Analyzing Trump’s Comments on the Whistle-Blower in a Private Meeting

Meeting behind closed doors with U.S. diplomats and invited guests  in New York on Thursday, President Donald Trump gave a free-wheeling, rally-like performance in which he mocked Democratic rival Joe Biden, accused a whistle-blower of treason and falsely claimed that Australia had eradicated black lung disease. The speech Thursday came less than two hours after the release of a whistle-blower report alleging that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a political rival, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Here’s an annotated copy 👆 of that speech explaining key elements.

Kelly is going to be a star. And the only way you’re a star, no matter how you look or feel or talk, is when you make good deals. [Inaudible] You’ve got to make good deals, otherwise it’s over. And, uh, she’s going to make great deals. I was with her now for three days and she’s developed incredible relationships in a very short period of time. And, um, we appreciate it. You’ll be out there, you’ll be in the firing line today, for instance.

I just heard, you know while I’m coming up here, you know they have a whistle-blower. And he turned out to be a fake. He’s a fake. Highly partisan whistle-blower. The lawyers contributed to Biden, they contributed—the whole thing is—but more importantly, you know what the whistle-blower was? The same letter that we announced yesterday. Which was perfect. It was—I couldn’t have written it better if I wrote it myself. I could not have said it or had a better conversation, and we had a really nice gentleman in, president of Ukraine yesterday. And, uh, he was, he was—they said, ‘Was he pressuring you?’ You know, these animals in the press.

They’re animals [inaudible]. Some of the worst human beings you’ll ever meet.

[Audience member, male: “Thank you!”]


They’re scum. Many of them are scum. Then you have some good reporters but not many, I’ll be honest with you. And that’s one of the things we battle. You’ll find out. [To Craft] But they’ll probably like you better than they like me, right? But I had to get us here, right?

[Audience member, male. “Right!”]

But they’re total just terrible dishonest people. And, uh—They couldn’t figure out, what do we say bad about this conversation. Then it turns that they have out senators, Democrat senators, that went over there and strong-armed the guy. ‘You better damn well do this or you’re not going to get any money from the Congress.’

Oh I see, that’s OK?

And then you have sleepy Joe Biden who’s dumb as a rock.

[Audience laughs.]

This guy’s dumb on his best day. And he’s not having his best day right now. He’s dumb as a rock.

So you have sleepy Joe, and he goes up and—and his kid, who’s got a lot of problems. He got thrown out of the Navy. Little problems. I mean look, I’m not going to—it’s a problem. That’s a problem. So we won’t get into why and all that. But he got thrown out of the Navy and now this kid goes into Ukraine, walks away with millions of dollars, and he becomes a consultant for 50,000 a month. And he doesn’t know anything compared to anybody in this room. OK? He’s a stiff. He knows nothing. He’s walking away with 50,000—or as you would say in the old days, fifty-K a month.

Not bad. Would anybody else in this room like to represent Ukraine for 50,000 a month?

[Audience laughs.]

That’s on top—[inaudible]—that’s on top of, that’s on top of hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars. But that’s not the best one. The best one is China. Just came up. So now he goes to China. And I was with the head of Blackstone, which is a big deal. Steve Schwarzman. And I said, ‘Steve is that possible?’ ‘No. Why? Why, who got that? Who got that?’ And I said, ‘Biden’s son.’ ‘Ooh.’ Well then you know, he says, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t get involved. You know if it was very political.’

But I say, I say, ‘Steve, what happens when you come off a vice presidential plane—it’s called Air Force Two—your father’s with you, you walk into a room in China, and they give you a fund of 1.5 billion!’ Billion dollars. You make hundreds of thousands of dollars, and millions of dollars off that. And that’s probably not all they gave him, they gave him plenty more, I’m sure. We might never find out.

And then they talk about me and I didn’t do anything. I don’t know if I’m the most innocent person in the world.

[Audience: chuckling.]

But you know you look at that—most presidential, they always said I’m the most presidential except for possibly Abe Lincoln when he wore the hat. That was tough to beat.

[Audience: laughter.]

Honest Abe, when he wore that hat, that was tough to beat. But I can’t do that, that hat wouldn’t work for me.

[Audience member, male: “Go ahead.”]

Yeah, I have better hair than him.

But Honest Abe was tough to beat. Remember we used to do that during the campaign? They used to say, when I speak, the crowd would be crazy, I’d go crazy—we’d all go crazy. We had a lot of fun together.

We had 25,000—we’ve never had an empty seat. From the day I came down the escalator, with a potential, unbelievable woman, who became our first lady.

