President Donald Trump kicked off his 73rd birthday with a 50-minute phone call to Fox & Friends Friday morning, allowing the hosts to pepper him with a variety of questions.
Over the course of the conversation, Trump doubled down on unethical behavior, stated several things that were patently false, and further revealed how little he understands the laws he has sworn to uphold.
Below are some of the wildest moments from that nearly hour-long conversation.
Trump still really wants foreign dirt on his political opponents
One of the first questions the Fox & Friends crew asked was about Trump’s recent confirmation that he would accept assistance from foreign entities looking to help him win reelection in 2020. He tried to have it both ways, such that he would still have the opportunity to see the dirt on his opponents but then receive credit for properly alerting the FBI.
“You have to look at it, because if you don’t look at it you won’t know it’s bad,” he said, “but, of course, you give it to the FBI or report to attorney general or somebody like that.”
Trump also tried to claim that the president is exceptional because they speak to foreign officials all the time. He argued he simply can’t help what he might hear in a “normal conversation” with a foreign official, like the phone calls for which the White House conveniently no longer provides transcripts.
Trump doesn’t understand the Hatch Act
Just as Trump doesn’t understand what’s wrong with inviting foreign interference in an election, he also does not appear to comprehend the Hatch Act, a law that prevents federal employees from engaging in political activity. Asked about the Office of Special Counsel’s recommendation this week that Kellyanne Conway be removed from her job as counselor to the president for multiple Hatch Act violations, Trump contested that “they are trying to take away her right of free speech.” He confirmed that he wouldn’t fire her, calling her “a tremendous person, a tremendous spokesperson.”
Trump also appeared to suggest that former Vice President Joe Biden had violated the Hatch Act by criticizing him previously, saying it wasn’t fair if Biden is allowed a pass but Conway isn’t. But that comparison fails because the Hatch Act only applies to employees in the executive branch and does not apply to the president or vice president.
The current vice president is Mike Pence, not Conway.
Trump thinks Obama refused to appoint judges
The Senate has mostly been inert except for its rapid-fire confirmations of Trump’s judicial appointees. While oddly trying to blame Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for somehow delaying the confirmation of some ambassadors, Trump boasted Friday that he may soon break a record for the number of federal judges he’s appointed. He then tried to blame President Barack Obama, his predecessor, for not getting that job done.
“President Obama, I don’t know why, but he gave me 138 judges empty when I took over,” Trump claimed. “It’s never happened before, no president has ever taken over with — he didn’t get the job done. Obama didn’t get the job done.”
This is a blatant rewriting of history. Obama offered up many judicial nominees, including Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to confirm them. The controversies over Obama’s inability to get his appointments through were so so significant that they have their own Wikipedia page.
Trump believes the Electoral College disadvantages Republicans
Discussing the 2020 election, Trump doubled down on his belief that the Electoral College somehow disadvantages Republicans. This is in spite of the fact that he won the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote by 2.87 million votes. “People never cover this but the Electoral College is very much steered to the Democrats, big advantage for Democrats,” he claimed. “It’s very much harder for the Republicans to win and I think we will do very well.”
While there are undoubtedly ways the Electoral College can be unfair to both political parties, the logic behind this claim doesn’t hold up. Republicans who believe this often argue that the states that are safely Democratic are bigger. But in fact the Electoral College disproportionately grants more weight to smaller states, which tend to lean Republican.
Trump is in “no rush” to alleviate the suffering of the people of North Korea
Conflicting and unconfirmed reports over the past few weeks have questioned whether North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un executed a number of high-level negotiators after the failed Hanoi summit in February. Trump claimed to know that the purge did not happen.
“I know they didn’t kill the top person, I saw a picture in the newspaper,” he said.
Trump then gushed about his cozy relationship with the authoritarian leader, saying that he was in “no rush” to challenge the regime. “We will take it nice and easy,” Trump said, arguing, “If I wasn’t president you would right now be in major war with North Korea.”
Trump thinks the media is so unfair that liberal Democrats should praise him as the “greatest president in history”
Asked about Thursday’s announcement that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be stepping down by the end of the month — after years of lying to the press — Trump defended her as “fantastic” and lodged yet another attack on the “unfairness of the media.”
“If I were a Democrat[ic] liberal, I think they’d say I was the greatest president in history, you know, with all that I’ve done,” he said, rattling off a few accomplishments. “All of the things we got done — If I were a liberal Democrats, they’d be saying, ‘he’s the greatest ever.’ But that’s the way it goes, that’s okay with me.”