Known Bullshitter Had Stuff to Say About Claire McCaskill, Josh Hawley


In the wake of Donald Trump's visit to St. Louis yesterday, many people are talking about how, during a private fundraising speech at Hilton St. Louis Frontenac, our very stable and quite sane president casually admitted that he didn't really know whether the U.S. ran a trade deficit with Canada when he insisted to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that America's totally got a trade deficit, for realsies. (We don't, by the way.)

And while the Canadians wait for an apology that will surely never come, it's easy to forget the whole reason Trump was in town: to raise money for Josh Hawley, current Missouri Attorney General and challenger to incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri).

According to a transcript of Trump's remarks obtained by the Washington Post, Hawley's campaign registered as a relatively minor mention among the meandering 30-minute speech. And like other transcripts of Trump's speeches, the text reads like the self-worshiping ramblings of that guy in the neighborhood dive bar nobody wants to drink with, only in this case it's the president.

Granted, at least Trump remembered to briefly talk about Hawley at the beginning of his speech:
The country is watching. This is one of the most important races because this is one that we can win because of Josh, we had to get Josh to do it. Once that was it just we haven't ingested. Once that was [unintelligible], that was a big thing. Because you do need the right candidate and we have a few of them, we have a few pretty good ones. You know about what's happening. A couple of other guys joined and they are going to have great success. 

It's unclear what Trump meant when he said "we haven't ingested." Perhaps it is simply a misheard word or an error by the transcriber. On the other hand, Trump could just be lamenting the fact that Hawley refused to do shrooms with him in the presidential limo. Anybody's guess, really.

Later in the speech, Trump returned to the subject of Missouri in order to take some shots at Hawley's opponent McCaskill, particularly her "no" vote on his tax bill. He also compared McCaskill to the winner of last night's special election in Pennsylvania, Conor Lamb, who, it should be noted, never actually said, "Oh, I'm like Trump."
We had no Democrat votes. Claire McCaskill was against it because she's party line. It's not that she's was against it. She's party line. She's going to go with the party line. It's like the young man last night that ran, he said, oh, I'm like Trump. He said, I, I, you know, second amendment, all, everything. I love the tax cuts.

Trump rambled some more about the Pennsylvania election before returning to McCaskill, who, in Trump's mind, is actually is very nice to Trump and will not say bad things about him. Which is important!
So I think when you campaign when you're out there Josh, you should just keep bringing it up, she voted against. And I read an article and I thought it was very nice, actually. She said she said she's not going to say bad things about President Trump, I said, boy, I must be very popular in that state.

But actually, Trump continued, McCaskill is Very Bad and could take away everyone's guns. 
But we're not going to get her vote. So you have to defeat her. You have to defeat her. And if you don't, it's just going to be Trump. I mean, they could actually take away the tax cuts, they could take away your Second Amendment. Very importantly, judges, they'll start putting the judges that we've been having poured onto the court over the last eight years. You can't take it. I mean you just can't have it. 

Trump then launched into a tangent about judges, and then the steel industry, and then the European Union, a subject that apparently motivated him to address the crowd directly with a friendly, "A lot of you came from Europe, right? Guess what. They're pretty smart."

Admittedly, this comment doesn't have anything to do with Hawley's campaign, but it is nevertheless a very strange thing to say that defies understanding. Is there a delegation of Europeans who traveled all this way just to listen to Trump? If he's talking about descendants of European immigrants, then, uh, it kind of sounds like he's giving a special shout-out to all the white people in the audience. But who really knows. The man's mind is a confounding labyrinth and we are all lost in it.

Moving right along. Later, Trump dropped the instantly famous anecdote about the time he bluffed Trudeau on U.S.-Canada trade relations. (Despite Trump's morning tweet repeating his claim, no, the U.S. does not run a trade deficit with Canada.)

Immediately after relating this story, which reflects both his presidential comportment and personal chutzpah, Trump took one last swipe at McCaskill, noting that in her last reelection campaign, in 2013, she was set to lose but got "very lucky." This is presumably a reference to Todd Akin's breathtaking statements "about legitimate" rape that tanked his campaign that year.
Claire McCaskill is a guaranteed negative vote on every single thing that you people stand for, and frankly that a vast majority of the people of Missouri stand for. It is a negative vote for our country. And you have to defeat Claire McCaskill. Last time she get very lucky. She got lucky — she was going to lose. That was a done deal. And then, something happened. I was watching, I said oh! What happened. That was big! The next day I said, oh yeah, I was right, I watched that.

So you got to get her out. Bad for Missouri, bad for the country. And this is going to be a great United States senator. Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Let us repeat Trump's contemporaneous response to that political moment: "Oh! What happened. That was big!" And the next day, he told himself, "Oh yeah, I was right, I watched that."

Bizarrely, attendees at last night's fundraiser paid as much as $50,000 for the pleasure of hearing the President's remarks.

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at

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