[Audience: applause and cheers.]

We’ve never had—they do, the crowds love her, the people love her.

But we’ve never had an empty seat, not one. I really—I really believe that. There was one case where we had a tremendous snow storm, it was—and it was just about frozen. Massive. It was like a monster storm. I don’t even know how we got there. I said, ’How’s the crowd?’ ’It’s just about full, sir.’ I said, ’What does that mean?’ Like there’s about two seats on top. Thousands and thousands of people couldn’t get in there.

So they show pictures of the empty seats. They don’t say there’s—there’s the worst storm they’ve had in years. They show pictures of like nine empty seats. Could have been people just went to the bathroom together.

[Audience: laughter.]

But we’ve never—and I always say, just get the biggest arena. Good location if you can, but get the biggest arena. We did it the other night, Tuesday night. We had, uh, two congressmen. One was possibly going to win, he was up by two. He won by about 27, I think, or something like that. A lot. The other one was down by 17. And they said, ’Sir, don’t campaign for him, please.’ ’Why?’ ’Because if he loses, they’re going to kill you, the press.’ I said, ’They’re going to kill me whether I campaign or not.’

It’ll make it a little bit worse. You know they’ll say, ’He worked, and he failed. Trump failed.’

The guy was down 17 points and he ended up winning by a lot. You know, he ended up winning by a lot.

In fact, the whole night, CNN, who had built the most beautiful, $2 million maybe they spent—no wonder they’re losing their ass. They have no ratings and they’re building studios all over the place but they had a studio, the studio was going to stay up for weeks and toward the end of the night they were taking it down. Their so-called stars were leaving. They had stars. There’s not many stars, I’ll tell you, less than 10.

But they were taking—the stars were leaving. And, uh, they didn’t want to report it.

But the candidate, Dan Bishop, won—by a lot. He was down by 17, and they had lines a mile long. I mean the lines going into those voting booths were unbelievable. And without the rally speech, and a couple of tweets, the Twitter stuff is good—we have like way over 100 million people on six or seven different platforms. It’s actually much higher than that even. Higher than just about everybody.

And it helps. It helps. They have signs oftentimes when I speak. It said, ‘Please keep’—this woman the other night, beautiful woman, she’s got a sign—‘Please keep tweeting sir, it matters.’

And it does matter. Because we get our voice out. You know, if we don’t do that, we don’t get the voice—I can’t say what a great job Kelly’s doing, and uh, I can’t say what a wonderful husband she has.

Look at how devoted he is. He’s a rich man, too. He’s loaded. What are you doing here? Why aren’t you working? He’s so proud of his wife he can’t leave his office. That’s really great though, huh? It’s great.

Are you all proud of her?

He said very much. And he’s really a fantastic guy, he’s been a friend of mine for a long time. Before I met Kelly, I met Joe. And Joe, uh, impressed me because of his knowledge of energy. Now he could be paying—OK, you’re going to pay a guy, 50—now he wouldn’t take it. For him that’s not, uh, that’s not quite good enough. Although he might. He might. It’s easy money, Joe, you have to say. But he would be an expert on energy, he’d be a real expert, and he would be, uh, somebody that you [inaudible] a lot of money too, but not Biden’s son.

So the whistle-blower came out and said, nothing. He said, ‘a couple of people told me, he had a conversation with Ukraine’—we’re in a war. These people are sick. They’re sick. And nobody’s called it out like I do. I don’t understand. People are afraid to call it out, they’re afraid to say that the press is crooked. We have a crooked press. We have a dishonest media.

“So now they’re devastated. But they’ll always find something. I’m sure there’ll be something they’ll find in this report that will suit [inaudible]. But basically that person never saw the report, never saw the call. They never saw the call. Heard something. And decided that he or she, whoever the hell it is—almost a spy.

I want to know, who’s the person that gave the whistle-blower—who’s the person that gave the whistle-blower the information because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart, right, with spies and treason? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.

[Audience: light laughter.]

Now you have guys like, uh, little Adam Schiff defending you.

[Audience member, male: “Pencil-neck.”]

He says ‘pencil-neck’—that name stuck.

[Audience: light laughter. Audience member, male: mostly inaudible but repeats “Pencil-neck.”]

