Days after authorizing an act of war backed by a shoddy rationale, President Donald Trump began this week by reiterating a threat to commit war crimes by bombing cultural sites in Iran. With the peculiar logic of an employee tanking their performance just before asking for a raise, he ended the week complaining during a rally in Ohio about not yet receiving the Nobel Peace Prize:
“I made a deal. I saved a country, and I just heard that the head of that country is now getting the Nobel Peace prize for saving the country. I said ‘did I have something to do with it?’ Yeah. But you know that’s the way it is. As long as we know, that’s all that matters. I saved a big war, I saved a couple of ‘em.”
The context for this frequent Trump complaint is unclear: He may be referring to his February 2019 claim that he saved 3 million people from a strike in the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib by informing the Assad regime, Russia, and Iran of a pending offensive in the region, or to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s 2018 recommendation that Trump receive the award for his (all-but-futile) negotiations with North Korea.
As for the “head of that country [who] is now getting the Nobel Peace prize,” in the last three years, there have been no winners from the countries Trump is presumably referring to; perhaps he has an inside line on the 2020 winner, although the nominations are still open.
Here are the other highlights from the president’s first rally of the year.
Trump claims that if he asked Congress for approval for the Soleimani strike, Democrats would have “leaked” it.
Trump portrayed the targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani as a victory that only he could deliver, justifying his decision not to seek congressional approval for the strike last week by claiming that Democrats would have bungled the operation.
“They’re saying, ‘You should get permission from Congress, you should come in and tell us what you want to do — you should come in and tell us, so that we can call up the fake news that’s back there, and we can leak it,’” Trump said. “Lot of corruption back there.”
The protest at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad was the “anti-Benghazi.”
Trump portrayed the New Year’s Eve protest at the U.S. embassy in Iraq as the “anti-Benghazi,” referring to the 2012 coordinated attack on the embassy in Libya by Islamic militants that killed two Americans.
“Had they broken through the final panels of glass, they were breaking it, breaking it,” Trump said. “Had they gotten through, we would have had either hundreds of dead people or hundreds of hostages. That wasn’t going to happen. And I called up our great generals, I said get them over there now.”
Though Trump’s counterfactual can’t be proven, U.S. forces did fire tear gas to disperse the crowd after protesters burned the embassy’s reception building.
Bad timing for a “lock her up” chant.
“You should lock her up, I tell ya,” Trump said, preempting a rally hit. Though it’s unlikely to cause this MAGA chorus to go away, on Thursday, the Department of Justice reportedly concluded the investigation into the Uranium One conspiracy with no criminal charges — though the Washington Post reports that “law enforcement officials said they never expected the effort to produce much of anything.”
Trump offers one of his less articulate critiques of the media.
Medicare for All will cost “more money than we’ll ever make.”
This accounting could use a second look: One Koch-funded study estimating the cost of a single-payer health-care system in the U.S. found that all health-care expenditures under M4A would equate to $54.9 trillion, which is $2 trillion less than a business-as-usual scenario.
The crowd responds poorly to a Trump-world heel.
When the president asked about the whereabouts of the vice-president’s son, his supporters went low, referencing Biden’s well-documented substance abuse issues.