He praised China for executing drug dealers, called his administration's crime statistics lies and broke out into a near rap while predicting he'd be sued over his declaring a national emergency to get his border wall built.
Here are some of the most eye-opening moments from President Donald Trump's teleprompter-free emergency declaration announcement-turned-Rose Garden news conference:
After declaring that he was using his national emergency powers to build his wall on the southern border, Trump broke out into a singsongy rap about what he expected to happen next, which would include appeals to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled against his travel ban in 2017.
"We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit, even though it shouldn't be there, and we'll possibly get a bad ruling and then we'll get another bad ruling and then we'll end up the Supreme Court, and then hopefully we'll get a fair shake and we'll win in the Supreme Court, just like the ban. They sued us in the 9th Circuit and then we lost ... "
The president expressed his admiration for Chinese President Xi Jinping's approach to drug crimes. He recounted a conversation with Xi, where he said: "You have 1.4 billion people. What do you mean you have no drug problem. Why?" He then did an impression of Xi saying: "Death penalty. We give death penalty to people who sell drugs. End of problem."
"What do we do? We set up blue-ribbon committees, lovely men and women, they sit around a table, eat, they dine, and they waste a lot of time," Trump said.
"Their criminal list, a drug dealer gets a thing called the death penalty. Our criminal list, a drug dealer gets a thing called how about a fine," he complained. In December, Trump signed a criminal justice reform act that reduced mandatory penalties for some drug offenses.
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He said Xi was adding fentanyl to his country's "criminal list" thanks to ongoing trade negotiations. The "penalty is death. That's frankly one of the things I’m most excited about in our trade deal," Trump said.
The president said the wall was necessary to stop the flow of illegal drugs from the Mexico, saying "the big drug loads don't go through ports of entry."
He was asked later about the claim, which contradicts statistics from his own administration. A 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment by the DEA, Mexican drug cartels "transport the bulk of their drugs over the Southwest border through ports of entry (POEs) using passenger vehicles or tractor trailers."
"I get my numbers from a lot of sources, like Homeland Security, primarily. And the numbers that I have from Homeland Security are a disaster," he said.
Trump said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize for getting North Korea to stop flying "rocket ships" over Japan.
"In fact, I think I can say this, Prime Minister Abe of Japan gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize. He said: 'I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan. I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize.' I said, 'Thank you.'
"We do a lot of good work. This administration does a tremendous job and we don’t get credit for it. So Prime Minister Abe gave me — I mean it’s the most beautiful five-page letter, Nobel Prize, he sent it to them. You know why? Because he had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan, and they had alarms going off — you know that. Now all of the sudden they feel good, they feel safe. I did that."
On the benefits of the wall, Trump said: "One of the things we'd save tremendous, just a tremendous amount on, would be sending the military. If we had a wall we don’t need the military, because we'd have a wall! So I'm going to be signing a national emergency, and it’s been signed many times before."
Trump insisted conservative commentators don't decide policy for him, pushing back against reports that he shut down the government at their behest. But he went on to praise several of his favorites.
"Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do, not of me," Trump said of the Fox News personality he reportedly speaks to often. "If I changed my views, he wouldn't be with me," the president insisted.
"Rush Limbaugh, I think he is a great guy," he said. "He can speak for three hours without a phone call. Try doing that sometime. ... I mean this guy is unbelievable." He also singled out Fox personalities Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, before talking about Ann Coulter.
Coulter wrote a book called "In Trump We Trust" before turning on him for his failure to build the wall.
“Probably, if I did speak to her, she would be very nice, but I just don’t have time to speak to her,” he said. But for now, said the president who's come under fire for making Native American cracks about Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Coulter "is off the reservation."
Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.