Donald Trump held his first press conference since July, and to describe it as "surreal" is an understatement. It happened the day after supposed intelligence materials leaked suggesting that Russia had damaging information about Trump and that his campaign engaged in conversations with Russia during the election.
Trump denied the reports (which include allegations that he hired prostitutes to urinate on a hotel bed formerly occupied by Barack and Michelle Obama), calling them "nonsense" and "fake news" that was made up by his opponents who are "sick people." He said he read the dossier outside a meeting with intelligence officials and suggested the officials leaked the materials to the press.
Watch the full conference above.
Trump also discussed how he has "no deals" in Russia, his plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, his timeline for announcing his pick for Supreme Court, and how he would handle his conflicts of interest by turning over his business to his sons (but not divest). His attorney Sheri Dillon spoke about the conflicts and said Trump won't have anything to do with the business and will "only know of a deal if he reads it in the paper or sees it on TV" — even though his sons are running it.
Those, however, were some of the least bizarre parts of the press conference. Here are the moments that left many people asking, "WTF?"
- For the first part of his press conference, Trump rambled from subjects like pharma, the VA, and manufacturing in the US without any sense of direction. He then abruptly left the podium to let his lawyer speak about his conflicts of interest.
this is like taking ambien. 15 minutes of bizarre thoughts and then you're suddenly asleep
— Jake Swearingen (@JakeSwearingen) January 11, 2017
- Trump said he would be "the greatest jobs producer that God ever created."
Trump's claim he "will be the greatest jobs producer that God ever created," is nothing short of delusional #TrumpPressConference
— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) January 11, 2017
- He admitted he thinks "it was Russia" when it comes to who is to blame for the DNC hacks but seemed to mitigate the issue by saying "other countries" and "other people" also hacked us.
"As far as hacking, I think it was Russia," Trump says. Doesn't' seem to think it was a particularly big deal though.
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) January 11, 2017
- He stood next to a stack of folders and later said they were "just a piece" of the companies that would be run by his sons Eric and Donald Jr. They may or may not have been filled with blank white paper.
Huge piles of folders were just brought downstairs ahead of the Trump presser pic.twitter.com/OwPww2fBwC
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) January 11, 2017
- He mentioned Hillary Clinton several times, including saying, "Do you believe Hillary would be tougher on Putin than me?" (If intelligence reports are true that Putin worked to elect Trump, the answer might be yes.)
I for one believe that Hillary Clinton would be tougher on Putin than Donald Trump
— David Frum (@davidfrum) January 11, 2017
- He said, "If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what folks? I consider that an asset, not a liability."
"If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset." I give up. He's in love. He will say nothing bad about Putin. His love is too deep.
— Elliott Lusztig (@ezlusztig) January 11, 2017
- Alluding to the allegations that he hired prostitutes to urinate on a bed used by the Obamas, he said, "I'm also very much of a germophobe, by the way."
What is happening pic.twitter.com/zn0XLGXqwP
— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) January 11, 2017
- He said the only people who care about tax returns are reporters; Americans don't because he won. He also said he's not releasing them because he's under audit, although the two are not mutually exclusive.
Retweet if you care about @realDonaldTrump's tax returns
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) January 11, 2017
- His lawyer spoke about the argument for why he won't divest himself of his company, saying it was not realistic and the company could lose a significant amount of money in the process.
so far this rando lawyer's only explanation of why Trump can't divest is because it might sort of suck for him?
— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) January 11, 2017
- When a reporter asked about the proposed fence along the border, Trump aggressively answered, "It's not a fence, it's a wall — you just misreported it," showing his apparent disdain for reporters.
Q: "Are we living in Nazi Germany?" (re: his tweet this am) And a fence question. A: It's a wall, not a fence. You just misreported it.
— emily nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) January 11, 2017
- He called BuzzFeed a "failing pile of garbage" for running the supposed Russia materials and got into an argument with CNN's Jim Acosta. After calling CNN fake news for publishing reports that US intelligence had briefed Trump on the supposed Russia materials, Acosta asked Trump to let him respond with a question. "You are fake news!" Trump shouted while saying he wouldn't answer any questions from CNN.
— Brian Fraser (@bfraser747) January 11, 2017
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) January 11, 2017
- Applause erupted from Trump's staff at several points, including when he called BuzzFeed a "failing pile of garbage."
For the record, the clapping is coming all from staff - not journalists.
— Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) January 11, 2017
- He ended the conference channeling his Apprentice saying. Trump said if his sons didn't do a good job of running the business while he's president, he would say to them: "You're fired."
Trump says he'll tell his sons "You're fired" if they don't do a good job with his business https://t.co/1w0Sgd7eyz
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 11, 2017
Donald Trump ended #TrumpPressConference saying, "You're fired." We are living in a very real nightmare. A reality TV star is our PEOTUS. 🤢
— Alex Goldschmidt (@alexandergold) January 11, 2017
The pages are blank. pic.twitter.com/agLqnBTjrg
— Mikey Neumann (@mikeyface) January 12, 2017
If you think the news conference sounded like a nightmare, you're not alone:
So many of us are trying to make sense of what just happened, and we can't. Not in 140 characters. Not with memes.
This is imminent doom.
— katastrophe (@awwkitten) January 11, 2017
In a world of goddamned things, that was the goddamnedest thing I've seen yet
Well done, America. Really stellar job.
— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) January 11, 2017
This Donald Trump presser is unreal.
— deray mckesson (@deray) January 11, 2017
This is bananas.
— Kate Brannen (@K8brannen) January 11, 2017