In an interview released Saturday with former Gov. Mike Huckabee, President Donald Trump made a few bizarre claims — including that he apparently invented the word “fake.”
During the interview, which was broadcast on the Christian network Trinity Broadcasting, Trump was quick to boast about the progress his administration has made so far and blast the “horrible, unfair publicity” his presidency has received.
That publicity, of course, comes from what Trump has termed the “fake news” media. But while that phrasing may be associated with the president, Trump specifically took credit for the word “fake” itself — a word that dates back to the early 19th century.
“I think the greatest of all terms I’ve come up with is ‘fake.’ I guess other people have used it, perhaps, over the years, but I’ve never noticed it,” Trump told Huckabee.
The president also used the interview to make a number of “fake” claims himself, noting that the U.S. is the “highest-taxed nation in the world” — which isn’t true — and that the U.S. Coast Guard saved 16,000 lives in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, even as the agency reported rescuing just 11,022 people.
After tweeting Oct. 1, regarding North Korea, that “being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years” — a period of time in which North Korea has had three different rulers — Trump did, however, finally acknowledge that current ruler Kim Jong Un has not been in power that entire time, referring to Kim Jong Il as “his father” who did “the same thing, over many years.”
“I think this one’s the worst of the group,” Trump said about Kim Jong Un.
As Trump considers whether to decertify the Iran nuclear deal — which the president said he was “very unhappy with” and promised news in the next week and a half — he also accused North Korea of having dealings with the Middle-Eastern nation.
“I believe they’re funding North Korea,” Trump said about Iran. “I believe they’re trading with North Korea. I believe they’re doing things with North Korea that is totally inappropriate. And that doesn’t pertain to the deal — but in my opinion it does. Because it’s called the spirit of a deal, and you will see what I’ll be doing in the not too distant future. Iran is a bad player, and they will be taken care of as a bad player.”
During the TGN interview, Trump acknowledged that these foreign relations issues are where the president would prefer to focus his attention, rather than on health care reform, which he projected would pass before the 2018 midterm elections.
“I want to focus on North Korea. I want to focus on Iran. I want to focus on other things. I don’t want to focus on fixing somebody’s back. Or their knee. Or something. Let the states do that,” Trump said, praising the block grants at the heart of the failed Graham-Cassidy health care plan.
The president does appear to want to help American citizens when it comes to the government’s recent hurricane relief efforts, however — because though the natural disasters may be terrible, they at least make him “feel good.”
“In one sense, you hate to see it,” Trump said about the devastation in Puerto Rico, Texas and other hurricane-ravaged areas. “In another sense, you feel you can do a good job. You’re really helping people. So it makes you feel good.”
In his TGN interview, Trump had high praise for the government’s efforts in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria — and for the Puerto Rican people for praising him. The president specifically pointed to his decision to throw paper towels into a crowd of Puerto Ricans when he visited the island, which was widely criticized.
“They had these beautiful, soft towels. Very good towels,” Trump told Huckabee. “And I came in and there was a crowd of a lot of people. And they were screaming and they were loving everything. I was having fun, they were having fun. They said, ‘Throw ‘em to me! Throw ‘em to me, Mr. President!’”
San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz was among those who criticized the moment, calling it “terrible and abominable.” Speaking with Huckabee, Trump doubled down on his criticism of Cruz, whom he previously blasted on Twitter after she begged for additional government support.
Cruz “really did not do a very good job — in fact, did a very poor job — and she was the lone voice [of criticism] that we saw. And of course, that’s the only voice the media wanted to talk to,” Trump told Huckabee, describing the mayor as “not a capable person.”
While Trump was incapable of saying anything good about the San Juan mayor, however, a discussion on the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas did give Trump the chance to offer some unlikely praise — for suspected shooter Stephen Paddock.
Citing cameras that Paddock had installed outside his Mandalay Bay hotel room, Trump said about the killer: “This was a sick person. But probably smart.”