In an exclusive interview with Time’s Michael Scherer, published Thursday, President Donald Trump basically gives three types of explanations for why it’s okay for him to say things that aren’t true.
Trump thinks it’s okay to repeat a false claim as long as he is accurately stating the fact that someone else made the false claim. He thinks it’s okay to say something false as long as it later turns out that something vaguely similar is true. And he appears to think it’s okay to just straight-up lie and then keep lying for no reason.
Here are three quotes on category one misstatements, where Trump says he was accurately saying other people said something false, so there’s no reason for him to apologize for spreading misinformation:
- “I’m just quoting the newspaper [about Ted Cruz’s father being involved in the JFK assassination], just like I quoted the judge the other day, Judge Napolitano, I quoted Judge Napolitano, just like I quoted Bret Baier, I mean Bret Baier mentioned the word wiretap.”
- “Well, I’m not, well, I think, I’m not saying, I’m quoting, Michael, I’m quoting highly respected people and sources from major television networks.”
- “Well if you look at the reporter, he wrote the story [about Muslims celebrating 9/11 on rooftops in New Jersey] in the Washington Post.”
Here are two quotes on category two misstatements where Trump says it’s okay to say something false, because something different would later happen that was kind of similar to the thing he falsely said earlier:
- “Sweden. I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems.”
- “Because a wiretapping is, you know today it is different than wire tapping. It is just a good description. But wiretapping was in quotes. What I’m talking about is surveillance. And today, [House Intelligence Committee Chair] Devin Nunes just had a news conference.”
And here are four quotes on category three misstatements, where Trump simply insists that false claims he’s made in the past are, in fact, true.
- “Huma [Abedin] and Anthony [Weiner], you know, what I tweeted about that whole deal, and then it turned out he had it, all of Hillary’s email on his thing.”
- “NATO, obsolete, because it doesn’t cover terrorism. They fixed that, and I said that the allies must pay.”
- “I inherited a mess with jobs, despite the statistics, you know, my statistics are even better, but they are not the real statistics because you have millions of people that can’t get a job, ok.”
At the end, Trump closes with one last excuse, the ultimate Trump rationale for anything he does — he won the election: “I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know.”