Former US President Donald Trump has pledged to “never drop out” of the 2024 race for the White House in his first interview since he was criminally charged in New York last week.
The Republican real estate magnate, who is facing 34 felony counts in New York over alleged hush money paid to an adult film actress, told Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson that nothing would prevent him from running – even a conviction.
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“I’d never drop out,” he said. “It’s not my thing. I wouldn’t do it.”
Trump, 76, in his first interview since being arrested and fingerprinted last week, cast doubt on whether Democratic President Joe Biden, 80, would be in the 2024 race.
“I don’t see how it’s possible,” he said.
“It’s not an age thing … I don’t think he can.
“I just don’t see Biden doing it from a physical or a mental standpoint. I don’t see it.”
Trump and other senior Republicans have repeatedly cast doubt on Biden’s mental acuity and apparent frailty.
Right-wing outlets like Fox News frequently highlight his verbal flubs and moments where he appears to have lost his train of thought.
“No I’d never drop out it’s not my thing. I wouldn’t do it,” Trump says on Fox News when asked if there’s anything that would make him drop out, specially the cloud of multiple investigations, including the NY indictment and potential for others.
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) April 12, 2023
During his interview, Trump also took the chance to describe the immense support he claimed to have experienced in the courtroom, saying that when he arrived there, “people were crying”.
“People that work there, professionally work there … they were crying. They said I’m sorry,” he told Carlson.
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Throughout his own presidency, Fox offered an uncritical forum for Trump to air his grievances, with the then-commander-in-chief sometimes calling in unannounced to shows and talking at length to presenters.
The relationship cooled after Trump’s defeat to Biden at the ballot box in 2020, but has steadily grown again as the Republican nominating contest heats up.
The interview, part two of which is expected to be broadcast on Wednesday, comes weeks after texts emerged showing Carlson speaking disparagingly about Trump after his election loss.
The messages were uncovered as part of a $1.6bn lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems against the Rupert Murdoch-run Fox News over its coverage of Trump and his allies’ unfounded claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 elections.
“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait,” says one text message from Carlson sent two days before a Trump-supporting mob – inspired by the then president’s false claims of a “stolen election” – invaded the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
“I hate him passionately,” says another.
No mention was broadcast of the texts or of other evidence produced in discovery.