President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE on Wednesday gave a rare solo press conference from the United Nations in New York City, answering questions from reporters for more than an hour and 20 minutes.
Trump, during the news conference, defended his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but also went on a number of tangents on a wide range of subjects from attorney Michael Avenatti to Elton John.
Here are seven noteworthy moments from Wednesday's press conference.
Trump says Democrats would vote "100 percent" against George Washington
Trump claimed that if he were able to nominate George Washington to the Supreme Court, Democrats would vote unanimously against him.
He also said the first U.S. president "may have had a bad past."
"Didn’t he have a couple things in his past? George Washington would be voted against 100 percent by Schumer and the con artists. I mean 100 percent, 100 percent," Trump said, referring by name to Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill Coons says White House could impose border fee for carbon-intensive products The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The omicron threat and Biden's plan to beat it MORE (D-N.Y.).
"So it really doesn’t matter from their standpoint," he added.
George Washington "may have had a bad past... didn't he have a couple of things in his past?" - Donald Trump questions record of America's first president and says Democrats would not vote for founding fatherhttps://t.co/Ho7fsxxD6i pic.twitter.com/U2eWmXahVN— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 26, 2018
Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, was expected to have an easy path to confirmation following his confirmation hearing earlier this month. His nomination, however, started to derail following the sexual assault allegations levied against him by two women.
Trump refers to reporter as “Mr. Kurd”
Trump caused a stir on social media when he referred to a Kurdish journalist as “Mr. Kurd” while calling on him to ask a question during the news conference.
"Yes, please, Mr. Kurd, go ahead,” Trump said to the reporter. The Kurds are an Iranian ethnic group in the Middle East.
Trump addresses a reporter as "Mr. Kurd" pic.twitter.com/fiYhHODYaE— Deena Zeina Zaru (@Deena_Zaru) September 26, 2018
Michael Grynbaum, a reporter with The New York Times, tweeted later that the journalist’s name is Rahim Rashidi.
Rashidi told Gyrnbaum that he was thrilled that Trump referred to him as “Mr. Kurd.”
"I love it," he said. "He made me happy by this sentence."
I just spoke with “Mr. Kurd.”— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) September 26, 2018
His name is Rahim Rashidi, he works for Kurdistan TV, and he is thrilled.
“I love it!” he said of Trump. “He made me happy by this sentence.”
Trump calls The New York Times “failing,” then says it’s doing “very well”
Trump during the news conference referred to The New York Times, as he often does, as the “failing” New York Times.
But the president also said that the newspaper is doing “very well” because of his presidency and predicted that the newspaper would endorse him in the future as a result.
“The Times, I think they’re going to endorse me,” he said. “I think that ABC, I think — well Fox, I like Fox, I really do."
“But I think ABC, CBS, NBC, The Times, they’re all going to endorse me,” he continued. “Because if they don’t they’re going out of business. Can you imagine if you didn’t have me?”
Trump mistakes a PBS reporter for a New York Times reporter and craps all over the "failing New York Times" pic.twitter.com/6Wxi6GHlwZ— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 26, 2018
A reporter from the Times later said the newspaper is “kind of thriving, not failing.”
“You’re doing very well," Trump responded. "Say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Trump.' ”
The reporter declined to do so.
Trump then told the reporter that there are “three or four” stories per day about him on the front page of the Times and described those stories as “all negative," but said he "still love[s]" the newspaper.
“No matter what I do, they’re negative,” he added. “But you know what? That’s OK. I still love the paper.”
.@nytimes reporter responds to Pres. Trump calling the paper "failing": "We're kind of thriving, not failing these days."— jesse (@jconvertweets) September 26, 2018
Trump: "You're doing very well. Say 'thank you, Mr. Trump."
NYT: "I think I'll stop short of that." #TrumpPressConference pic.twitter.com/PaF6TrcE6g
Trump attacks Avenatti as a “con artist”
Trump criticized Michael Avenatti by name, after directing a tweet at him for the first time earlier in the day.
Avenatti, who represents adult-film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against the president, on Wednesday released sworn testimony from his new client, Julie Swetnick, who accused Kavanaugh of being present at a house party in high school where she was drugged and raped by multiple boys.
Trump dismissed the accusations as “another beauty” and called Avenatti a “con artist.”
“All of a sudden, the hearings are over, and the rumors start coming out,” he said. “And then you this other con artist, Avenatti, come out with another beauty today."
"People are going to have to make a decision," Pres. Trump tells @jonkarl. "36 years, there's no charge. All of a sudden, the hearings are over, and the rumors start coming out. And then you this other con artist, Avenatti, come out with another beauty today." pic.twitter.com/qTXUfzq0nC— ABC News (@ABC) September 26, 2018
"Bad reputation. Take a look at his past," Trump added later, referring to Avenatti.
Kavanaugh on Wednesday flatly denied the accusations brought by Swetnick, who also alleged that Kavanaugh had been involved in groping women.
Trump says United Nations crowd was laughing with him, not at him
Trump claimed that world leaders “were laughing with me” when they laughed during his speech at the United Nations on Tuesday.
Trump added that reports that characterized the crowd as laughing at him were “fake news.”
"We had fun. That was not laughing at me," Trump said.
"So, the fake news said 'people laughed at President Trump,' " he added. "They didn’t laugh at me. People had a good time with me. We were doing it together."
Trump added that the world leaders “respect what I’ve done.”
Trump boasted in his speech Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly that his administration had accomplished more “than almost any administration” in the history of the United States in its first two years. The claim prompted laughter from the audience.
"I didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK,” Trump responded at the time.
Trump says he 'doesn't mind' whether a female reporter asks him a question
Trump engaged in a back-and-forth with CNN reporter Jim Acosta after Acosta requested that the president call on a female reporter as he answered questions regarding sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
“If one of our female colleagues could go after me, that would be great,” Acosta said as he began to ask a question.
Trump then asked Acosta to explain what he meant by that request.
“I think it would be great if a female reporter would ask you a question about this issue,” Acosta said. “So if you don’t mind —”
“I wouldn’t mind that at all,” Trump responded. “Wouldn’t make any difference to me.”
Trump’s news conference came on the eve of Kavanaugh’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on sexual assault allegations levied against him by Christine Blasey Ford. Ford, who will also testify Thursday, has said that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothes at a high school party in the 1980s. Ford also says Kavanaugh muffled her screams for help.
Ford is one of three women, along with Swetnick and Deborah Ramirez, who have publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
Trump invokes Elton John as he wraps up news conference
Trump compared his press conference to a concert, saying that he wanted to end the news conference with a good question in the same way that artists want to "hit the last tune" at the end of a show.
“Always like to finish with a good one," Trump said. "Elton John said, ‘When you hit that last tune and it’s good, don’t go back.’"
"Have you ever seen — they hit the last tune and then everyone goes crazy," Trump continued. "Then they go back for an encore, and they don’t hit it. And they leave, everyone leaves and says, ‘That wasn’t a very good concert, was it?’"
Trump quotes Elton John and compares his press conference to a concert pic.twitter.com/uskmnS5Csp— Brian Koerber (@bkurbs) September 26, 2018