Want to know how well things are going for President Donald Trump this week?
He called up “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning and delivered a head-spinning, 57-minute rant-fest, in a seeming desperate attempt to regain control of the narrative — at least with his base. With all the damning testimony this week and last, the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry has grown into a full-blown crisis for the White House, and the call on Friday proved Trump is feeling the heat.
“Fox & Friends” hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt tried to corral the conversation as Trump careened from topic to topic, hitting on testimony from the inquiry, the identity of the whistleblower, how he stopped China from invading Hong Kong, having to be “nice” to a woman and, naturally, a conspiracy theory about servers.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the seven things you should know from Trump’s wildest F&F call-in yet.
“She's a woman. We have to be nice.”
Trump fired off an attack at Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, whom Trump suddenly ousted from her post back in the spring, and then tried to intimidate while she was testifying last Friday about his intimidation. He claimed she was an “Obama person” and not an “angel.”
“The ambassador, the woman, she wouldn't even put up — she's an Obama person,” Trump said. “I said, 'Why are you being so kind?'… 'Well, sir, she's a woman. We have to be nice.' She’s very tough. I heard bad things, and by the way, when I was talking to [Ukraine] President [Volodymyr] Zelensky — it’s right on the phone. You can read it — he didn't like her."
“I do want always corruption.”
Trump attempted to defend himself from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland's flat-out assertion that yes, the president wanted a quid pro quo from Ukraine: an investigation into political rival Joe Biden in exchange for favors from the U.S. The president tried to say he wanted to look into corruption in Ukraine, but it didn’t go so well.
“I do want always corruption,” he said. “I say that to anybody.”
Back at it again with CrowdStrike
Trump once again pushed a vague, barely understandable conspiracy theory — with no evidence — that the FBI handed over a (nonexistent) missing Democratic National Committee server to the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, in some apparent effort to cover up the real Ukraine story. The general idea of the conspiracy is that somehow Russia was framed as the hacker in the 2016 election.
“The FBI went in and they told them, ‘Get outta here; were not giving [the server] to you,’” Trump said on-air. “They gave the server to CrowdStrike, or whatever it’s called.”
The president then falsely claimed CrowdStrike is owned by a wealthy Ukrainian. CrowdStrike is an American company co-owned by two U.S. citizens, one of whom was born in Russia.
“Are you sure they did that? Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine,” host Steve Doocy followed up.
“Well, that’s what the word is,” Trump responded.
The president pushed this theory in his July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Zelensky — you know, the call that kicked off the whole impeachment thing.
Trump plied his very unpresidential craft of slapping disparaging nicknames and insults at a host of perceived political enemies.
A quick list:
Rep. Adam Schiff: “sick puppy.”
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “Alfred E. Neuman” (Young people, click here for a shortcut Google search for that.)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: "Crazy as a bedbug."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “Pocahontas.”
Biden: He might not make it "without cracking up" mentally.
"She must have done some number on him”
George Conway, conservative lawyer and husband to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, is an exceptionally harsh critic of Trump. The president hasn’t taken it well, and he took another shot at Conway on Fox & Friends.
“Kellyanne is great, but she’s married to a total whack job,” the president said. “She must have done some number on him.”
Conway merrily mocked Trump on Twitter.
"If it weren't for me, Hong Kong would've been obliterated”
Trump got room to ramble within the friendly confines of a "Fox & Friends" interview, and he eventually landed on the subject of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong to give some well-deserved praise — to himself. In his mind, he's the only thing preventing China from crushing the protesters with military force.
"If it weren't for me, Hong Kong would've been obliterated in 14 minutes," Trump said.
He further added that if it weren’t for the U.S.’s ongoing trade negotiations with China, then Chinese President Xi Jinping would’ve already cracked down and killed thousands while implementing a “police state.”
Trying to out the whistleblower
Trump also pressed the Fox hosts to say the name of the rumored whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry. The president and his Republican allies have been pushing publicly to name the whistleblower.
But Doocy and Kilmeade stood their ground, rightly pointing out nobody actually knows the identity of the whistleblower.
“You said we know the name of the whistleblower — we’ve seen names on the internet — we have no idea,” Doocy said.
Trump fired back saying he didn’t believe Doocy. But the host insisted they’ve seen names but don’t have verification.
“You don't need verification,” Trump said. “You know exactly who it is.”