The footage shows unrelenting prickly questions and interruptions by CBS anchor Lesley Stahl on a host of topics, including his response to the coronavirus pandemic, his alleged slipping support among suburban women, the lack of masks at his rallies, and the “Obamacare” replacement plan he has long promised but failed to unveil.
“Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS,” Trump wrote Thursday as he tweeted the Facebook link.
Throughout the interview Trump challenges Stahl that she and the mainstream media refuse to question Democrat nominee Joe Biden with similar aggression, after revelations from the laptop and hard drive of his son Hunter.
Trump accused the media of being too soft on his Democratic rival, which Stahl validated by denying that Biden is under siege over credible evidence that he knew about Hunter’s foreign deals with Ukraine and China, and even financially benefitted from them.
“He’s in the midst of a big scandal…,” Trump started.
“Oh, he is not!” Stahl interrupted.
As Stahl comments at one point that Trump is offering “attack after attack,” Trump responds: “It’s not attack, it’s defense. It’s defense against attacks.”
“I’m defending myself and I’m defending the institute of the presidency,” he said.
As Trump reminded her that Obama and Biden spied on his campaign and that the Russian collusion charges were fraudulent, Stahl tried to explain: “This is ‘60 Minutes’ and we can’t put on things we can’t verify.”
But Trump continued to criticize the mainstream media.
“Lesley, you’re discrediting yourself,” he said.
The interview began on a tense footing as Stahl asked the president as the camera started rolling, “Are you ready for some tough questions?” and only grew more testy.
At the end of the nearly 40 minutes, Trump blamed Stahl for starting the interview badly: “Are you ready for tough questions. That’s no way to talk. That’s no way to talk.”
“You’re so negative,” he later commented.
Trump eventually cut the interview short and declined to appear with Vice President Mike Pence on what had been planned as a “walk-and-talk” segment of the interview.
“That’s enough. Let’s go,” he said.
CBS News called the White House’s decision “unprecedented,” but said the interview would air Sunday as planned.
“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,” the network said in a statement.
The long-running program is filled with segments of reporters’ narratives interspersed with clips from interviews, and rarely do interviewees get more than a few minutes’ time to present their perspectives. Of the nearly 40 minutes Trump spoke, CBS is unlikely to show more than 5 to 10 minutes of the President talking.
“60 MINUTES,” it continued, “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.”
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.