Evan Vucci / AP
The president-elect, who flew down to Washington last evening for a fancy dinner honoring his prospective Cabinet, showed up unannounced at the Vice President's Dinner, a fundraiser starring Mike Pence (entree was duck) at the National Portrait Gallery.
He gave lengthy, no-teleprompter remarks that were closed to the press. But an Axios AM reader sent us a partial tape. (Don't forget to do that.) Trump was feisty, funny and all over the place. A sampler of what was on his mind, 36 hours before show time:
- "I chose Mike, and we went out on the trail, and I'll tell you: From Day 1, we started hitting it. We had our little ups and downs. You might have known there were some little canyons there [laughter] on occasion. … We don't give up, do we, folks? We never give up." [Applause.]
- "A lot of you are political people. A lot of you are just rich people … " [Laughter]
- "And we put out a tweet: Tweet! Tweet! [Laughter, applause.] I mean, you know, when I get all that dishonest stuff, one tweet can straighten it all out." [Laughter.]
- "We could not have done it without the people in this room. The people in this room are very special. Everyone is special. [Applause.] They're friends of mine. Sheldon Adelson is here someplace. … I think he only gave $125 million." [Applause.]
- "I think we ought to straighten out the PACs — right, folks? I think they should be able to give to a campaign and expose it and everything. But I think this PAC stuff — maybe we can get it straightened out, because it's a little ridiculous. [Laughter.] You have no idea. It's like the great sinkhole. You have no idea who's doing it, who's running them. I think people get very rich running PACs, but we're going to try and get that straightened out because it's crazy."
- "We're going to cut your taxes. We're going to get rid of the regulations that are strangling the economy. [Applause.] … I know the biggest businessmen and the small ones that love me and voted for me, and I love them. … Almost every single person that I ask was more excited about the regulations being cut than the taxes, which is surprising. [Applause.] So, we're going to do that."
- "Any Never Trumpers in this room? [Laughter.] No. … These people were angry. They didn't even know me. I never met them. … They're really right now on a respirator. … And we actually do have some Never Trumpers that are fantastic people. They just didn't understand me."