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‘Almost a spy’: Transcript and video of Trump’s remarks at private U.N. event about whistleblower

The Washington Post obtained video of President Trump giving a private speech to U.S. diplomats on Sept. 26. (Video: Obtained by The Washington Post)

President Trump delivered wide-ranging remarks at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on Thursday morning in which he dismissed the complaint against him from an intelligence community whistleblower and suggested that the person’s actions and those who leaked to him or her are akin to being a spy or committing treason.

The closed-door event was intended for staff and families of the U.S. delegation to honor the work they’d done for the president’s visit to the United Nations. The president focused on condemning the whistleblower, lambasting the media and bragging about the size of his political rallies.

Below is a transcript from a nine-minute video of Trump’s remarks obtained by The Washington Post. The video began as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft left the stage and Trump took the podium:

President Trump on Sept. 26 gave a private United Nations speech to U.S. diplomats. (Video: Obtained by The Washington Post)

“They tell you you’re going to be a star; the only way you’re going to be a star, no matter how you look or feel or talk, is when you make good deals. I found that out over the years, you’ve got to make good deals; otherwise it’s over. And [Craft] is going to make great deals.

I was with her now for three days, and she’s developed incredible relationships in a very short period of time and we appreciate it. (Looks at her) You’ll be out there. You’ll be in the firing line today for us. For instance, today I just heard while I’m coming up here, you know they have a whistleblower (laughter); he turned out to be a fake, he’s a fake, a highly partisan whistleblower. The lawyer contributed to Biden, they contributed to — the whole thing is — but more importantly, you know what the whistleblower [complaint] is? The same letter that we announced yesterday, which was perfect; I couldn’t have written it better if I wrote it myself. I could not have said or had a better conversation.

And we had a really nice gentleman in the president of Ukraine yesterday. And he was — he was good. They said, ‘Was he pressuring you?’ You know, these animals in the press. They’re animals. Some of the worst human beings you’ll ever meet. (An audience member yells: “Fake news!”) They’re scum, many of them are scum. You have some good reporters, but not many, I’ll be honest with you. And that’s one of the things we battle. (Looks at Craft) You’ll find out, but they’ll probably like you better than they like me, but I had to get us here, right?

The Washington Post’s Devlin Barrett reports on the key takeaways from the declassified whistleblower complaint against President Trump. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

They are total — just terrible dishonest people. And they were crazy — they couldn’t figure out, ‘What do we say bad about this conversation?’ Then it turns out they had senators, Democrat senators, who went over there and strong-armed the guy: “You better damn well do this, or you’re not going to get any money from Congress.” Oh, I see, that’s okay? And then you have Sleepy Joe Biden, who’s dumb as a rock. (laughter)

This guy was dumb on his best day, and he’s not having his best day right now. He’s dumb as a rock. So you have Sleepy Joe, and he goes up, and his kid, who’s got a lot of problems, he got thrown out of the Navy for problems. I mean, look, I’m not going to — it’s a problem, that’s a problem, so we won’t get into why and all that. But he got thrown out of the Navy, and now this kid goes into Ukraine, walks away with millions of dollars, and he becomes a consultant for $50,000 a month. And he doesn’t know anything compared to anybody in this room. Okay? He’s a stiff; he knows nothing. He’s walking away with $50,000, or as you would say in the old days, 50K a month. Not bad. Would anybody else in this room like to represent Ukraine for $50,000?

That’s on top (points to the audience and says, “You got the job”) that’s on top of hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars. But that’s not the best one. The best one was China. This came up. So now he goes to China, and I was with the head of Blackstone, which is the big deal. Steve Schwarzman. I said, “Steve, is that possible?” “No, why? Why? Who got that? Who got that?” I said. “Biden’s son.” “Ooh,” Well, then, you know, he says, “Maybe I shouldn’t get involved, you know it’s very political.” I say, “Steve, what happens when you come off a vice-presidential plane, it’s called Air Force Two, your father’s with you, you walk into a room in China and they give you a fund of $1.5 billion, billion; you make hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of dollars off that. And that’s probably not all they gave him. They gave him plenty more, I’m sure. We might never find out.

