President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
In case you missed it, earlier today, President Trump gave a barnburner of a press conference regarding his acquittal on the impeachment charges (following on the heels of a semi-salty prayer breakfast). Trump took the opportunity to lay out his own case (some might say as well as his attorneys did during the trial, if a bit more colorfully) and to thank his congressional champions.
Among those whom he thanked was Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), taking several minutes to heap praise on Hawley, while simultaneously tweaking Claire McCaskill, who Hawley unseated in 2018. Throughout the impeachment
folly proceedings, Senator Hawley has been one of the President’s staunchest defenders and the President clearly is appreciative of that.
Immediately after singing the praises of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and his gruff voice, Trump shifted to Hawley, and had this to say:
And a man who, you know, he was running against a tough, smart campaigner — we learned how good she was, right? She was a great campaigner. In fact, by the end of the campaign, she was actually — I thought she was more for me than you were, Josh — I was hurt! I saw her ad — she was saying the greatest things about me. And — you know who I’m talking about.
And I went to a great place: Missouri. And I said, “Who do you have to beat her?” And they said, “Well, we have four people.” I said, “Let me see them — I’ve got to interview” — can you imagine? I’m interviewing people for the United States Senate — this is what I do. Where have I gone? But I love it — I love it ‘cuz we’re getting great people.
The first one I met was Josh Hawley. After about 10 minutes, I said to the people: “Don’t show me anybody else. This is the guy.” He was the Attorney General, did a phenomenal job in the state, highly respected. And…Claire McCaskill. So, the theory was you couldn’t beat her — great campaigner. Remember the last campaign? She was going to be taken — she was always going to be taken out — and then she wins and people say: “How did that happen?” It didn’t happen with him [Hawley]. But she got so friendly toward me. In fact, one of the ads I still have — I’m putting it in the archives as one of the best ads I’ve ever made. And she tried to convince people that we were best friends, but Josh ended up winning by 5 or 6 points. You were unbelievable, you were tough, and you are something.
And one of the greatest supporters on the impeachment hoax was Josh Hawley. He was incensed, actually — I watched him — he was incensed at what they were doing and what they were saying. And those were the ones…you know I had some that said, “Oh, I wish he didn’t make the call.” That’s okay — if they need that. It’s incorrect, it’s totally incorrect. And then you have some that used religion as a crutch. They never used it before. An article written today — never heard him use it before — but today, you know, it’s one of those things. But, you know, it’s a failed presidential candidate, so, things can happen when you fail so badly running for president. But Josh Hawley, I want to thank you. You were right from the beginning. Man, did I make a good choice. Thank you, Josh. Tremendous future.
Think it’s probably safe to say her “stone cold idiot” insult for Trump initially referring to the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs as being from Kansas, rather than Missouri, didn’t go unnoticed. One thing’s for sure — Trump knows how to pull pigtails. What better way to dip Claire’s in the inkwell than pointing out her willingness to cozy up to him in 2018 in order to bolster her election hopes. As reported at the time:
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill has approvingly evoked former President Ronald Reagan. She said she would back President Donald Trump if he stopped a migrant caravan at the border. And speaking on Fox News, she has decried “crazy Democrats.”
She didn’t take it all that well:
I stand by cold stone idiot. And liar. https://t.co/BdArFUPd9d
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) February 6, 2020
Hawley, of course, was considerably more gracious following the remarks:
Just came from the White House, marking the end of the impeachment crusade. This has been a terrible chapter for our country, driven by the Democrats’ raw hatred of @realDonaldTrump. It’s over. Now it’s time to work!
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) February 6, 2020
Something else that is abundantly clear from President Trump’s remarks this morning — regardless of where our sports franchises are located, he is quite familiar with Missouri’s key players and the dynamics of Missouri politics. He took Missouri by 19 points in 2016. If I were betting on it, I’d predict an equally healthy margin in 2020.
You can watch the entire press conference — in all its glory — below: