Trump tells GOP retreat he’s ready for Mount Rushmore


President Trump appeared to be in a jovial mood at a GOP retreat in West Virginia on Thursday, boasting about how his administration has “fulfilled far more promises than we’ve promised.” And without quite saying so himself, he claimed Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, once told him that he is “the greatest president in the history of our country.”

“And I said, ‘Does that include Lincoln and Washington?’” Trump recalled. “And he said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘I love this guy.’

President Trump pauses while speaking at the 2018 House and Senate Republican Member Conference at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018.

A spokesman for Hatch told a reporter for the Guardian newspaper that the senator has said Trump “can be” the greatest president ever to hold the office, but never said he “is” the greatest ever.

Trump’s remarks at the annual gathering of Republican members of Congress at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V., came a day after the train taking lawmakers there hit a dump truck, killing the driver of the vehicle.

The president extended prayers to those affected by the train accident before launching into a freewheeling speech that elaborated on the themes of Tuesday’s State of the Union address — with Trump veering off the script numerous times during his 35-minute talk.

Trump boasted about the accomplishments of his administration’s first year.

“That was one of the greatest years in the history of politics,” Trump said. “We had a year that was unlike, I think, any.”

Trump then lauded himself for what he said were campaign promises kept, including the passage of tax reform, the repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate and the lifting of a ban on drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or “ANWR.” The latter two were provisions included in the GOP tax bill.

“We’ve fulfilled far more promises than we’ve promised,” the president said. “I call it promises plus.”

Trump called for the creation of more vocational schools to supplement the economy with skilled workers, but seemed to mix them up with community colleges.

“When I was growing up, we had vocational schools,” the president recalled. “I remember I was in high school, and there were people in class, I remember one person in particular, he wasn’t, like, the greatest student. He just wasn’t. And I saw him one day and he was able to fix a car blindfolded.

“I think the word ‘vocational’ is a much better word than, in many cases, a community college,” he continued. “A lot of people don’t know what a community college means or represents.”