On November 20 2019, as United States’ ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s testimony sent shockwaves through political and punditry circles, U.S. President Donald Trump gave a hasty press conference on his way to a flight to Austin:
President Donald Trump, departing the White House on his way to Texas to visit an Apple factory, stopped in front of reporters to defend himself amid U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s testimony Wednesday by reading from hand-written notes insisting he did not want a “quid pro quo.”
Trump began reading notes of what he says he spoke about during an early September phone call with Sondland, who was trying to figure out whether the roughly $400 million in military aid was being linked to whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy would publicly announce investigations into the Bidens and a debunked conspiracy involving Democrats and the 2016 election.
Shortly thereafter, images purportedly showing his notes appeared on social media:
— ABC News (@ABC) November 20, 2019
Woah. #Trump’s note in Sharpie & CAPS: I want nothing I want nothing I want no quid pro quo…this is the final word from the Pres of the U.S.”
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) November 20, 2019
Close-up photos of Donald Trump’s notes reiterate the president’s message to reporters today: “I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo”
— POLITICO (@politico) November 20, 2019
Not long after that came the usual hoaxes and queries about whether the hand-scrawled notes — which appear to be written in Trump’s characteristic block printing with black Sharpie — truly said what they appeared to say:
I want nothing
I want nothing
I want no quid pro quo.
Tell Zellinsky [sic] to do the right thing.
This is the final word from the Pres of the U.S.
Trump then took no questions as he boarded the Marine One helicopter.