Here’s what a sneaky photo of Trump’s notes reveal about his political priorities
President Donald Trump’s May 22 press conference in the White House Rose Garden has been described as rambling and erratic by his critics. But the president did have notes to refer to during the event, and a photo by the Washington Post’s Jabin Botsford captured some of the talking points he had in mind.
Trump notes captured by @jabinbotsford: “They want to impeach me over acts that they did” “Dems have no achomlishm… https://t.co/46KKcV5dAo— Dan Eggen (@Dan Eggen) 1558569111
Trump’s notes, according to the Daily Beast, are handwritten in black sharpie ink and appear to say that Democrats “want to impeach me over acts that they did” and that “Dems have no achomlishments” (sic). And Trump, during the press conference, complained bitterly about investigations of him by Democrats in Congress and stressed that he will not work with them on any infrastructure projects as long as those investigations continue.
Although Trump sounded like he was rambling during the press conference, Botsford’s photo demonstrates that he did go to the event with some specific themes in mind.
Botsford’s photo wasn’t the first time a photographer caught a glimpse of Trump’s handwritten notes. On February 22, 2018, CNN’s Beth Klein reported that Chip Somodevilla, a photographer for Getty Images, had photographed the notes Trump used during an event that addressed deadly school shootings in the United States.
In Somodevilla’s photo, Trump’s fingers are covering some of the things he planned to address. But one can see three of five bullet points: (1) “What would you most want me to know about your experience?,” (2) “What can we do to help you feel safe?,” and (5) “I hear you.” #3 and #4 are not entirely visible in Somodevilla’s photo.
One also caught a glimpse of some bullet points in a November 2016 photo of Trump and Republican anti-immigrant extremist Kris Kobach, who was Kansas’ secretary of state at the time. In the photo, Kobach can be seen holding a position paper — which says, “update and reintroduce the NSEERS screening and tracking system (National Security Entry-Exit Registration System) that was in place from 2002-2005. All aliens from high-risk areas are tracked.”
That tracking system was created under the George W. Bush Administration after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but it was abandoned after thousands of people were tracked and it turned out that none of them had any ties to al-Qaeda.
In that photo, one also sees the recommendation, “add extreme vetting questions for high-risk aliens; question them regarding support for Sharia law, jihad, equality of men and women, the United States Constitution.” And another recommendation was, “reduce intake of Syrian refugees to zero, using authority under the 1980 Refugee Act.”
For Trump's part, on Thursday the president tweeted that he had, in fact, been "extremely calm" during his press conference in the Rose Garden.
I was extremely calm yesterday with my meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, knowing that they would say I was raging, w… https://t.co/WLEuQ8RNyg— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1558620819