Rejecting Critics, Trump Brags of Ivy League Credentials and “Great Memories of All Time”

“I’m a very intelligent person.”

President Donald Trump continued to defend himself from the ongoing controversy over his phone call to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, telling reporters in an impromptu press conference on Wednesday that he was “really nice to her.” He explained that not only was he equipped with a chart listing Johnson’s name, but relied on his own  memory—”one of the great memories of all time”—as evidence that he did not botch the phone call as Johnson’s family has repeatedly claimed.

“I respect her, I respect her family, I certainly respect La David—who by the way I called ‘La David’ right from the beginning,” he said outside the White House. “Just so you understand, they put a chart in front—La David, says La David Johnson.”

“No hesitation,” he added. “One of the great memories of all time.”

Earlier this week, Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, confirmed a congresswoman’s account that Trump did not remember Johnson’s name when he called to offer his condolences. She also confirmed his controversial remarks that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

On Wednesday, Trump also blamed the media for unfairly painting him as an “uncivil” president. 

“People don’t understand: I went to an Ivy League school,” he said. “I was a nice student. I did very well. I’m a very intelligent person.”

The press conference follows Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)’s surprise announcement the day before that he would not seek another term. In a blistering speech from the Senate floor, Flake pointedly denounced the president for his “daily sundering of the country” and disregard for the truth.