The latest false-Trump controversy where he and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders try to demean the press is over the Wall Street Journal quoting him in his interview with them that "I probably have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un." Trump and Sanders are screaming "Fake News" (of course) that he didn't say that at all, but rather "I'd probably have," which is imagining the future. (Future conditional tense, to be precise, I believe...)
In fact, the press secretary took it a step further -- or several leaps further -- with a half-crazed, maniacal tweet that emblazoned the White House "claims" of "Fake News" across the metaphorical skies. She posted --
Side note: You'd think if any paper in the United States would be a Trump favorite (outside of of The National Enquirer), it would be the Wall Street Journal.
Then Trump himself chimed in with the same claim of "Fake News" -- adding that he should probably record his conversations with the media. (Yes, that actually would be a good idea, and shocking if he doesn't already. Which he may, since you can't really trust Trump at all when his lips move or fingers type.)
But here's the hilarious and wondrous thing: the Wall Street Journal did record it -- and released the audio!! And it's clear that Trump did indeed say, "I probably have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un." Present tense. Not "I'd." And his very next words are "I have relationships with people." Again, present tense. Indeed, given that following sentence, it makes little sense for him to have preceded it by saying "I'd".
Now, to be fair, given how Trump's mind jumps around without there always being connective synapses, it's remotely possible that he did say, "I'd probably have..." -- and it's just really, really difficult to hear the silent "d." (Hardly "Fake News" but an understandable misunderstanding of the lack of clarify -- IF that happened.)
And to be even more fair, at one point, he says, "I would..." but then stops. But that could be completed by literally innumerable thoughts. And the only thing we know for certain is that whatever he started to say, he thought better of and stopped.
But we don't have to guess any of this. Because, as it turns out, the Wall Street Journal released the transcript of the conversation!!
When you read that transcript, it shows that they follow up immediately by clarifying what Trump had just said to them. "Just to be clear, you haven’t spoken to the North Korean leader, I mean when you say a relationship with Korea -- " ...and Trump DOES NOT CORRECT THEM. He does not say, "No, no, let me correct you. I said that I 'would have' a good relationship with him under different conditions." He just lets it sit and only says that he doesn't want to comment about whether he's spoken with Kim Jong Un.
Again, is it remotely possible that Trump said "I'd," and it's just really near-impossible to make out? Sure, it's possible. But that requires SO many other inconsistencies to not exist. Like the context of what's being discussed. Like what he says next. Like what the Wall Street Journal then clarifies with him. Like what he doesn't correct. At worst, this isn't "Fake News," but a misunderstanding -- either by what the reporters hear, or what Trump himself meant to say., and so it's his own fault At best, and most probable, given all those inconsistencies, it's what he said, because in Trump World, he's great, a very stable genius, and everyone loves him -- even Kim Jong Un, who he relentlessly insults.
You can listen to the audio here. (And by the way, as just an odd side note, what an utterly weird pronunciation he gives to "Kim Jong Un.)
And here's the transcript. Just do a search for the relevant passage.
And in the end, here's the most important thing: even if he actually had said "I'd," it's still an utterly ridiculous statement. Because tossed in the middle of all else he's saying at that moment, he gives absolutely no reason and zero context of why on earth he believes that somehow, at some point he probably "would" have a good relationship with the crazed, despotic dictator Kim Jong Un, who he continually demeans and regularly insults by calling "Little Rocket Man." Really?? He would??? Why???? How?? Based on what?!!
Maybe it's just one of those Kellyanne Conway alternate universe things.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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