President Trump hit on a range of issues Friday morning before leaving to address the National Rifle Association in Indianapolis.
Mr. Trump claimed he’s a student of history and that’s why he never would have ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn. That claim contradicts the Mueller report. But Mr. Trump is also known for frequently getting key pieces of history wrong.
“I’m a student of history, I see what you get when you fire people, and it’s not good,” Mr. Trump said. “But there would have been nothing wrong with firing him.”
The president also responded for the first time in person since former Vice President Joe Biden officially launched his campaign. Mr. Trump called himself a “young” and “vibrant” man. Mr. Trump said he’s not so sure about Biden, whom he has coined “sleepy Joe.”
“I think we beat him easily,” Mr. Trump said of Biden.
Biden’s launch video featured the deadly 2017 protests in Charlottesville, after which Mr. Trump claimed there were “very fine people on both sides.” Given the opportunity to again clarify those comments Friday, the president responded, “I’ve answered that question and I was talking about people who went because they felt very strongly about the statue of Robert E. Lee.”
On a more serious note, the president reiterated that no money was paid to North Korea for the late Otto Warmbier. The North Koreans, as the Washington Post first reported and CBS News later confirmed, gave the U.S. a $2 million bill for Warmbier. But on Friday morning, the president still touted his relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
“We don’t pay money for hostages,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are addressing the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, a group the president has addressed in the past.
The president tweeted about the trip Friday morning.
The president has closely aligned himself with gun rights issues and the NRA, one exception being his administration’s successful push to ban bump stocks in light of the deadly 2017 Las Vegas shooting. The NRA spent millions of dollars aiding Mr. Trump and attacking Hillary Clinton leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
Mr. Trump has vowed to protect Second Amendment rights, and warned that Democrats want to take away people’s guns.
“Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I’m your president,” Mr. Trump said in a speech to the NRA last year.
The trip comes as the president fumes over Democrats’ demands stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, saying he is against aides testifying before Congress.