President Donald Trump on Thursday gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal in which he made a number of outlandish claims about the Chinese government, former national security adviser John Bolton, and even people who wear face masks.
Here are some of the highlights from the president’s latest interview.
1.) Trump says China may have deliberately allowed the novel coronavirus to spread to the United States in retaliation for his tariffs.
Trump told WSJ that there was “a chance” that the spread of COVID-19 outside China “was intentional,” and he suggested that it helped China get even for the tariffs he placed on their goods.
“They’re saying, man, we’re in a mess,” Trump said of the Chinese government. “The United States is killing us. Don’t forget, my economy during the last year and a half was blowing them away. And the reason is the tariffs.”
The president admitted that he had no evidence to back up his claim and said it was based only on an “internal sense.”
2.) Trump says he hired John Bolton to make foreign leaders fearful that he’d go to war with them unless they gave him what he wanted.
The president spent a good deal of time trashing the man whom he’d appointed as his national security adviser, and divulged his true rationale for bringing him into his administration in the first place.
“The only thing I liked about Bolton was that everybody thought he was crazy,” Trump explained. “When you walk into the room with him, you’re in a good negotiating position, because they figure you’re going to war if John Bolton was there.”
3.) Trump says that he actually was threatening to have looters shot in his now-infamous tweet.
Trump earlier this month issued a warning to anti-police brutality protesters against rioting and looting during demonstrations by tweeting, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Even though Trump then denied that he’d meant it as a direct threat to looters, he has now admitted to WSJ that he did mean it at least partially as a threat.
“The president said the tweet could be read as either a threat or a fact,” WSJ reports. “Asked how he intended it, Mr. Trump said ‘a combination of both.'”
4.) Trump calls COVID-19 testing “overrated” then brags about how many tests the United States has done.
“I personally think testing is overrated, even though I created the greatest testing machine in history,” Trump said of his administration’s response to the pandemic.
Trump then explained that the testing “makes us look bad” by revealing how far the virus has spread.
5.) Trump brags that he made more people aware of Juneteenth by holding a rally on that date in a city known as the site of the worst anti-black pogrom in American history.
The president drew criticism for his decision to hold a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 19th, which is the day that commemorates the freeing of slaves in the United States.
In addition to stepping on Juneteenth with his rally, the president was also criticized for holding his rally in Tulsa, which was the site of the infamous “Black Wall Street” massacre of black Americans in 1921.
“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump said. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”
6.) Trump suggests some people are wearing face masks to damage him politically.
According to WSJ, the president “allowed for the possibility that some Americans wore facial coverings not as a preventative measure but as a way to signal disapproval of him.”
He also said he worried that masks weren’t really the best way to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, as too many people touched their face masks while wearing them.
“They put their finger on the mask, and they take them off, and then they start touching their eyes and touching their nose and their mouth,” he said. “And then they don’t know how they caught it?”