The New York Times reports on Trump’s off-the-record turned on-the-record remarks to the press as they flew to Paris together this week: For reporters who covered Mr. Trump before he became president, there was a familiar discursive rhythm to his remarks.
They ranged from quirky boasts — “I’m a tremendous fracker” — to frustrated outbursts. “What do you do?” he asked after recounting that President Vladimir V. Putin twice denied to him that Russia had meddled in the presidential election. “End up in a fistfight with somebody?”
They revealed a man getting a crash course in the world — “They have an 8,000-year culture,” he said of the Chinese — but one who still sees things through a real estate prism. The White House was built largely in 1799, he noted, so China views it “like a super modern building.”
And they showed someone who recognizes that his observations occasionally edge into the surreal. “As crazy as that sounds,” Mr. Trump said, after explaining why the border wall with Mexico needed to be transparent: to prevent drug dealers from throwing 60-pound sacks of drugs over it and hitting unsuspecting Americans on their heads.
Ever the negotiator, Mr. Trump shared his tradecraft for trying to pin down Mr. Putin on Russia’s role in the 2016 election.
“I said to him, ‘Were you involved in the meddling with the election?’” he recalled. “He said, ‘Absolutely not. I was not involved.’ He was very strong on it. I then said to him, in a totally different way, ‘Were you involved with the meddling?’ He said, ‘I was not — absolutely not.’” [Continue reading…]
The same words “in a totally different way”? Are we to imagine that Trump adopted his rarely used falsetto in a cunning effort to throw Putin off balance?