President Donald Trump ranted about immigrants, attractive generals, the difficulty of being president and more on Wednesday in his first televised appearance of the year.
In a rambling and often disjointed conversation, the president led reporters and members of his Cabinet through his thinking on issues ranging from immigration to military strategy to the very role of the presidency.
Here are some of the standout moments from the over 90-minute meeting:
Trump claimed there are more than 30 million undocumented immigrants.
That number is about three times greater than experts’ estimates. Pew Research Center estimated there were 10.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. as of 2016.
He said Afghanistan was responsible for turning the Soviet Union into Russia, then said he would have been a good general.
In one extended rant, Trump put forth his theory that Afghanistan was responsible for turning the Soviet Union into Russia, shared his thoughts on military strategy to fight terrorism and then claimed he would have been a good general. Trump avoided the draft five times.
Trump said he works too hard, despite taking more vacation days than any other president in recent history.
Former President Barack Obama was harshly criticized for taking vacation days ― including by Trump. But Trump has far surpassed Obama in the number of days he’s spent golfing during his presidency.
He repeated a number he made up for what unauthorized immigration costs the U.S.
Trump has a long history of spouting greatly inflated or invented numbers for how much illegal immigration costs the U.S. During his presidential campaign, he often claimed it cost $100 billion. That number has risen steadily over the years, unattached to any apparent research or reports, as The Washington Post’s Philip Bump has documented.
Trump summed up the deadly, devastating and years-long conflict in Syria with a minimizing statement.
After abruptly announcing plans in December to withdraw all American troops from war-torn Syria, Trump backpedaled somewhat on Wednesday, saying it might take longer than previously expected. “We’re talking about sand and death,” he said. “That’s what we’re talking about.”
The president commented on the physical attractiveness of a group of generals he once met with at the Pentagon.
This one pretty much speaks for itself, but “computer boards,” anyone?
He complained about being ‘all alone’ over the holidays, ‘except for all of the guys out on the lawn with machine guns.’
Trump threatened to take unilateral action on a number of his top priorities and then seemed to taunt, ‘Wouldn’t that be scary?’