Six deeply disconcerting moments from Donald Trump's latest interview

 
Jasper Jolly
President Trump Meets with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin at Treasury Department
Donald Trump has signed multiple executive orders since he became President (Source: Getty)

When Donald Trump was interviewed by the Associated Press at the end of last week it generated a fair few headlines, including the announcement that his vital tax plan will be unveiled on Wednesday.

Trump discussed international diplomacy and what he thinks he has achieved in his first 100 days (which will come round on Saturday 29 April).

Read more: Why are UK stock markets falling? A guide to the Trump trade

However, the transcript released today also reveals, shall we say, the unique style of the President’s engagement with the press.

Here are six of the more bizarre moments – apart from the 16 times he was "unintelligible" – we learned from the President.

1. Trump isn’t sure what he actually promised voters

One of the central documents of an energetic presidential campaign was “Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter”, a “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again”.

Despite bearing the President’s signature the pledge is not binding, which is lucky because Trump seems unsure as to what it actually contains. Viz. the following exchange:

Trump: No, because much of the foundation's been laid. Things came up. I'll give you an example. I didn't put Supreme Court judge on the 100 (day) plan, and I got a Supreme Court judge.

AP: I think it's on there.

Trump: I don't know...

He said the plan came from somebody on his campaign team.

2. He’s already confident of re-election – at least once

Trump has fulfilled 10 of the 38 specific pledges made in the 100-day plan, Associated Press analysis shows. But he seems confident he has laid the groundwork for a successful presidency and a shot at a second.

100 days is an “artificial barrier” but he has established “amazing relationships” which will help over the “four or eight years, whatever period of time I'm here”.

Read more: Travel for business? Here's how to get around Trump's "extreme vetting"

An eight-year term will mean a second successful presidential campaign. Anything beyond that would require a change to the 22nd Amendment of the US Constitution.

3. The time Trump tried to subtly change the subject

Trump discussed the intricacies of the stand-off with North Korea and the President’s relationship with China. In his 100-day pledge he said he “will direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator”.

This hasn’t happened, but Trump explained why not, before breaking off:

Trump: So you have to have a certain flexibility, Number One. Number Two, from the time I took office till now, you know, it's a very exact thing. It's not like generalities. Do you want a Coke or anything?

AP: I'm OK, thank you. No. ...

4. He has "unbelievable" chemistry with Angela Merkel

Other foreign leaders also came up, including the fraught relationship with Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Trump’s administration has hit out at the country’s failure to hit Nato spending targets as well as mutual criticisms over border policy.

In a now infamously frosty photo call Trump seemed to refuse to shake Merkel’s hand for the cameras.

However, Trump assured his interviewer: “We had unbelievable chemistry. And people have given me credit for having great chemistry with all of the leaders, including [Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah] El-Sisi.”

You don’t need a PhD in chemistry (which, incidentally, Angela Merkel actually has) to realise Trump may be stretching the truth here.

5. Japan’s Shinzo Abe really knows how to butter up the President

If you want to get something from the President don’t say please; say thank you.

Trump revealed Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told him his negotiations over price with Boeing had “saved us $100m”, getting him into Trump's good books.

Read more: Trump wants Boeing's Air Force One contract cancelled over cost

Trump said: “They got a $100m savings on the 10 or 12 planes that they (bought). Nobody wrote that story.”

6. The full enormity of being the most powerful person on the planet

The commander-in-chief sits atop one of the largest and most powerful apparatuses in the world. It seems he is starting to realise it.

Trump: This is involving death and life and so many things. ... So it's far more responsibility. (unintelligible) ....The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world. The second-largest company in the world is the Defense Department. The third-largest company in the world is Social Security. The fourth-largest — you know, you go down the list.

AP: Right.

Trump: It's massive. And every agency is, like, bigger than any company. So you know, I really just see the bigness of it all, but also the responsibility. And the human responsibility. You know, the human life that's involved in some of the decisions.

Thankfully the President has the lion’s share of four years to master the “bigness” of his brief.

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