Speaking to about 250 of the Republican Party’s richest donors at a posh riverfront resort in New Orleans on Saturday night, former President Donald Trump suggested that the United States should disguise its fighter jets to make them appear Chinese and then “bomb the shit” out of Russian soldiers now waging war in Ukraine.
“And then we say, China did it, we didn’t do it, China did it, and then they start fighting with each other and we sit back and watch,” Trump riffed, apparently making light of escalating a war that could kill untold numbers of people. He was met with laughter from the deep-pocketed crowd, according to a recording of the speech obtained by the Washington Post.
It went downhill from there. Trump’s rambling 84-minute speech was filled with provocations and lies:
- He showered North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with praise, expressing awe at how Kim’s aides “cowered” when the dictator addressed them. “Total control,” Trump said of how Kim manages the impoverished country, and how his military generals stand up on command when addressed by their leader. “I looked at my people and said I want my people to act like that,” Trump said.
- He claimed that he was tougher on Russian leader Vladimir Putin than any other US president. (Recently, he complimented Putin as being “savvy” and “brilliant” with his designs on Ukraine.) Trump nonsensically argued that Putin would have never invaded Ukraine if Trump were still president. “I knew Putin very well. He would not have done it,” he said. Of course, while he was in the White House, Trump prevented badly needed military aid from going to Ukraine while he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate President Biden’s son Hunter.
- He made light of the accelerating global climate crisis. “The global warming hoax, it just never ends,” Trump said. He joked about sea level rise: “To which I say, great, we have more waterfront property.”
- He repeated his lie that he won the 2020 election, and taunted Democratic opponents and Republicans whom he accused of failing to back him. “Stupid, corrupt Mitch McConnell,” he said of the Senate minority leader. He called George Conway, the husband of his former adviser Kellyanne Conway, a “stupid son of a bitch,” and described Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who headed the congressional impeachment investigation against him, a “watermelon head…because his head is shaped like a watermelon.”
- He again suggested that he plans to run for president again. “I wonder who that might be,” he joked regarding the nominee for the next election, as the audience cheered his name. “We’ve already won two presidential elections,” he said, falsely. “And now I feel obligated that we have to really look strongly at doing it again.”
Not everyone in the crowd was impressed or amused. Several audience members told the Washington Post that the former president spoke for far too long, and that many people began to get bored midway through the rambling address.