For the first time since July, now president-elect Donald Trump held a press conference filled with opening acts (both the incoming press secretary Sean Spicer and veep Mike Pence), special guests (his lawyer) and even props (we’ll get to that shortly).
While discussing his overseas travel habits in Russia and other places, Trump proclaimed himself “a germaphobe.”
1. A wall, not a fence. Trump insisted on clarifying for a reporter that it will be a full-on wall with Mexico, not a mere fence. He acknowledged that the U.S. would initially pay for it but insisted that Mexico would reimburse the expenses. He also noted that Mexico’s leaders and people are “so nice.”
2. Obamacare repealed and replaced. The Republican Party in general is unified about dumping Obamacare, but has been less united when it comes to the next step: Do they offer a new plan or just wait and see where the chips fall? Trump said he definitely wants a replacement after repeal and, beyond that, he wants it the “same day.” He might also settle for the “same week,” but would prefer the “same hour.”
3. Large stacks of papers. While insisting he did not need to divest himself of his businesses because the president cannot have a conflict of interest—his reasoning and possible flaws in that logic, here—Trump nonetheless announced that he’d place Trump assets under the control of his sons. This led to references to a stack of papers on the stage, which he and his lawyer repeatedly explained to be some (but by no means all) of the work involved in the matter. Whether the piles will grow as the year goes on or we’ll just see new stacks was not addressed.
4. General cleanliness. While discussing his overseas travel habits in Russia and other places, Trump proclaimed himself “a germaphobe.” This seemed designed to rebut the report that he was into watching “golden showers”—and, yes, this is further confirmation we have entered territory the Founding Fathers never envisioned.
It was far more intense than a normal presidential press conference, though still downright sedate by Jerry Springer standards.
5. Friendly fire. Senator Lindsey Graham is one of Trump’s biggest critics on Russia. He is also a former rival for the Republican nomination. A reporter’s mention of Graham led Trump—who once gave out Graham’s number to supporters at a rally—to wonder if Graham had yet managed to crack one percent in the polls. He then said he had heard from people that his now nominal ally was, in fact, a “nice guy.”
6. A healthy amount of chaos. Trump, Spicer and Pence all spent a great deal of time attacking reports from BuzzFeed and CNN on alleged Trump connections to Russia. This led to a CNN reporter demanding a chance to respond as Trump continually told him to stop, snapping, “Don’t be rude.” It was far more intense than a normal presidential press conference, though still downright sedate by Jerry Springer standards.
7. Apprentice references. As the hour-long press conference wound down (this included an extended talk by Trump’s lawyer during which Trump seemed to wander off entirely), the president-elect noted again that his sons would run his companies and he hoped they would do a good job because otherwise when he leaves office he’ll have to tell them: “You’re fired.” If Vegas offers even money-or-better odds of him closing the State of the Union the same way, take that wager.