Donald Trump set a virgin bonfire in the White House Friday and Laura Ingraham emerged from the flames to interview him. She opened with a softball question about how much of a pants-soiling threat Iran Gen. Qasem Soleimani was before Trump single-handedly erased him from existence with the Infinity Gauntlet.

INGRAHAM: [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's] concern is that people aren't understanding the imminent nature of the threat of Soleimani, and he was pressed on that today. He said there were large-scale attacks planned on U.S. facilities, but he didn't go more specific. Don't the American people have the right to know what specifically was targeted without revealing methods and sources?

This is the president's response in its original banana pants.

TRUMP: Well, I don't think but we will tell you that probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad. You saw that happening. You saw with all of the men, very few women, circling it and circling it very strongly and very viciously, knocking out windows and trying to get and they were close to getting in, and I called out the military. They said we'll have it there tomorrow. I said, nope, you'll have it there today. We're not going to have another Benghazi on our hands. And we did a really amazing job. I get no credit for it, but we never get credit for anything, and that's OK. In the meantime, we have the greatest economy we've ever had, a lot of other things.

But I think you would have had another Benghazi had we not acted quickly. That could have been stopped, and this was stopped. And we had our Apaches going there, the great helicopters, and they were dropping flares all over the place, and a lot of things were happening. They had acted real fast and everybody disappeared.

Interview: Laura Ingraham Interviews Donald Trump on Fox's The Ingraham Angle - January 10, 2020 www.youtube.com

Trump just vomited gibberish with large chunks of undigested narcissism, and Ingraham was wearing open-toed shoes. Maybe that bothered her enough to ask the president a question with a slightly tough exterior. Republican Sen. Mike Lee wasn't thrilled with Wednesday's briefing on the Soleimani killing. He gave it a Rotten Tomatoes score lower than Cats, declaring it "probably the worst briefing I've seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I've served in the United States Senate." Ingraham didn't care that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also thought the briefing was a hot mess. What concerned her was that Trump lost a member of his fan club.

INGRAHAM: What wasn't said to mollify the concerns of some of your strongest supporters like Mike Lee?

TRUMP: Yes, he is a great supporter. He's a friend of mine. He called me just a little while ago and he said I just wanted to get some more information. And he was -- look, I have also had calls from some of the senators; some of the congressmen said it was the single best briefing. One person said they have been there for 10 years. It's the single best briefing they've ever had. One said 20 years, the single best military briefing they've ever had.

It's hard to tell what's worse: That the president is hallucinating these effusive reviews of his intel briefing or that some Republicans are so desperate to remain in his good graces they will lie to his face and insist they can see his invisible suit. The rest of the interview was a smorgasbord of Trump-ism. He lied about Barack Obama's Iran deal. He tossed off more offhand slander about how Rep. Ilhan Omar "hates Jewish people." He threatened again to forcibly steal oil from Syria, because the man's ideal foreign policy is a marathon of war crimes. But the interview's definite low point came when Trump boasted to Ingraham that he'd pimped out the US military to Saudi Arabia.

The problem with electing a president who claims they'll "run America like a business" is that they will run America like a business. Everything's transactional to Trump. He has no concept of how a legitimate commander in chief -- or a legitimate businessman, for that matter -- should interact with the world.

TRUMP: We're sending more to Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia's paying us for it. We're doing something that nobody's ever done. I said to Saudi Arabia -- we have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia. I said listen, you're a very rich country. You want more troops, I'm going to send them to you but you've got to pay us. They're paying us. They've already deposited $1 billion in the bank.

Trump views the US military as no better than mercenaries. Our foreign policy is now play for pay. This is grotesque.

TRUMP: We are going to help them but these rich countries have to pay for it. South Korea gave us $500 million. They've never gave us -- they gave us $500 million. I said you got to help us along. We have 32,000 soldiers in South Korea protecting it from North Korea. You've got to pay. And they gave us $500 million.

Trump should've read the Constiution in preparation for the presidency. Instead, he just rewatched The Godfather trilogy. He's running a protection racket. He's not even ashamed. He wishes he received more positive press on his successful gangstering.

TRUMP: I mean you saw that breaking news because nobody wants to report that stuff. I'm not sure anybody knows it. It might be sort of saying you have some -- I mean, that's good stuff. But they're a wealthy country. They build all your television sets. They took that away from us. They build the ships; they've built a lot of things. I said look, we're protecting you, you got to pay. They paid us $500 million. They're going to pay us a lot more.

It's boggles the mind to witness Trump gloating about behavior that only further proves the Democrats' case against him for impeachment. Of course, Trump threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine in exchange for a "favor." He does nothing for free or that isn't in his perceived self-interest. The Trump administration is fully mobbed up.

[Factbase]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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