Ann Coulter laid out an extremely candid assessment of Donald Trump's presidency as only she could in an hour-long interview with PBS Frontline released on Tuesday.
She praised Trump for his bold campaign rhetoric and labeling the media "the enemy of the people" but criticized his disastrous staffing decisions and failure to back up the alt-media outlets which helped get him elected.
The interview was conducted on August 8, 2019 with FRONTLINE's Jim Gilmore.
Here's some highlights:
Trump’s Relationship with the Media
Q: … His relationship with, you know, now that he’s president, and during the campaign to some extent, with friendly media, with Fox and conservative radio and Breitbart and all is—there’s a simpatico there. There’s a back-and-forth. There’s Hannity coming up and giving speeches. There’s a connection there that he seems to depend upon. He retweets the stuff that he’s getting from people. … The fact of whether he’s quoting from you or he’s, you know, he’s having conversations with Hannity and then repeating the same thing the next day in a speech or in a tweet, what’s—what’s going on with that relationship, and how different is that than any other president has ever had?
Well, I’m not a Democrat, so I can’t speak to the loyalty of Democrats, but my impressionistic view is that Trump is the most disloyal person I’ve ever seen. No, in fact, he doesn’t give interviews to Breitbart, the website that supported him when Fox News was bashing him night after night after night. He does not give interviews to Daily Caller. He has absolutely no loyalty to anyone but himself. And if you happen to be a TV—a TV talk host who’s going to stick your nose up his butt every night, yes, he’ll pat you on the head and give you interviews.
But in terms of rewarding the media that supported him? Oh, my gosh, he’s disloyal. He calls Maggie Haberman of The New York Times every day. Why was he giving that interview to Lester Holt where he said, “I was going to fire [James] Comey anyway”? Why are you talking to Lester Holt? All he wants is for the mainstream media to love him. It’s kind of cross-messaging when you’re telling your supporters it’s fake news, it’s fake news, it’s fake news, and all you want is praise from them, other than Hannity and Fox & Friends. …
Q: So he has—very early on he basically takes over the messaging, very early. In February he’s calling the mainstream media the “enemy of the people.”
I think it’s a great message. I wish he wouldn’t—
Q: It’s in your books as well. You agree with him about the media. So explain what is going on with that part of the relationship. … But what’s going on with the message, taking over the message, battering the media constantly, and what are the consequences of that?
I don’t think any progress can be made on anything in America until the media is destroyed and replaced by something with integrity. I mean, Trump, as usual, his actions are not consistent with his words, which is to say he denounces New York Times and, you know, ABC, NBC, CBS as “fake news,” but oh, does he suck up to them; that’s all he wants, the interview—“Oh, clear my schedule, Maggie Haberman’s coming in”—and then totally disses Breitbart.
So kind of, like with the wall, we get great tweets on immigration, but he’s not actually doing it. But I do think the words he’s saying, at least we’re getting that out of him. I was hoping for more, but at least we’re getting the words. And I think that is useful.
One of the—one of the great things Trump has done is to give a word for—for concepts. I mean, it was an important point George Orwell made—I think it was Orwell—that until you have a word for something, you don’t understand it; that there’s no part of your brain that—“the swamp,” “fake news.” What are some of the other ones? “Low energy” was a good one; that was a really good one. …
But the “fake news” one, I mean, that could be the only thing we get out of this presidency, to run down—and boy, the media sure isn’t giving him any pushback on this. … ABC, NBC, CBS, they are embarrassing themselves over and over and over again.
The Travel Ban
Q: … The first week he comes out with the executive orders and the travel ban immediately. So what’s your view of that? And on the other side of it is, one of the seven executive orders that had been written up was on DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], and that one doesn’t show up. So what’s your overview of those initial executive orders, and, you know, what are the results? What’s at stake here?
Well, the country is what’s at stake. The first few weeks were good is my—is my conclusion. I mean, the Muslim ban, as it’s called, it was upheld by the Supreme Court. And as some of us said, it always would be. Ooh, wow, you wouldn’t know that, speaking of fake news, from reading The New York Times, from watching ABC. And ooh, it’s the most [unconstitutional]—he’s like Hitler! Upheld by the Supreme Court.
The third version.
Any of them would have been. Read the opinion. It’s in the Constitution. It’s in statutory law. The president can exclude [Congress]—I mean, there are laws on the books that were passed by both Republicans and Democrats in banging out compromises. And we agree to a bill, and we send it up, and the president gets it signed, and it’s been on the books for decades, and it says the president can exclude any immigrants for any reasons in the best interest of the United States.
Q: And the message sent with that coming out as quickly as it did? ...
