The president literally flipped the script during a tax speech in West Virginia Thursday.
Amid an economic roundtable in the Mountain State, Trump ditched prepared remarks in favor of a more conversational tone with his audience, who he thanked for letting him campaign in states where he held a much narrower lead during the 2016 campaign.
“You know, this was going to be my remarks, it would’ve taken about two minutes, but to hell with it,” Trump said, throwing his prepared statement away. “That would have been a little boring, a little boring.”
The president heard from various West Virginians who praised his passage of a tax reform bill last year, and also commented on illegal voting in the 2016 campaign.
“In many places like California, the same person votes many times. You’ve probably heard of that,” Trump also noted. “They always like to say, ‘Oh, that’s like a conspiracy theory.’ Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people. And it’s very hard, because the state guards their records. They don’t want to see it.”
The president also caused a fake news media stir when he claimed migrants heading to the United States were being raped.
“Remember my opening remarks at Trump Tower when I opened? Everybody said, ‘Oh, he was so tough.’ I used the word rape,” the president said. “And yesterday it came out where this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before.”
Media outlets quickly claimed Trump was making up a false rape statistic, but the White House defended the remarks in a statement to Fox News, pointing to a December 2017 Huffington Post article which claimed, “80% Of Central American Women, Girls Are Raped Crossing Into The U.S.”
“There is extensive and extreme victimization of those making the journey north with coyotes/smugglers in general,” the White House rep told Fox News. “This has been widely reported for years.”
White House Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated it’s a “well-established fact” migrants are raped during the journey to the United States.
“Not sure why the media is acting like this isn’t a well-established fact –women and young girls are brutally victimized on the journey north,” Sanders told Fox. “Strikes me as quite bizarre that reporters would try to cover up the gross atrocities perpetuated by smugglers and coyotes.”
During the meeting, one female speaker also broke into tears telling the president the tax bill had saved her family $2,000.
“Thank you for listening to us. Thank you for fighting for us. Thank you for caring enough to allow us the opportunity to come here and tell you thank you to your face,” Jessica Hodge stated. “My little 10-year-old wants to be president someday.”
“It’ll happen,” Trump responded.