Trump randomly, elaborately defends his West Point ramp descent in Wall Street Journal interview

Trump at West Point
(Image credit: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

Remember that brief story about President Trump's slow, labored walk down a ramp at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point last weekend? Trump does. Like most mildly embarrassing moments Trump subsequently spotlights, he quickly tweeted an excuse, saying the ramp was "long and steep," and "very slippery." Trump brought it up again in an interview Thursday with Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender.

After his "very good speech, according to everybody," to West Point graduates, Trump said, the superintendent asked if he was ready to leave the stand. Trump continued:

And he led me to a ramp that was long and steep and slippery. And I said, I got a problem because I wear, you know, the leather bottom shoes. I can show them to you if you like. Same pair. And you know what I mean, they're slippery. I like them better than the rubber because they don't catch. ... So I'm going to go real easy. So I did. And then the last 10 feet I ran down. They always stop it just before I ran, they always stop it. So, I spent three hours between speeches and saluting people and they end up, all they talked about is ramp. ... If you would have seen this ramp, it was like an ice skating rink. ...The amazing thing is The Washington Post did a story. ... Rampgate has nothing to do with Trump's health. This was in The Washington Post. This was one of the great shockers of all time. ... The writer, named Henry Olsen. I said, I can't believe The Washington Post. I gained respect for The Washington Post. They said they had a picture. Look. This is steel. Steel. [President Trump to The Wall Street Journal]

Olsen, a conservative columnist, did write that while "the ramp was not wet because the weather was dry and sunny," everyone knows "a ramp can be slippery for many reasons other than being wet," like having "smooth surfaces meant to facilitate wheelchairs." And his column did have a photo of Trump's path off the stage; it shows non-slip strips every stride length along a painted ramp. Read Trump's entire interview at The Wall Street Journal.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.