While most Americans who care about politics were watching the final night of the Democratic National Convention, President Donald Trump sought to offer up a bit of counter-programming: Calling into Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News.
Hannity, who has long been one of Trump’s most ardent backers, always offers up a comfortable perch for the President to unload on his perceived enemies while touting his alleged accomplishments. Thursday night was no different.
Below, the lines you need to see from the interview.
1. “I have watched some, not that much, but I have watched some.”
This is Trump responding to Hannity’s question about how much of the Democratic National Convention he has watched. If you believe he has watched “not that much,” you are wrong.
2. “And you talk about suburbia. You know, we’re all saying about suburban women. The fact is, they’re going to really want to support me, because we’re for law and order.”
In the most recent CNN poll, Trump was losing to former Vice President Joe Biden among all women by 24 points. In the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans lost women by 19 points. There’s simply no evidence that suburban women or women in general are flocking anywhere but away from Trump.
3. “He hasn’t answered a question since July 17 and – July 17 or 27. I mean, for a long time, he hasn’t answered a reporter’s question.”
This is not accurate. Earlier this month, Biden took questions – via Zoom – from a handful of Black and Latino journalists. The last time he held a news conference was July 28. Prior to that? June 30.
4. “Something is going on. And I assume we will be able to find out sooner, rather than later, I hope. But something is going on. It’s very strange.”
In which Trump suggests that there is “something” (presumably bad) going on with Biden, but offers up no real sense of what that might be. This is purposeful. He wants to plant a seed of doubt that “something” is wrong with Biden without actually having to provide any sort of hard facts to back it up.
5. “It’s like chess masters, and if you’re not a great chess master, you’re going to have a problem. And that we don’t think he is.”
So, Trump is saying he is a great chess master, then?
6. “He wants to take away, they will take away without question your Second Amendment. That’s like, without question.”
7. “But the biggest headwind – and that’s during the pandemic, which I hope is nearing the final turn.”
Yes, cases are down. But there is no medical expert who I’ve heard suggest we are “nearing the final turn” with the virus.
8. “And, you know, they are having a hard time in California, as you know, although he’s treated me very nicely, therefore I’m going to treat him very nicely.”
This is vintage Trump. California is having a hard time dealing with Covid-19, but Trump won’t badmouth Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom because Newsom has allegedly said nice things about him.
9. “Republicans are doing very well. Republican states are doing great. You look at what’s happening, they’re doing great.”
Five of the six states with the highest number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people have Republican governors.
10. “They are sending out 51 million ballots to people that didn’t ask for them.”
This is not true. What are being sent out are mail-in ballot applications, not mail-in ballots.
11. “Now, absentee ballots are great. I used one for Florida. And a lot of people use absentee – a lot of people in Florida use them.”
“Regardless of the terminology, elections experts say there is no difference between how ‘absentee’ and ‘mail-in ballots’ are treated.” – PolitiFact
12. “But they want to send what’s called mail-in, universal mail-in ballots. Fifty-one million ballots sent to who knows who? I mean, you know, where are they going?”
Again, these are applications not ballots. When people apply, their eligibility and identity is checked and confirmed.
13. “This is going to be the greatest scam in history. This will be the most fraudulent election in history.”
How, given this sort of rhetoric, can anyone think Trump would even consider conceding if he loses to Biden in the fall? “The most fraudulent election in history”????
14. “Many of them will have been dead. Many of them will get more than one. But it’s going to be a really horrible thing. It’s just a horrible, horrible thing.”
Just to make this point again: What are being sent out are mail-in ballot applications. Not mail-in ballots. If a person is dead and returns a mail-in ballot application, then a) wow and b) they would have their eligibility to vote checked – and not verified.
15. “I mean, that thing was so messed up for weeks and weeks, and they just declared her a winner, but they have no idea where the votes are, where the ballots are. It’s gone.”
Trump, as he likes to do, is talking about Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Democratic primary win in the 12th district. Yes, it took WAY too long to count all the ballots. No, there is no evidence of the sort of fraud that Trump is suggesting.
16. “It’s a horrible thing. It’s a fraudulent election. Everybody knows it.”
If he’s saying this 74 days before the election, what is he going to be saying the day before it? Or, even more scary, the day after it?
17. “You don’t even have to know politics to know it – 51 million ballots are going to indiscriminately sent out to people that didn’t even ask for them, people that say, ‘Hey, I just got a ballot. That’s great. Let me vote.’”
Ballot application. And if these people did say “that’s great … let me vote,” well, that would be a good thing, right? Since more people participating in a democracy is a good thing? Especially because their viability and eligibility to vote would be checked before the ballot is counted?
18. “And it’s a – it’s a terrible thing. They’re trying to steal the election.”
Remember that in the wake of his 2016 win, Trump said – with no proof – that 3 to 5 million illegal votes had been cast. He said this to explain the fact that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by almost 3 million votes. And he never, ever was able to offer evidence to substantiate such a massive claim.
19. “We’re going to have sheriffs and we’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to have hopefully, US attorneys, and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals. But it’s very hard.”
In which the President of the United States says that he is planning to use sheriffs and other law enforcement personnel to monitor the polling places. By the way, it’s not at all clear Trump has the authority to actually do that.
20. “Carolyn Maloney, who shouldn’t be able to accept that position, by the way. I mean, they gave – they declared her a winner over a guy that is right now looking around saying, what happened? He thought he won. They declared her a winner.”
Again, no. The count took too long, no doubt. But Maloney beat Suraj Patel by just under 4,000 votes.
21. “No, you’re not going to have – you can’t have it – it’s impossible to have a fair election like this.”
22. “Yes, I think we’re going to have more of it as live than what they did. I think it’s pretty boring when you do tapes. I’m going to go live and do mine live.”
A good reminder that Trump – here talking about the two party conventions – is, at heart, a TV executive. And TV executives love live TV.
23. “And then she had certain numbers wrong, certain very interesting numbers were way off.”
Yes, former First Lady Michelle Obama taped her convention speech in advance – and said that 150,000 Americans had died from the coronavirus. (That number was accurate at the time.) I don’t understand why Trump thinks it is a smart thing to note that since Obama taped the speech, another 20,000+ people have died …
24. “Well, he hasn’t answered a question since mid-July, is what they reported tonight.”
Again, no. See No. 3.
25. “And some of the answers he reads off a teleprompter. That means he knows what the question is. And he reads an answer off the teleprompter. So, there is something going on. And it’s not fair to our country.”
To be clear what Trump is alleging here: He says Biden has reporters’ questions in advance and read pre-written answers off of a teleprompter. I have seen no evidence of that and NO serious journalist would agree to let a politician see their questions in advance.
26. “We had the greatest economy in history of any country.”
[narrator voice] We did not.
27. “And now we want to open up and the Democrats have to open up their states and cities and they have to open up the schools and let’s play football.”
This was all one sentence.
28. “This country has done a fantastic job. We have done a fantastic job.”
The US has, by far, the largest number of cases and the largest number of deaths from coronavirus of any country in the world.
29. “We are doing well. We’re doing well. We got hit by this China plague. But other than that. I mean, we were rocking. And now we’re going to be rocking again very, very soon.”
Yeah, this feels like a good place to end.