What Trump said in CBS 60 minutes interview

In a wide-encompassing interview posted by the president prior to its scheduled broadcast, Trump lashes out at the media, his Democratic rival Joe Biden and Obamacare.

US President Donald Trump eventually cut the interview short and declined to appear with Vice President Mike Pence [Tom Brenner/Reuters]
US President Donald Trump eventually cut the interview short and declined to appear with Vice President Mike Pence [Tom Brenner/Reuters]

United States President Donald Trump has released an unedited interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes before the show’s scheduled broadcast on Sunday.

The president posted the nearly 40-minute discussion with CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl to his Facebook page on Thursday, hours ahead of the final presidential debate, with the caption: “Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS.”

The footage showed Trump growing increasingly prickly as Stahl pressed him on a host of topics, including his response to the coronavirus pandemic, his slipping support among suburban women, the lack of masks at his campaign rallies, and the Obamacare replacement plan he has long promised but failed to unveil.

CBS News, a division of ViacomCBS Inc and the network that airs 60 Minutes, blasted Trump’s “unprecedented decision” to disregard an agreement to keep the footage private, but said the move would not deter the show “from providing its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades”.

The interview, which took place on Tuesday, will air on Sunday, alongside interviews with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, his running mate Senator Kamala Harris and also Vice President Mike Pence.

Here’s a summary of what Trump said on some issues ahead of the November 3 presidential election:

On social media

Stahl asked Trump about his demeanor on social media and whether he felt responsible for deep divisions between Americans. “It’s just attack, attack, attack, attack, attack,” she said.

“It’s not attack,” Trump said. “It’s defence against attacks.”

When asked if his tweets and name-calling were turning people off, he replied: “No. I think I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have social media because the media … in my opinion is corrupt … the media is fake and frankly, if I didn’t have social media I’d have no way of getting out my voice.”

On Obamacare

The president said he hopes the Supreme Court will “end” Obamacare and that he would then replace it with a less-expensive plan “that will take care of people with pre-existing conditions”.

“It is developed. It is fully developed. It’s going to be announced very soon,” Trump said.

“And it will be much less expensive than Obamacare, which is a disaster.”

The top US court is scheduled to hear a case against the healthcare overhaul on November 10.

On Biden

Throughout the interview, Trump brought up unsubstantiated allegations against Biden’s son, Hunter, and his work overseas.

“It’s one of the biggest scandals we’ve ever seen and you’re not covering it,” Trump said, referring to an unconfirmed report in the New York Post.

“Because it can’t be verified,” Stahl said.

Trump has accused Biden and his son Hunter of unethical practices in China and Ukraine, where Hunter previously held a position at a gas company.

No evidence has been verified that supports the corruption allegations by Trump and his aides, and Biden in the first debate called them false and discredited.

Trump accused the media of being too soft on his Democratic rival.

“It’s a very important issue to find out whether or not a man’s corrupt, who’s running for president, who’s accepted money from China and from Ukraine and from Russia. I think that’s an important issue,” he said, without providing evidence.

 

On COVID-19

Trump again blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic.

He said on the tape that the country has “turned a corner” in its battle with the pandemic and that he believes masks are an effective tool to prevent transmission.

He also said Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, “has been wrong a lot”.

“Dr. Fauci said ‘don’t wear masks’, then he said ‘wear them’. I feel masks possibly work, but certainly, you want to stay away, socially distance … I have nothing against masks.”

When asked about the gatherings at his campaign rallies with many of his supporters seen not wearing masks, Trump said: “We hand out masks to everybody that comes to the rallies. We tell them to wear them.”

Source : Al Jazeera and News agencies

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