He’s got a neck about this big. [Holds right hand up in an “OK” sign.] He’s got shirts that are too big because you can’t buy shirts that are that small. He was never a coal miner, Joe, let’s put it that way. I don’t think he worked in the mines, you think? I don’t think so. These miners come out—we love our miners—they come out, they have hands, arms, they shake, ‘aw I love you sir, I love you sir.’ But we gave them back their jobs. They were dead. And you know, Hillary came in just before West Virginia and says, ‘No, we want the miners we want to re-train them, and they’ll be doing—can you imagine a miner with, you know, massive arms, shoulders, they love what they’re doing, in a line, with little tiny widgets? They’re putting little tiny computer parts together. These big strong—and they don’t want to be doing that. And I said to them—it’s the only time they ever got angry at me, I said to them—‘Now listen, suppose, is there any truth, suppose we would take you out of that business and we do retrain you, and you go into, uh, technology, OK?’ They almost threw up all over the place.

[Audience: light laughter.]

And it’s a funny thing. You know, I call it dangerous, rough stuff. But it’s become much safer. In Australia now they have no black lung disease. They really got all of that dust out of there. And they’ve done a fantastic job, we’re copying that system, we give credit where credit it is due. But, uh, it’s incredible.

But, you know, they were talking about retraining these guys. By the way, I was thinking about doing, walking in, I look at these big rough guys and I say, ‘Nah, they don’t want to do that.’ And I said to them, ‘Would you want that, would you want any re-training,’ uh, and the one guy looks at me, he says, ‘Sir, my great-grandfather was a miner, my grandfather, my father, and I’m a miner, and we love our life. We want to dig coal. That’s what we want to do, sir, we don’t want anything else. We want to just dig coal. It’s true. You couldn’t—if I said, ‘I’m going to give you an apartment on Fifth Avenue, you come with me, you’re going to have a great time in New York, they would say, ‘No thank you.’ That’s just the way it is, you know. That’s their life, that’s what they want. They love it. They don’t want a—they don’t want to do anything different. And I understand that. I’m the only fool that decided to do something—I had a great life.

[Audience: laughter.]

And then I said, ‘Let’s run for president, let’s help this country out.’ And we’ve been hit harder than anybody in history.

[Audience member, male: “Great job!” Audience: applause, cheers.]

Thank you. I’ll tell you one thing I tell people, though—no rich guy’s ever going to run for politics, I can tell you, if anybody did this, I don’t think they’re going to run. But I love doing it. I guess I love it because we’ve made so much progress. And you’re a really big part of it. And you know our deputy permanent representative ambassador, Jonathan Cohen may be here, where’s Jonathan, is he here? [To Craft] Doing a great job, right?

[Craft: “Excellent.”]

Is everybody saying what a, what a good job he’s doing. So Jonathan, thank you, good luck, do well. You’ve got plenty to work on, Jonathan. [chuckles] We have plenty of, I call them points of confliction, right? Points of confliction. But you don’t realize how important you are. What you do, you make it all possible. And I’ve always said about the United Nations, it has more potential than any institution that I’ve ever dealt with. It really does. It hasn’t lived up to its potential. It’s starting to more. I think one of the reasons is because I feel that way. I will use the United Nations to our benefit as a country. And because I’m doing it, others are doing it and we’re sort of getting together and doing things differently.

And Nikki did a great job. And Kelly’s going to do a great job. And it’s very important—this position is so important. So important. Um, it’s uh—another thing that I think was underrated [turns to Craft]—the importance of your position. I think it was very underrated. But, a—you have the right person in that position. But the United Nations is going to finally live up to its potential. It’s, uh, it’s really got something. And I like your secretary-general. He’s really working hard. He’s always on the ball. He’s always there for me. I really like him. So I think he has—you know, I think he has the stuff. The right stuff, as they say. Right? You know as they say in a couple of very good movies.

But I just came over this morning, I wanted to thank you, I wanted to congratulate everyone, I wanted to congratulate Jonathan and Kelly—I didn’t know Joe was going to be here, but I’m happy to see you Joe. And, uh, you folks are fantastic, and just keep it going. We’ve got it really rocking. We’re looking good. We’re looking good for another four years [inaudable].

[Audience: Applause, cheers]

[inaudible] I have a certain group of reporters, I say we’re looking good for another four years, and then if we want to another four, and maybe another four.

[Audience: laughter, applause.]

And they go crazy. This whack job Bill Maher. He goes to somebody over there, he goes, ‘You know he’s going to win, don’t you?’ It’s just some idiot, that he’s on TV, and he goes, ‘You know he’s going to win.’ ‘No, no, I think we can...’ ‘You know he’s going to win. And you know he’s not leaving don’t you?’ And the guy’s like ‘What do you mean? ‘He’s not leaving. He’s not leaving.’ And I thought he was kidding—he’s being serious [laughs]. So uh, did anybody ever see the Time magazine cover where we have it 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032—in other words—we do that to drive them fricking crazy.

