President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed that a top Democrat and vocal critic of his presidency told him that he would be “one of the great presidents in the history of our country.”
In one of several specious claims from his interview with The New York Times, Trump told reporter Maggie Haberman that Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) lavished the praise on him during a meeting last month.
From the transcript of the interview:
TRUMP: Elijah Cummings [a Democratic representative from Maryland] was in my office and he said, “You will go down as one of the great presidents in the history of our country.”
TRUMP: And then he went out and I watched him on television yesterday and I said, “Was that the same man?”
TRUMP: But I said, and I liked him, but I said that was really nice. He said, in a group of people, “You will go down as one of the great presidents in the history of our country.” And then I watched him on television and I said, “Is that the same man that said that to me?”
But Cummings, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, had a very different account of that meeting.
As it turns out, Trump was, unsurprisingly, exaggerating this conversation ― and he omitted a major “if,” according to Cummings.
“During my meeting with the president and on several occasions since then, I have said repeatedly that he could be a great president if … if … he takes steps to truly represent all Americans rather than continuing on the divisive and harmful path he is currently on,” Cummings said in a statement Thursday.
Not quite “one of the great presidents in the history of our country.”
“When we hear those words about carnage and we are living in depressed situations, I told him it was very hurtful,” Cummings said last month.