President Trump on Thursday posted his full interview with "60 Minutes" ahead of its scheduled air time in an apparent attempt to undercut the news program after he walked out on the interview, bristling at questioning from journalist Lesley Stahl.
The president posted the nearly 40-minute sit-down to his Facebook page with the caption: "Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS."
"Tonight’s anchor, Kristen Welker, is far worse!" Trump added, referencing the NBC News anchor who will moderate the presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn.
Trump abruptly ended the interview with Stahl before a scheduled walk-and-talk with the president and Vice President Pence.
During the interview, he bemoans that Stahl opened the interview by asking if he was ready for "tough questions," calling it "no way to talk." He complains repeatedly that Stahl did not ask tough questions to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, to which Stahl responds that she did not interview Biden. Trump corrects himself to say "the interview" with Biden.
"I think we have enough. We have enough," Trump says in the clip, moving to end the interview.
"I think we’re ready for the vice president now," a production assistant says off camera.
"OK, that’s enough. Let’s go," Trump says.
CBS News said earlier this week that the White House agreed that they would tape the interview “for archival purposes only.”
“The White House’s unprecedented decision to disregard their agreement with CBS News and release their footage will not deter 60 MINUTES from providing its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades,” CBS News said in a statement after Trump posted the interview.
“60 MINUTES, the most-watched news program on television, is widely respected for bringing its hallmark fairness, deep reporting and informative context to viewers each week. Few journalists have the presidential interview experience Lesley Stahl has delivered over her decades as one of the premier correspondents in America and we look forward to audiences seeing her third interview with President Trump and subsequent interview with Vice President Pence this weekend,” the statement read.
The interview will air Sunday alongside another with Biden, who was interviewed by correspondent Norah O’Donnell earlier this week.
The interview is combative throughout, with Stahl often interjecting to point out basic facts and question Trump on some of his claims and rhetoric.
“We can’t put on things we can’t verify,” Stahl tells the president after he repeats his unproven claim that the Obama administration spied on his campaign.
Trump at multiple points claims that Stahl has “discredited herself” by not covering allegations in the New York Post about Hunter Biden’s business dealings after Stahl said “60 Minutes” could not verify them.
Stahl repeatedly tells Trump that his allegations that Hunter Biden influenced his father have been discredited by Republican-led Senate committees, and she pushes him on his insistence that his administration has a health care plan ready to release despite its refusal to release any details on such a plan.
At the beginning of the interview, Stahl focuses on the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus and the rising cases in the United States, asking him to acknowledge the increase.
“I think we have done a great job with COVID,” Trump says.
“Sir, excuse me. Cases are up in about 40 states,” Stahl replies.
Trump acknowledges the increase in cases but attributes them only to an increase in testing, a claim that public health experts have said is misleading.
“Because we do so much testing, the fake news media loves to say, cases are up. The fact is we have done a very good job,” Trump says.
The president also continued to insist that the U.S. is turning the corner on the virus, a claim that is out of step with his top health officials’ warnings about the risk of a resurgence.
“We have turned the corner. We understand the disease. We understand the elderly and we are taking care of them,” Trump says.
At one point, Trump grows agitated with Stahl’s characterization of his recent plea to suburban women to “please like me” at a campaign rally. Trump insists angrily that he made the remark in jest.
“You said the other day to suburban women, 'Will you please like me?'” Stahl says in a pleading voice.
“Oh I didn’t say that. You know, that is so misleading the way you said it. I say jokingly, suburban women you should love me because I’m giving you security and I got rid of the worst regulation,” Trump says.
“See, the way you said that is why people think of you and everyone else as fake news," Trump continues. “I said that in a joking way. The way you have it is like I’m begging.”
Trump's grievances with the media have intensified down the stretch of the presidential campaign.
He has targeted Fox News anchor Chris Wallace over his moderation of the first debate with Biden; he lashed out at C-SPAN anchor Steve Scully before he was set to moderate the second debate, which was ultimately canceled; and he decried NBC's Savannah Guthrie's handling of a town hall event last week held in Florida.