President-elect Donald J. Trump held a news conference on at Trump Towers today, his first since the November election. Here are the key moments, sensibly explained:
“So, I just want to compliment many of the people in the room. I have great respect for the news and great respect for freedom of the press and all of that. But I will tell you, there were some news organizations with all that was just said that were so professional – so incredibly professional, that I've just gone up a notch as to what I think of you. OK?”
This is a watershed moment. Trump is thanking mainstream news organs such as The New York Times and the Washington Post for not revealing lurid details of the now-notorious Trump dossier. Just weeks ago, Trump was definitive that he wouldn’t pee on them if they were on fire.
“It's all fake news. It's phony stuff. It didn't happen. And it was gotten by opponents of ours, as you know, because you reported it and so did many of the other people. It was a group of opponents that got together – sick people – and they put that crap together … Does anyone really believe that story?”
The “Trump dossier” and its infamous contents. It was all made up, says Trump, and anyone who believes it is a drip.
“Over the weekend, I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai with a very, very, very amazing man, a great, great developer from the Middle East, Hussein Damack, a friend of mine, great guy. And I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai – a number of deals and I turned it down.”
Trump is explaining here that he prefers not to spend a penny on deals if issues of conflict-of-interest or presidential favour are concerned. He doesn’t need to. He’s already flush.
“Well, if – if Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability, because we have a horrible relationship with Russia. Russia can help us fight ISIS, which, by the way, is, number one, tricky. I mean if you look, this administration created ISIS by leaving at the wrong time. The void was created, ISIS was formed. If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks? That's called an asset, not a liability.”
An excellent explanation of why any relationship he may foster with the Russian President is an asset – not of the liquid type, but an asset nonetheless.
“I want to get the wall started. I don't want to wait a year-and-a-half until I make my deal with Mexico. And we probably will have a deal sooner than that. And by the way, Mexico has been so nice, so nice. I respect the government of Mexico. I respect the people of Mexico. I love the people of Mexico. I have many people from Mexico working for me. They're phenomenal people.”
The wall is going up, rain, hail or shine. That doesn’t mean he dislikes Mexicans – he just wants to stop the trickle.
"Michael Cohen, who is said to have visited Prague in August and September, did not leave or enter the United States during this time. We asked him to produce his passport to confirm his whereabouts on the dates in question and there was no doubt that he was not in Prague."
Trump is answering allegations in the "Trump dossier" that his lawyer, Michael Cohen, whose wife is Ukrainian, visited Eastern Europe on secret business with the Russians. Trump says Cohen never went there for any reason; not business, not pleasure, not to see a man about a horse or to shake hands with his wife's best friend … nothing.
“You know, I've been hearing more and more about a thing called fake news and they're talking about people that go and say all sorts of things. But I will tell you, some of the media outlets that I deal with are fake news more so than anybody. I could name them, but I won't bother, but you have a few sitting right in front of us.”
A rare moment: Trump holding his water despite the offending organs being right in front of his face.
“We're going to have a very, very elegant day. The 20th is going to be something that will be very, very special; very beautiful. And I think we're going to have massive crowds because we have a movement. It's a movement like the world has never seen before. It's a movement that a lot of people didn't expect … And that was a beautiful scene on November 8th as those states started to pour in.
Inauguration Day – Trump’s excited about it. It’s gonna create quite a splash.