Whether you love Donald Trump and think he's a political and business genius or would rather stick pencils in your ears, tip-first, whenever you hear him speak, know that one thing is for sure.
Donald Trump does not care what you think.
In fact, after listening to him for the past month, since he declared that he would seek the Republican nomination for the presidency of the United States in 2016, one might get the impression that he has no idea
what he's talking about anyone is listening, so inflammatory have his comments been about immigration, U.S.-Mexico relations, general terribleness caused by the current administration and, recently, the Vietnam-era heroism of Sen. John McCain.
At first, it seemed as though he had to be saying such polarizing things on purpose (you know, for attention) because how could this person who otherwise functions successfully as a human being actually believe the vitriolic, me-against-the-world polemics spewing from his mouth?
Mind you, he's always been this way, the only opinion that matters being his own since there was such a thing as media.
But now we're starting to suspect that he believes his own rhetoric and, he (and an alarming number of polls) will be quick to remind us, plenty of people agree with him. So as we become increasingly more disturbed at how easy it is to steer people away from common sense and hope and toward pessimism and obstinacy, here are the most absurd-sounding quotes that the Trump 2016 campaign has provided us with so far:
June 16: Talking to Bill O'Reilly on Fox News:
The wall will go up and Mexico will start behaving.
June 17: On Good Morning America, talking to George Stephanopoulos about his then brand-new candidacy:
You look at Baltimore, you look at Cleveland. You look at all of those places, just exploding. We have an African-American president [and] we've never had it so bad.
July 9: To NBC News after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told CNN that she was "disappointed" in his comments about immigration:
Hillary Clinton was the worst Secretary of State in the history of the United States. There's never been a Secretary of State so bad as Hillary. The world blew up around us. We lost everything, including all relationships. There wasn't one good thing that came out of that administration or her being Secretary of State.
You don't even have to like Hillary to know that's not true.
July 12: Trump takes drug lord El Chapo's escape from prison to stick it to both the U.S. and Mexican governments:
July 18: Trump at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa, about Sen. John McCain:
"He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK, I hate to tell you."
The most blatantly untrue thing about that statement is the part where he said "I hate to tell you."
No, not at all, actually. If you look at [former CBS News reporter] Sharyl Attkisson's report last night, four times she said I said perfectly [that McCain was a hero], I said whatever it was and it was absolutely fine. And she thought that the press was covering me very, very unfairly and she stated that strongly. And I respect her as a reporter. And [she's] somebody that a lot of people respect also, and very importantly, I got a standing ovation, the biggest ovation they had all weekend, by far. When I left the room, it was a total standing ovation. It was wonderful to see. Nobody was insulted.
I'm very disappointed in John McCain because the vets are horribly treated in this country. I'm fighting for the vets. I've done a lot for the vets.
Informed by Raddatz that the founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, among others, had excoriated his comment about McCain, Trump replied:
Well, maybe they don't speak to the same vets that I speak to.
Asked if he ever had said anything that he regretted, he admitted that yes he had, but added:
I have said things that I could've held back. But not that often, surprisingly not that often, but certainly there have been occasions.
July 20: In response to Rupert Murdoch's various Trump slams from the week past:
In the lion's den On CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:
All I know is I have a very big group of support, and I think one of the reasons is the people don't trust you, and the people don't trust the media. And I understand why.
Minus the Edward R. Murrow types at Fox News.
July 25: Tweeting to fellow GOP candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker after a Walker fundraiser called Trump "DumbDumb" in a mass email:
If you're going to be president, you need to start accepting that you're not going to be able to address every sandbox fight on social media.
July 28: On the phone with CNN:
This is more than me, this is a movement going on. People are tired of these incompetent politicians in Washington that can't get anything done, they can't make deals, they can't do anything. They go and they–all they care about is getting elected. They don't care about anything else, and they know I've built an incredible company. A lot of people, including yourself, a lot of people thought I wasn't going to be running and I wouldn't put in my financials. I put in my financials—they're much better than anybody ever thought. People said, ‘Oh, well maybe he's not as rich as everybody thinks you are.' Well, it turned out I'm much richer.
OK, we're not scoffing at all of this. What Trump said about what people are sick of is true—and why do two years out of every term of office (be you representative, senator or, ahem sometimes, president) seem to be all about campaigning for either one's self or the next guy? But he should really drop the money thing, because the analysts aren't going to let up on what they insist is his overstated net worth. Both Forbes and Bloomberg Business have reported that he's worth about $7 billion less than he keeps saying.
July 29: Reacting to attorney Elizabeth Beck telling CNN that Trump had once called her "disgusting" when asked for a break during a deposition to pump breast milk:
Aug. 6: The first GOP primary debate, held at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena and moderated by Fox News' Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier:
Only Rosie O'Donnell.
The night provided an embarrassment of riches, really, including this super-classy gem that he interjected into Kelly's question about whether his behavior toward women made him a worthy candidate, because hadn't he referred to them as "fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals" at times?
If it weren't for me you wouldn't even be talking about illegal immigration. This was not a subject on anybody's mind at my announcement, except the reporters are a very dishonest lot.
True, no one would have ever mentioned immigration policy. Ever.
I give to everybody. When I call, they give. And you know what, when I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that's a broken system. Well, I tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding, and she came to my wedding. You know why, she had no choice—'cause I gave to a foundation that, frankly, that foundation was supposed to do good. I didn't know her money would be used on private jets going all over the world. It was.
What part of that was broken again?
Aug. 7: Discussing the debate with CNN:
I don't have a lot of respect for Megyn Kelly—she's a lightweight. She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions and, you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.
But he didn't mean what you're thinking, ya deviant.
Aug. 11: Criticizing Democratic candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for not speaking at a rally in Seattle when a couple of #BlackLivesMatter protesters grabbed the mic:
I would never give up my microphone. I thought that was disgusting. That showed such weakness, the way he was taken away by two young women—the microphone; they just took the whole place over...That will never happen with me. I don't know if I'll do the fighting myself or if other people will, but that was a disgrace. I felt badly for him. But it showed that he's weak.
We can only imagine where Trump thought their blood was coming from.
Aug. 16: Published in Maureen Dowd's Sunday column in The New York Times:
Heidi Klum. Sadly, she's no longer a 10.
(Originally published July 21, 2015, at 5:30 a.m. PT)