Five things we learned from Donald Trump’s Christmas holiday

Five things we learned from Donald Trump's Christmas holiday

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The president meeting firefighters in Florida on Wednesday

1. The president is in confident mood

Before flying to Florida, Congress approved a bill that Mr Trump called “the largest tax cut in the history of our country”.

On Thursday, he tweeted a poll that suggested his approval rating was improving.

And, on the same day, he gave an impromptu, 30-minute interview to Michael Schmidt from the New York Times.

The interview took place in a golf club dining room, after Mr Trump played a round with his son, Eric, and professional golfer Jim Herman.

According to Mr Schmidt – who was in Florida to cover the trip – the president was talking about the tax bill when he agreed to the interview.

“He’s very proud of the bill,” the journalist said.

Mr Schmidt said a lot of club members spoke to the president in the dining room. “I think he enjoys that sort of banter, saying hi to the members, and shaking hands,” he said.

In the interview, Mr Trump said the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the US election will be “fair”.

He said Republican politicians “love him”, claimed he “saved coal”, and boasted that he knows more about health care and taxes than “any president that’s ever been in office”.

He’s also sure he’ll win the next election.

“We’re going to win another four years for a lot of reasons, most importantly because our country is starting to do well again,” he said.

2. But losing the popular vote still smarts

Soon after the New York Times interview began, the president turned the conversation to the 2016 election.

Despite winning the electoral college, Mr Trump received almost three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton

“I won because I campaigned properly and she didn’t,” he said.

“She campaigned for the popular vote. I campaigned for the electoral college.”

Mr Trump compared his campaign to athletic training.

“If you’re going to run the 100-yard dash, you work out differently than if you’re going to run the 1,000 metres or the mile,” he said.

He said the system meant he went to Maine – one of the least populated states – five times.

“Otherwise, I would have gone to New York, California, Texas and Florida,” he claimed.

3. He’s ready to do deals in 2018

On Friday, Mr Trump tweeted about a deal he’s prepared to make with Democrats.

If they support a wall on the Mexican border – and migration reform – he could negotiate on DACA, an Obama-era scheme that protects migrants who entered the US illegally as children.

Mr Trump also spoke about deal-making in his New York Times interview.

“We can do bipartisan health care,” he said in the golf club. “We can do bipartisan infrastructure. And we can do bipartisan DACA.”

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A Donald Trump supporter in Florida this week

But – when it comes to his informal “deal” with China – Mr Trump hinted that his patience was wearing thin.

“China on trade has ripped off this country more than any other element of the world in history has ripped off anything,” he said.

“But I can be different if they’re helping us with North Korea. If they don’t help us with North Korea, then I do what I’ve always said I want to do.”

The US has a large trade deficit with China. In the past, Mr Trump has suggested protectionist measures – such as higher tariffs on Chinese imports.

4. He once gave a golfer $50,000

Jim Herman – the professional golfer who played with Mr Trump in Florida this week – once worked at Mr Trump’s course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

In around 2007, Mr Trump encouraged Herman to try to make the PGA Tour (effectively golf’s Premier League).

Mr Trump told the New York Times he gave Herman $50,000 to help him qualify – with the golfer saying he had since earned $3m on the tour.

“Which to him is like making a billion because he doesn’t spend anything,” Mr Trump said. “Ain’t that a great story?”

5. But his own game is suffering

After speaking to Michael Schmidt, the president proudly pointed out a plaque on the golf club wall.

The plaque records “several” victories by Mr Trump at the course’s annual tournament.

However, when asked how far he drove the ball, the 71-year-old was modest.

“Gets shorter every year,” he replied.

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