Donald Trump took questions from the media on Thursday afternoon. The hastily called press conference came as a surprise to reporters, who would typically have had a briefing with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during that time. (According to reports, Trump walked into the Oval Office earlier that morning and said, "Let's do a press conference today.")
The event was ostensibly meant to roll out his new labor secretary nominee, Alexander Acosta. (Previous pick Andy Puzder bowed out Wednesday after it became clear to Republican Senate leaders they did not have enough votes to confirm him.) But the event had little to do with Acosta, and quickly devolved into one of the most remarkably incoherent spectacles in recent memory.
Here are some of the most noteworthy moments.
That time he batted back reports of chaos in the West Wing
"I turn on TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos – chaos – yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine."
That time he confirmed the veracity of the leaks that lead to Michael Flynn's resignation
"The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake."
That time he couldn't say Flynn lied
"The thing is, he didn't tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn't remember ... that just wasn't acceptable to me."
That time he characterized the rollout of his travel ban as "smooth"
"We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban; we had a bad court."
That time he called the country of Russia fake news
"Russia is fake news. Russia – this is fake news put out by the media. The real news is the fact that people, probably from the Obama administration because they’re there, because we have our new people going in place, right now."
That time he denied knowledge of whether anyone from his team colluded with the Russian government during the campaign
"Nobody that I know of. How many times do I have to answer this question? Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven't made a phone call to Russia in years."
That time he bragged about not being a bad person
"And I'll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word 'tone'? The tone is such hatred. I'm really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such – I do get good ratings, you have to admit that – the tone is such hatred."
That time he compared the price of drugs to that of candy bars
"We've ordered the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to coordinate on a plan to destroy criminal cartels coming into the United States with drugs. We're becoming a drug-infested nation. Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars."
That time he promised America and Russia would have a nuclear holocaust "like no other"
"We're a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. I have been briefed. And I can tell you, one thing about a briefing that we're allowed to say, because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other. They're a very powerful nuclear country, and so are we."
That time he mused about attacking the Russian vessel lurking off the coast of Connecticut
"The greatest thing I could do [politically] is shoot that ship that's 30 miles offshore right out of the water."
That time he conceded his oft-repeated line about having the "biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan" is a lie
NBC reporter Peter Alexander: "You said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan – 304, 306 electoral votes. In fact, President Obama got 365 in 2008."
Trump: "Well, I'm talking about Republicans."
Alexander: "President Obama 333, George H.W. Bush 426 when he won. So why should Americans trust..."
Trump: "I was given that information, I was just given it. We had a very big margin."
Alexander: "I guess the question is: Why should Americans trust you when you accuse the information they receive as being fake, when you're providing information that is not accurate?"
Trump: "Well, I was given that information. I was, actually, I've seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory. Do you agree with that?"
Alexander: "You're the president."
That time he explained uranium
"We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20 percent of the uranium in our country. You know what uranium is, right? This thing called nuclear weapons, and other things. Like, lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things. Nobody talks about that."
That time he offered a nuanced critique of Hillary Clinton's record as secretary of state
"Hillary Clinton did the reset, remember? With the stupid plastic button that made us all look like a bunch of jerks. Here, take a look. He looked at her like, 'What the hell is she doing?' With that cheap plastic button. Hillary Clinton. That was a reset. Remember it said 'Reset'? Now if I do that oh, I'm the bad guy."
That time he offered a nuanced assessment of his own performance at said press conference
"I'm not ranting and raving. I'm just telling you you're dishonest people."
That time he grew tired of all the tough questions
"I want to find a friendly reporter."
That time he was asked about Melania's role as first lady
"That is what I call a nice question. ... She – like others, like others that she's working with – feel very, very strongly about women's issues, women's difficulties."
That time he responded to a question – from a Jewish reporter – about the uptick in threats against Jewish organizations
"OK, sit down. ... So here's the story, folks. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism – the least racist person."
That time he assumed a black reporter would be friends with black members of Congress
April Ryan: "When you say the inner cities, are you going to include the CBC, Mr. President, in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner-city agenda?"
Trump: "Am I going to include who?
Ryan: "Are you going to include the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus?"
Trump: "Well, I would. I tell you what: Do you want to set up the meeting? Do you want to set up the meeting?"
Ryan: "No, no, no. I’m just a reporter."
Trump: "Are they friends of yours? Set up the meeting."
Trump proves that if you connect with America's anger, you can steamroll our most sacred institutions without having to tell the truth. Watch here.