Sen. Jim Inhofe had reportedly turned on speakerphone for the conversation while he was in a restaurant

By Sean Neumann
July 31, 2020 02:44 PM
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President Donald Trump (left) and Sen. Jim Inhofe
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty; Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Leaked audio of a phone call shows President Donald Trump sounding pleased with one of his tweets and annoyed with recent social upheaval during a conversation this week with Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, later published by The New York Times.

According to the Times, someone recorded parts of the talk after Inhofe had turned on speakerphone in order to hear the president better during their call while Inhofe was at a Washington, D.C., restaurant on Wednesday night.

Portions of the audio are muffled. But Trump is heard at one point knocking his social media detractors and bragging about the amount of retweets he had on a post defending military bases named after Confederate generals.

“We’re going to keep the name of Robert E. Lee?” Trump, 74, asks Inhofe, 85, according to the recording.

According to the president, Inhofe has said he will ensure the base names are not changed despite bills being passed by both houses of Congress that say otherwise.

The White House has not explained how this would be possible, given these votes.

Inhofe reiterated his promise about the Robert E. Lee base to Trump on their call Wednesday before the president began to boast of having "about 95,000 positive retweets" on a recent post, adding, "That’s a lot."

President Donald Trump
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The audio shows the president goes on to complain about those calling for the removal of statues and titles honoring soldiers who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

"A lot of it's just cancel culture," Trump says, referring to what has become a central theme of his re-election campaign.

"They want to be able to go back to life, not this b------- that everybody's...." Trump continues to say, before the audio becomes unclear with others in the room talking over the call.

The White House and Sen. Inhofe's office did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment on the recording of their call.