President Trump lauded his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner as a "good boy" and boasted that the leader of the Boy Scouts told him his controversial jamboree speech was the "greatest speech that was ever made to them."
Politico posted the full transcript of Trump's July 25 interview with the Wall Street Journal, which had not been previously published.
The Journal published stories on the pertinent news from the interview, including Trump not ruling out firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and promising middle-class tax cuts.
But the transcript contained other interesting nuggets.
The interview came the day after Trump's speech before thousands of Boy Scouts in West Virginia. A top official for the Boy Scouts later apologized for the "political rhetoric" in Trump's speech.
Told by the Wall Street Journal that the response to his speech to had been "mixed," Trump became defensive.
"I'd be the first to admit mixed," Trump said. "I'm a guy that will tell you mixed. There was no mix there. That was a standing ovation from the time I walked out to the time I left, and for five minutes after I had already gone. There was no mix. And I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful."
Earlier, the president defended Kushner, who is facing scrutiny in various Russia investigations for contacts he has made with Russian officials.
"Jared's this really nice, smart guy, who'd love to see peace in the Middle East and in Israel, OK?" Trump said.
In response to a Wall Street Journal editorial commending Kushner for his transparency before testifying in front of a congressional committee, Trump said, "You did a good job. He's a good – he's a good boy."
Expanding on his tax reform plans, Trump recalled a conversation he had with Bob Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, who told the president to not "worry" about taxing rich people.
"You know, I was with Bob Kraft the other night. He came to have dinner with me. He's a friend of mine. And as he left, he said, Donald, don't worry about the rich people. Tax the rich people. You got to take care of the people in the country. It was a very interesting statement. I feel the same way," Trump said.
Trump said he had no regrets pursuing repeal and replacement of Obamacare — a Republican-only initiative — before tax reform and infrastructure because he didn't want to "waste" the potential for bipartisanship too early.
The interview came before the collapse of Senate Republicans' healthcare reform efforts.
"You know, a lot of people said you should have started with taxes, or you should have started with infrastructure," Trump said. "Well, infrastructure I'll actually have bipartisan support, and I can use infrastructure to carry other things along. So, I don't want to waste it at the beginning, if that makes sense."
Asked if he would veto a bill to sanction Russia — Trump is expected to sign it — the president wouldn't answer the question, but he took the opportunity to bash Congress.
"I will say this, Congress, if they're going to negotiate, they make the worst deals I've ever seen," Trump said.
The president also bragged about his own interactions with other countries, claiming he has "unbelievable relationships with all of the foreign leaders."
Trump also predicted Anthony Scaramucci, the White House communications director the president had just hired, would "do amazing."
Scaramucci was fired Monday, 10 days after he was hired.