[Audience: laughter, applause.]

So I just want to thank you, congratulations to Kelly, Jonathan, and everyone in this room, you make it work and it’s so important. It’s called world peace. And we’ve got to have it. We’ll have it. We’ll have it. We have a lot of good things going. Tremendous things. Problems with India and Pakistan. Big. Problems with ... North Korea? We’re doing all right, we have a pretty good relationship going, I’ll tell you, we have a good relationship going. But we have a lot of great things going and you make it possible. Thank you very much everybody.”

Trump was introduced by Kelly Craft, the new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Before being sworn in at the White House Sept. 12, she was the ambassador to Canada, and she and her husband are prominent Republican donors.

Andrew Bakaj, the whistle-blower's lead lawyer, contributed $100 to Biden through the fundraising portal ActBlue. Another lawyer, Mark Zaid, has not contributed.

Trump met with Zelenskiy at the United Nations Wednesday, when reporters asked if Trump pressured him to investigate the Bidens. "It was normal. We spoke about many things.  And I — so I think, and you read it, that nobody pushed — pushed me," Zelenskiy said.

In May 2018, three Democratic senators  wrote to the Ukrainian prosecutor general to "express great concern" that he was failing to cooperate with the U.S. investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Those senators — Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Patrick Leahy of Vermont — made no mention of U.S. funding to Ukraine.

Hunter Biden is Joe Biden's second son. He was commissioned as a Navy ensign in 2013 at the age of 43. He was discharged the next year after testing positive for cocaine.

Hunter Biden worked as a lawyer, a lobbyist and a venture capitalist before taking a board seat on the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings in 2014.

New York-based private equity firm

Schwarzman is a prominent Trump adviser who led the president's economic advisory council before it was disbanded. He has also cultivated ties to China. He ranks 60th on the Bloomberg list of the world's richest people, with a net worth of $17.5 billion.

Hunter Biden accompanied his father on the vice presidential plane during an official visit to China in 2013.

Hunter Biden is a 10% owner of BHR Partners, which advises Chinese firms wanting to invest outside of China. The company says its net worth is about $4.2 million, making Biden's share worth $420,000. Biden has said he has not received any profits from the company. Trump's timeline is off: BHR had already negotiated a deal with Chinese officials by the time of the December 2013 visit.

Trump is quoting himself. "I say, with the exception of the late great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that has ever held this office, I can tell you," he said at a 2017 campaign rally.

Trump uses rally attendance as a measurement of political support, and has often exaggerated the size of crowds.

Republican Greg Murphy defeated Democrat Allen Thomas in a special election for North Carolina's 3rd congressional district on Sept. 10, 62% to 38%.

Republican Dan Bishop defeated Democrat Dan McCready, 50.2% to 48.6%, to win a special election to North Carolina's 9th congressional district Sept. 10. There are no public polls showing he was ever down by 17 points. The district has voted reliably Republican since 1963.

Bishop won by 2 percentage points. Trump won the district by 12 points in 2016.

Joe Craft is Kelly Craft's third husband. He's CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, the third largest coal producer in the United States.

Forbes estimated Joe Craft's net worth at $1.4 billion in 2011.

Trump is accusing the whistle-blower and those who cooperated with him of treason, a crime that carries a punishment of at least five years in prison or the death penalty. (Only one person has ever been executed by the United States for treason, during the Civil War.)

Adam Schiff is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He is a Democrat from California.

One of Trump's nicknames for Schiff. “Little pencil neck Adam Schiff,” he said at a March rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “He’s got the smallest, thinnest neck I’ve ever seen. He is not a long ball hitter.”

Coal mining jobs have increased from 50,800 when Trump was inaugurated to 53,000 in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As of February there were 102 confirmed and 250 suspected black lung cases in the coal mining Australian state of Queensland, according to the Mine Dust Diseases Victims Group.

Cohen is the acting deputy representative to the United Nations. He was recently confirmed as ambassador to Egypt.

Nikki Haley was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations until leaving at the end of last year.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres of Portugal.

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution limits presidents to two four-year terms. Trump has repeatedly joked about serving for 20 or more years.

Host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher."

A Time Magazine cover story last year had the headline "How Trumpism Outlasts Trump," with an illustration of Trump yard signs up through "Trump 2044."