President Donald Trump regularly references supposed conversations he has with friends and acquaintances to illustrate his points at rallies. Probably the most infamous example is his supposed friend Jim, who no longer visits Paris yearly like he once did because “Paris is no longer Paris.” Recently he started telling a story about a conversation with a Jewish friend, except the Jewish friend in question keeps changing. The Washington Post points out that in recent weeks Trump has told a nearly identical anecdote that serves to celebrate his termination of the Iran nuclear deal at least four times. And each time the person who he refers to is different, including one time when he told the same story twice on the same day.
The first time the story seems to have been told was in September, when Trump was much more general and referred to having a conversation with “people,” without naming anyone in particular. “I said to people, what is more important, the Golan Heights or the capital of Jerusalem by moving our embassy there,” Trump said. “He said, neither sir, what you’ve done in Iran is more important,” the president added, seemingly changing his “people” to a man in one breath.
Then the story reappeared on Dec. 7, and this time Trump claimed he had that conversation with Republican financier Sheldon Adelson. “I said to Sheldon, ‘What do you think was bigger? … Israel and the embassy going in, and it became Jerusalem, the capital of Israel? Or the Golan Heights?’ He said, ‘Neither.’ ”
A few days later, Dec. 11, the story got double billing as Trump told it at two White House Hanukkah receptions. First up was New Englands Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “I said, ‘Bob Kraft, which is bigger? Which is more important to the Jewish people?’ He said, ‘Neither.’ I said, ‘What does that mean?’ He said, ‘What you did by terminating the Iran nuclear deal is bigger than both.’ I think that’s true,” Trump said. Four hours later, the commander in chief repeated the same story but this time starring real estate developer Charles Kushner. “I said, ‘Charlie, let me ask you, what’s bigger for the Jewish people: giving the embassy to Jerusalem, it becomes the capital of Israel. What’s bigger? That or the Golan Heights?’ He said, ‘Neither.’ I said, ‘What does that mean?’ He said, ‘The biggest thing of all is what you did by ending the Iran nuclear catastrophe’,” Trump said. He got lots of applause.