When asked what he is thankful for, US president turns to his favourite subject: himself
President Donald Trump used a Thanksgiving Day call to troops deployed overseas to pat himself on the back, and air a range of his favourite grievances.
Asked what he was thankful for this year, Trump cited his “great family” … as well as himself. “I made a tremendous difference in this country,” he said. “This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office and you wouldn’t believe it and when you see it, we’ve gotten so much stronger people don’t even believe it.”
The US president also congratulated himself while congratulating the military, telling officers that the country was doing exceptionally well on his watch.
“I hope that you’ll take solace in knowing that all of the American families you hold so close to your heart are all doing well,” he said. “The nation’s doing well economically, better than anybody in the world.” He later told reporters “nobody’s done more for the military than me.”
Trump’s call, made from his private Mar-a-Lago club and usually used to simply wish the forces a happy holidays, struck an overtly political tone in a range of areas.
He compared the migrant caravan in Mexico to the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan. “You probably see over the news what’s happening on our southern border,” Trump told one Air Force brigadier general stationed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, adding: “I don’t have to even ask you. I know what you want to do, you want to make sure that you know who we’re letting in.”
Trump later threatened to close the US border with Mexico for an undisclosed period of time if his administration determines Mexico has lost “control” on its side. “If we find that it gets to a level where we lose control or people are going to start getting hurt, we’re going to close entry into the country for a period of time until we get it under control,” he said.
US judges were also on the end of pointed criticism. “It’s a disgrace,” Trump said of judges who have blocked his attempts to overhaul US immigration law. He railed against the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which he said has become “a big thorn in our side”.
“It’s a terrible thing,” he said, when judges “tell you how to protect your border. It’s a disgrace.”
Later, Trump asked a US Coast Guard commander about trade, which he noted was “a very big subject” for him personally. “We’ve been taken advantage of for many, many years by bad trade deals,” Trump told the commander, who sheepishly replied that, “We don’t see any issues in terms of trade right now.”
The president also said he’d be interviewing candidates for potential openings in his administration. “I’m very happy with my cabinet and the people working for me and for us … They’re absolute stars.” But, he said, “there’s always a lot of change. I’ll probably be changing a couple.”
Associated Press contributed to this report