Senator Puts Trump on Speakerphone in Busy Restaurant

'We're going to keep the name of Robert E. Lee?' president asked Inhofe
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2020 7:53 AM CDT
Senator Puts Trump on Speakerphone in Busy Restaurant
In this June 20, 2020 photo, Sen. Jim Inhofe hugs President Trump as he arrives at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Okla.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

When Sen. James Inhofe took a call from President Trump at a restaurant in Washington, DC, on Wednesday night, the 85-year-old put the president on speakerphone so he could hear him better. But other diners at the Trattoria Alberto could hear the president as well—and one of them supplied a recording to the New York Times. During the call, Trump asked Inhofe, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, about keeping the name of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Fort Lee. "We're going to keep the name of Robert E. Lee?" Trump asked. "Just trust me, I’ll make it happen," the Republican senator told him.

"I had 95,000 positive retweets on that," Trump said, referring to a tweet in which he said Inhofe had promised bases would not be renamed. "That's a lot." Trump also slammed "cancel culture," saying "people want to be able to go back to life, not this b------." Trump and Inhofe were also heard discussing somebody's "divorces" and "all these things," as well as the possibility of him or her resigning. The next day, Inhofe announced that he was postponing a hearing on the nomination of Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata for the Pentagon's top policy job. Tata, who has a long history of inflammatory remarks, including calling former President Obama a "terrorist leader," faced strong opposition from Senate Democrats and at least one Republican, CNN reports. (More James Inhofe stories.)

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