And then they talk about me, and I didn’t do anything. I don’t know if I’m the most innocent person in the world. But, you know, you look at that — most presidential, I’m the most presidential, except for possibly Abe Lincoln when he wore the hat — that was tough to beat.

Remember we used to do that during the campaign. They used to say, when I speak, the crowd would be crazy, I’d go crazy — we would all go crazy. We’re going to have a lot of fun together … We’ve never had an empty seat. From the day I came down the escalator, with a potential unbelievable woman who became our first lady [applause] … the crowds love her, the people love her. But we’ve never had an empty seat — not one. I really believe that.

There was one case where we had a tremendous snowstorm and it was just about frozen; it was a monster storm. I don’t even remember how we got there. I said, ‘How’s the crowd?’ ‘It’s just about full, sir.’ I said, ‘What does that mean, like there are about two seats on top? Thousands and thousands could get there. So they show pictures of the empty seats. They don’t say this is the worst storm they’ve had in years. They show pictures of like nine empty seats, and it could’ve been people who just went to the bathroom.

I always say, just get the biggest arena. Good location if you can, but get the biggest arena. We did it the other night. Tuesday night we had two congressmen. One was possibly going to win. He was up by two. He won by about 27, I think, or something like that — a lot. The other one was down by 17. And they said, ‘Sir, don’t campaign for him, please.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because if he loses they’re going to kill you in the press.’ I said they’re going to kill me whether I campaign or not. It’s not going to matter. It’ll make it a little bit worse. They’ll say, he worked and he failed. Trump failed. The guy was down 17 points, and he ended up winning by a lot. He ended up winning by a lot.

In fact the whole night, CNN built the most beautiful — $2 billion, maybe, they spent — no wonder they’re losing … they have no ratings and they’re building studios all over the place, but they had a studio. The studio was going to stay up for weeks. And toward the end of the night they were taking it down. The so-called stars were leaving. They’re not really stars, I’ll tell you. The stars were leaving, and they didn’t want to report it.

The candidate Dan Bishop won by a lot. He was down by 17, and they had lines a mile long. I mean, the lines going into those voting booths were unbelievable. And without the rally speech, and a couple of tweets, and Twitter stuff is good. We have, like, way over 100 million people on six or seven different platforms. It’s actually much higher than that, even, higher than just about everybody. And it helps. It helps. They have signs oftentimes when I speak. It said, please keep … This woman the other night, beautiful woman, she’s got a son: “Please keep tweeting, sir, it matters.” And it does matter, because we get our voice out. If we don’t do that, we don’t get the voice out.

I can’t say what a great job Kelly [Craft] is doing, and I can’t say what a wonderful husband he is [pointing to Joe Craft]. Look at how devoted he is. He’s a rich man, too. He’s loaded. What are you doing here? Why aren’t you working? He’s so proud of his wife he can’t leave his office. That’s really great, though, huh? Are you all proud of her? He said ‘very much.’ And he’s really a fantastic guy; he’s been a friend of mine for a long time. Before I met Kelly, I met Joe. And Joe impressed me because of his knowledge of energy. Now he could be paid. Okay, you’re going to pay a guy 50 … for him that’s not quite good enough, although he might. He might. It’s easy money, Joe, you have to say. But he would be an expert on energy; he would be a real expert. He would be somebody you would pay a lot of money to, but not Joe Biden’s son.

So the whistleblower came out and said nothing. Said: ‘A couple of people told me he had a conversation with Ukraine.’ We’re at war. These people are sick. They’re sick. And nobody’s called it out like I do. I don’t understand. People are afraid to call it out. They’re afraid to say that the press is crooked. We have a crooked press. We have a dishonest media. So now they’re devastated, but they’ll always find something. I’m sure there’ll be something they’ll find in this report that will suit their lie. But basically that person never saw the report, never saw the call. Never saw the call. Heard something, and decided that he or she or whoever the hell it is — sort of like, almost, a spy. I want to know who’s the person that gave the whistleblower, who’s the person that gave the whistleblower the information, because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? With spies and treason, right? We used to handle them a little differently than we do now.” (laughter)