Tuesday morning on Fox & Friends, hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade skipped school and took a little field trip to the White House, where President Donald Trump invited them into the East Room to sit on chairs beneath a portrait of George Washington and ask him a few questions. Pressed together, asking questions in the same tone, the Fox News co-hosts were like Huey, Dewy, and Louie interrogating Donald Duck.
“Thanks for the shout-out!” Doocy said, referring to Trump’s praise for Fox & Friends during his last press conference. “Thank you for treating me very fairly,” the president responded. Referring to his campaign habit of dialing in to chat with Friends, he added, “Maybe without those call-ins, someone else would be sitting here.” It was at this point that I thought I saw George Washington’s portrait shed a small tear.
Kilmeade asked what I’ll bet he thought was a tough question: “Can you give me an example of a time when someone was critical of you and you thought, ‘I deserved that hit, I deserved that column?’”
“No,” said Trump, “I could probably never do that, Brian.” (At this point there were laughs from Larry, Moe, and Curly.) “I don’t wanna give you ammunition,” said Trump, whatever that meant. “Over the years, when you make a mistake, I fully understand when they hit you. But when they make stories up, when they make sources up — because I believe sometimes they don’t have sources; the sources don’t exist. And sometimes they do exist!”
Honestly, sometimes transcribing Trump is like shaking the letters around in a Scrabble bag and spilling them onto the computer screen. Anyway, Trump finished his “point”: “But I believe a lot of the sources are made up … I believe a lot of the stories are pure fiction. …” What stories? Never mind. Fox & Friends certainly didn’t.
Ainsley was up next. “Mr. President, the Oscars. Jimmy Kimmel — he had some crude comments. He insinuated at least that you were a racist. What’s your response?” Trump sighed: “It seems the other side whenever they’re losing badly they pull out the race card.” By “other side” I guess he meant what The X-Files used to call “the military-industrial-entertainment complex.”
Kilmeade said, “Let’s talk about your tweeting. You’ve attacked recently McCain, the FBI, Democrats. Is there a method to the attacks or just venting?”
“No method, really, and it’s not venting either,” said Trump breezily. “It does allow me to go around dishonest media. I don’t have to go around you folks, but I do have to go around some media. Because the following is so large — between Twitter and Facebook and all the different things [that] have so many millions of people — it allows me to give a message without having have to go through people, where I’m giving them a message and they’re putting it down differently from what I mean.” You mean translating that into coherent English?
Ainsley added that “some of the people want you to stop doing that” — i.e, tweeting. The president was stern. “Most of the people who want me to stop are the enemies, I’ll be honest with you … if I felt the media were honest, all of it, I wouldn’t do it,” he said.
It was left to Kilmeade to just start making things up: “It turns out [former President Obama’s] organization is doing a lot of the organizing of some of the protests that a lot of these Republicans are seeing around the country [at town halls] and against you. Do you believe President Obama is behind it, and if he is is that a violation of the so-called unsaid presidents code?” What? Have you heard that Obama is dispatching human drones to town halls? And what is this “so-called unsaid presidents code” of which he speaks? No matter. Trump is on Fox’s wavelength.
“No, I think he is behind it,” said Trump managing to contradict himself in the space of seven words. “I also think it’s politics. … And some of the leaks probably come from that group. … No, I think President Obama is behind it because his people are behind it, and some of the leaks possibly come from that group — which are really very bad leaks in terms of national security. But I also understand that’s politics in terms of him being behind things.”
The president was asked to grade himself thus far. “In terms of achievement, I think I’d give myself an A, because I think I’ve done great things,” Trump said. “I and my people — I don’t think we’ve explained it well enough to the American public. I think I get an A in terms of what I’ve actually done, but in terms of messaging, I’d give myself a C or a C+.”
Yes, as a preview of tonight’s address to Congress, the Fox & Friends interview was a doozy. Or a Doocy. Can’t wait.
Fox & Friends airs weekdays at 6 a.m. on Fox News.