U.S. President Donald Trump was pictured Wednesday holding a notepad scribbled with large, bold talking points that he used in response to Gordon Sondland’s testimony.
The incident was an off-beat moment that garnered online attention during an otherwise serious week of public impeachment inquiry.
“AMBAS GORDON SUNDLAND SAYS WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM UKRAINE. I KEEP HEARING ALL THESE DIFFERENT IDEAS AND THEORIES. WHAT DO YOU WANT. IT WAS A VERY SHORT, ABRUPT CONVERSATION. HE WAS NOT IN A GOOD MOOD. HE JUST SAID…I WANT NOTHING. I WANT NOTHING. I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO. TELL ZELLINSKY TO DO THE RIGHT THING. THIS IS THE FINAL WORD FROM THE PRES OF THE U.S,” read the second and first pages of notes.
Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testified Wednesday that he had worked with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine policy at the “express direction” of Trump, and that he had been told by Giuliani that Trump wanted to pressure Ukraine by withholding military aid in order to get an investigation.
Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn later that day, Trump defended against Sondland’s testimony, selectively referencing the ambassador’s comments during the hearing where he said that Trump had told him there was no quid pro quo and that he wanted nothing from Ukraine.
“That means it’s all over. This is the final word from the President of the United States. I want nothing,” said Trump, mirroring some of the sharpie notes he held in his hand.
“I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy, though.”
Trump ignored further questions from reporters as he boarded a helicopter to fly to Texas.
The notes became the topic of social media banter — with some referencing the U.S. president’s other notable uses of a Sharpie.
Trump proclaimed the possibility as fact after he was pictured with a map that was apparently altered by a Sharpie to show the storm’s projected path included Alabama during a briefing.
In a listening session following February 2018’s Parkland, Fla., high school massacre, Trump was pictured holding a note card in his hand with the words “I hear you” written on it.
The note was widely perceived to be a reminder to show empathy.
It was also reported that Trump previously sent Sharpie notes to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017, when he had ripped the cover of a Bloomberg Businessweek magazine featuring Trudeau that asked if he was “the Anti-Trump.”
According to Axios, Trump took a silver Sharpie and wrote something like “Looking good! Hope it’s not true!”and mailed the cover to Washington’s Canadian embassy, where it was initially thought of by the Canadian ambassador to be a prank.
— With files from The Associated Press, Hannah Jackson and Abigail Bimman.
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