It was—I think it was just—I think probably for the first few weeks of his presidency, he had some vague idea of keeping his promises. That was abandoned very quickly. Decided it’s more fun just to tweet and promote Ivanka [Trump]’s shoe company or something.
But yeah, it’s an easy promise. Frankly, all of his promises—among the brilliant things about his campaign, and it was a magnificent campaign, and I write in In Trump We Trust again, all of his immigration promises, he doesn’t need Congress for. As I wrote in In Trump We Trust, what was so clever about it was, a lot of it is just enforcing laws on the books. A lot of it is up to the president as commander in chief. The only thing he needed Congress for of his central campaign promises was overturning Obamacare. So I’m sick of hearing the 3D chess crowd say, “Oh, he can’t because of Congress.” No, read In Trump We Trust! That was the brilliance of his campaign. He is the commander in chief; his number one duty is to protect the borders of the United States. For 200 years that’s what our military did. We built fortresses along the border.
There are Treasury regulations. He’s head of the executive branch. He could tax remittances, the billions of dollars being sent mostly by illegal aliens from this country back to Mexico. Tax the remittances. I don’t even know who’s against that. Doesn’t Wall Street make some money on—are they the ones against this? That’s how Mexico pays for the wall. You put a 10% tax on I think it’s—I think it’s something like $20 billion is sent every year. It’s an astonishing amount that gets sent out of here. You put a small tax on that, Mexico’s paying for the wall! You keep a promise. And there are Treasury regulations passed after 9/11 that allow—allow the Treasury Department by itself to put—to put regulations on transactions. So he could do that without Congress.
He can overturn the unconstitutional “I’m going to give amnesty to ‘Dreamers’” thing that Obama passed after saying—for six years, for seven years, Obama is telling Hispanic groups, “I don’t have the constitutional authority to pass this law or to issue an executive order; I need Congress.” Congress doesn’t pass it, and then he says, “I’m going to do it.” So we have it on the authority of constitutional law professor Barack Obama that his DACA executive order is unconstitutional. Trump can’t even write an executive order ending it?
Q: Why? Why didn’t the executive order—certainly Sessions and Miller are in there pushing big time. Bannon as well, supposedly. What was going on there? What was the view of your audience to that?
Well, some of us are a little upset that he hasn’t kept his promises, more than I think you will hear from publicly, because the media has made itself the enemy of the people. And I think—and look, I understand this. I think somebody’s got to try to hold his feet to the fire. We have a few months left to get—to get anything out of this guy. I mean, even if he wins reelection, is he more or less likely to keep his promises when he isn’t facing another election?
… I’ll fall on my sword and keep attacking him for not keeping his promises, but I must say I understand the feeling of the—I mean, I don’t think I could debase myself enough to start claiming he’s playing 3D chess. No, he’s not playing 3D chess. He’s lazy, narcissistic. I don’t know what the reasons were. Never believed it to begin with. Who knows? But he’s not keeping his promises, and don’t tell me 3D chess. …
[...] Crisis at the Border
Q: … So, we’ll come up to the present, move closer to the present now. So by March of 2019, the border crisis is getting worse, and the arrests are at a two-year high. Your view of why it’s grown to this extent, why the crisis has become worse and worse during this period of time. Is it—is any of this due to Trump?
It’s all—well, you can’t say it’s all due to Trump, but none of this would exist if Trump had simply hired some people who knew how to keep his promises. Whether that’s because he doesn’t care about his promises or he’s just a lazy narcissist, who knows? But that’s the fact. He didn’t hire the people who can get it done. And it’s not getting done. And yes, it’s worse than it’s ever been. It’s worse than it would have been under Hillary; Hillary would know she couldn’t get away with this. It’s worse than it was under Obama. It’s an absolute disaster. And he seems to have no interest—he, the president—no interest in finding out how to make it any better.
As long as he goes out and says something wild about the press and gets unfairly attacked, unfairly attacked by all the Democrats, unfairly attacked by the media, lied about in the media, that’s going to keep bringing the base back. And I think we should support him when he’s unfairly attacked. I would just like it to be him being unfairly attacked for doing something and not tweeting something.
As Coulter says in the interview, she bashes Trump because she wants him to actually follow through on his campaign promises.
"Well, some of us are a little upset that he hasn’t kept his promises, more than I think you will hear from publicly, because the media has made itself the enemy of the people," Coulter said. "And I think—and look, I understand this. I think somebody’s got to try to hold his feet to the fire. We have a few months left to get—to get anything out of this guy. I mean, even if he wins reelection, is he more or less likely to keep his promises when he isn’t facing another election?"