or two on other topics, including the threats against Mount Rushmore. If you would like to attend (for free), go here to register.
But I digress. The point here is that President’s Trump’s observations on the current scene could hardly be more accurate.