Well, that was something. What it was isn’t clear, but it was … something. For an hour and a half, Donald Trump stood in front of a hand-selected collection of his most sycophantic sycophants and wandered through time and space to talk about the “scum” at the FBI, how he refuses to believe that Nancy Pelosi prays, and how Ivanka Trump could really make some money if she was only allowed to work with foreign companies.
In the process, Trump shared some love with his favorite members of Congress, including praising Devin Nunes for his work “in dungeons” and telling Steve Scalise that being shot had improved his looks. But most of the love Trump held for himself, as he flipped between parts of his normal rally speech and … indefinable weirdness. Mostly Trump seemed out to prove that in between his plodding, slow-motion appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast and his hyper-loopy sniffle-fest at noon had come a whole, whole lot of chemicals for better living.
Throughout the hour, Trump pointed out Republicans who had been particularly useful to him—here’s Mitch McConnell! Here’s Chuck Grassley! Here’s Mark Meadows! This included going off on an extended discussion of Jim Jordan’s ears. A good case of cauliflower ear on Jordan’s part apparently reminded Trump of his time play-acting with the Wrestlemania crew. Which made Jordan one of his favorites.
At another point, in addition to talking about how amazing it was that Steve Scalise’s wife actually stayed with him at the hospital after he was shot—something that “a lot of wives” would not do, according to Trump, who has experience with a lot of wives—Trump went through a dramatic reenactment of the shooting. He also mentioned that the bullet that hit Scalise was one especially designed to cause more damage on impact. He didn’t mention that Republicans, including Scalise, have voted to keep that particular kind of bullet available to the public.
It was during this time talking about a shooting that happened on a softball field that Trump’s pinballing thought process took him back to his youth. Remembering a former Yankees second baseman, Trump asked the room if they remembered Bobby Richardson. It’s not likely that many did, because Richardson retired from baseball in 1966.
On the other hand, Richardson is only 84. Chuck Grassley is 86. He probably thinks of Richardson as an upstart.
Between sniffles, Trump found time to criticize everyone who ever suggested that selling out the White House was a bad thing. But strangely enough, most of these attacks seemed to be fixed on James Comey. Had he not fired the former FBI director, said Trump, it was likely “I would not be here today.” Which is … interesting. Trump paused to make fun of Robert Mueller, Christopher Steele, and of course Lisa Page—it would not be a Trump speech without his fixation on Lisa Page.
But at a speech that was supposed to be about his acquittal after impeachment, Trump seemed to forget to mention anything about that impeachment, except that Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi are “vicious.” Oh, and that Mitt Romney only voted against him on one count, so he got “almost 53” votes.
Earlier in the day, Trump was promising a speech full of retribution. But whatever substance brings him from ploddy to sniffy apparently left him unable to stop stroking his ego—and Ivanka—long enough to get his vengeance full-venging. Instead he settled for throwing out a lot of “sleaze” and “slime” and “dirty cop” references, without telling us just what kind of thumbscrews he’s ordering in bulk.
It wasn’t a news event. It wasn’t a speech. It’s was just a thing.
Oh, and twice Donald Trump insisted that the plural of “apprentice” is “apprenti.” Apparently he believes that he spent several seasons on The Apprentus.