In a surprise Rose Garden pop-up news conference/45-minute free-for-all, President Donald Trump begged Hillary Clinton to make another White House run in 2020, while simultaneously forecasting another ignominious electoral college defeat.

“I hope Hillary runs,” Trump beamed/knife-twisted. Speaking to her directly via TV news cameras, he added, “Hillary! Please run again!”

Clinton’s recent remark that she is in support of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem is “the reason she lost the election,” Trump said.

“When you go down and take a knee, you’re sitting, essentially, for our great national anthem, disrespecting our flag….There are a lot of reasons she did not win, including she was not good at what she did. But her statement in itself is very disrespectful to our country,” he said.

Finally breaking his silence on the October 4 ambush in Niger of four Green Berets – the deadliest military incident of Trump’s administration – he said he wrote letters to the fallen soldiers’ families over the weekend, nearly two weeks after the attack, and will be calling them at some point. He inaccurately said former President Barack Obama did not call families of fallen soldiers, but walked that back when challenged by reporters in the garden, using the same “That’s what I was told” line Trump used to use when he would inaccurately claim the Apprentice franchise still was No. 1 in Nielsen ratings, long after that ceased to be accurate.

Just a few hours after trash-talking Senate Republicans during a photo op at a morning cabinet meeting for their failure to pass Trumpcare legislation, Trump insisted he has a deep and abiding fondness for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was standing by his side in the Rose Garden presser after the two men met for lunch.

“McConnell and I have been friends for a long time. We’re probably now, despite what you read, closer than ever before,” Trump enthused.

“My goal is to keep us in the majority,” McConnell said. “The way you do that is not complicated: nominate people who get elected, because winners make policy, losers go home.”

Among many questions shouted at Trump during the wild presser, he said he will take another look at his Drug Czar nominee Rep. Tom Marino in wake of the 60 Minutes/Washington Post report out last weekend. That report suggests Marino has been the BFF of the giant drug companies that peddle opioids. Here, Trump trotted out his “he’s a good man” line, which usually signals no good in store for that person.

Trump said he would make written declaration of national emergency on opioids next week.

POTUS will also take a look at whether a visit to the DMZ that divides North and South Korea would be “provocative,” when a reporter suggested that might be considered so. Trump plans to take a swing through Asia early next month.

Cuba is responsible for the attacks on American diplomats in Havana, Trump asserted.

And, while he hasn’t budged an inch from his insistence the Russia election meddling probe is nothing more than a Democratic Party excuse for losing the election, in response to a question as to whether he is considering firing Robert Mueller, Trump shot back, “No, not at all.”