Trump reacts angrily to claims he was ‘meandering’ at meeting with CEOs: ‘Bunch of BS’

Republican scrambles to firefight concerns over his age and mental wellbeing after turning 78

Joe Sommerlad
Wednesday 19 June 2024 12:37 BST
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Donald Trump has rejected claims that he delivered a “meandering” address to a gathering of top CEOs in Washington DC last week, citing a more supportive account of his speech on Truth Social that quotes an attendee branding the criticism a “bunch of BS”.

The GOP presidential candidate spoke to the Business Roundtable event on Thursday, the same day he met with congressional Republicans in private on Capitol Hill to rally the troops ahead of November’s election.

Discussing his appearance afterwards, New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin said on the CNBC show Squawk Box: “I spoke to a number of CEOs who I would say walked into the meeting being Trump supporter-ish, or thinking that they might be leaning that direction, who said that he was remarkably meandering, could not keep a straight thought, was all over the map, and that they – which, may be not surprising – but was interesting to me because these were people who, I think, might have been actually predisposed to him and actually walked out of the room less predisposed to him, actually predisposed to thinking... ‘This is not necessarily,’ as one person said, ‘this may not be any different or better than a Biden thought, if you’re thinking that way.’”

A clip of Sorkin offering that insight was subsequently recirculated by the official Biden-Harris HQ account on X on Friday but the right-leaning Daily Signal has since published a story questioning his assessment, which was approvingly quoted by Trump in the post on his own platform.

“There was never a moment of meandering,” the anonymous attendee quoted by the Signal said. “He was focused. In fact, he received a loud ovation at the end.

“There was not one CEO who wasn’t impressed with what they heard from Trump. Everybody was clapping.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump posted an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal on Truth Social alleging that President Joe Biden planned to raise corporation tax from 21 per cent to 28 per cent.

He commented: “Business Executives and Shareholder Representatives should be 100% behind Donald Trump! Anybody that’s not should be FIRED for incompetence!”

Former US president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump returns to Wasington DC on Thursday June 13 2024
Former US president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump returns to Wasington DC on Thursday June 13 2024 (EPA)

The former president is currently working hard to broaden his appeal to business leaders and met with Silicon Valley investors in San Francisco earlier this month, coming away with a huge $12m donation haul from a single event and thereafter preaching the gospel of cryptocurrency, doing so most recently at his latest campaign rally in Racine, Wisconsin, on Tuesday evening.

As he strives to make the case for a second term in the White House, Trump has also repeatedly made the argument that Biden is too old and cognitively impaired to be commander-in-chief at 81, drawing attention to every supposed gaffe or stiff movement the president makes.

However, the Republican turned 78 himself on Friday and continues to make high-profile mistakes of his own in his public addresses, most recently misremembering the name of his former doctor and referring to Biden as “Joe Bride” during a garbled portion of his speech in Racine, hence his hurry to shoot down any portrayal of his style as “meandering”.

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