There’s something about speaking to U.S. Coast Guard service members that brings out President Donald Trump’s simmering anger at the media.
The president served sandwiches Thanksgiving Day to Coast Guard members near his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida, where he praised himself and American military capabilities during a rambling address, reported Buzzfeed News.
“The Coast Guard always respected, but if you’re looking at it as a brand, there’s no brand that went up more than the Coast Guard with what happened in Texas, and I would say in particular, Texas has been incredible,” Trump said. “You saved 16,000 lives —
nobody knows that, 16,000 lives. In fact, when I first heard the number, I said, you mean like 600? 500? 16,000 lives in Texas.”
He praised their response to subsequent hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico, where nearly 10 percent of people are still without power, and continued boasting about their brand.
“We went together to Texas, we saw what you were doing,” Trump said, referring to his wife Melania. “You just followed that storm, right next to that storm. You saved so many people. I still haven’t figured out how people take their boats out into a hurricane. Someday you’ll explain it.”
Then he awkwardly opened the address up for questions by reporters, who he joked about firing earlier in the day during a Thanksgiving call to military service members.
“Should we leave the media here to do the questions or should we tell the media?” the president said. “It’s Thanksgiving, let’s let the media stay. Anybody have any questions about the country, how we’re doing or any of those things? Wow. I love it when you don’t. That means you’re doing great, I love that, that’s the greatest. The press I know doesn’t have any questions. If you do, we won’t take them but that’s already. The press has plenty of questions.”
He spoke at length about military ships, aircraft and other weaponry.
“The Navy, I can tell you, we’re ordering ships, with the Air Force I can tell you we’re ordering a lot of planes, in particular the F-35 fighter jet, which is like almost like an invisible fighter,” Trump said. “I was asking the Air Force guys, I said, how good is this plane? They said, well, sir, you can’t see it. I said but in a fight. You know, in a fight, like I watch on the movies. The fight, they’re fighting. How good is this? They say, well, it wins every time because the enemy cannot see it. Even if it’s right next to them, it can’t see it. I said that helps, that’s a good thing.”
Then he suggested U.S. allies were insufficiently loyal and praised countries that bought American weaponry.
“Nobody has the equipment that we have, and it’s sad when we’re selling our equipment to other countries but we’re not buying it ourselves,” Trump said. “But now that’s all changed, and I said, the stuff that we have is always a little bit better, too. When we sell to other countries, even if they’re allies you never know about an ally. An ally can turn, you’re going to find that out. But I always say make lives a little bit better. Give it that extra speed, a little bit — keep a little bit — keep about 10 percent in the bag. We have — nobody has what with we have.”
The president then served sandwiches to Coast Guard members.
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As primary season heats up in the United States, the Democrats are anxiously debating the best path to unseat Donald Trump in 2020. But the question of how to beat Trump is perhaps less urgent than the issue of whether he will accept defeat.
Trump has already questioned his loss of the 2016 popular vote with baseless accusations of voter fraud. He has also repeatedly toyed with the idea of extending his presidency beyond the eight-year limit enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, even trumpeting Jerry Falwell Jr.’s assertion that his first term be extended by two years to compensate for the Russia investigation. Perhaps most ominously, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen warned while testifying before the House Oversight Committee in February 2019: