Former President Donald Trump hung up on a clearly hostile interviewer from NPR on Tuesday.
Trump was scheduled to speak to Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep for 15 minutes, but it was reduced to about nine.
For six years, Trump had wisely declined to be interviewed by the station.
The interview began in pretty standard form, with the pair discussing vaccines and the pandemic.
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“The mandate is really hurting our country,” Trump said. “A lot of Americans aren’t standing for it, and it’s hurting our country.”
Trump continued, “The vaccines, I recommend taking them, but I think that has to be an individual choice. I mean, it’s got to be individual, but I recommend taking them.”
In a fear-mongering article accompanying the release of the interview, NPR wrote “to secure his power, he will do whatever he can to cast aside those who don’t show fealty. That includes threats, bullying and intimidation, like badgering and name-calling.” This tone was present in the phone interview, as well.
“Why is it that you think that the vast majority of your allies in the United States Senate are not standing behind you?” Inskeep asked.
“Because Mitch McConnell is a loser,” Trump said. “And frankly, Mitch McConnell, if he were on the other side and if Schumer were put in his position, he would have been fighting this like you’ve never seen before. He would have been fighting this, because when you look at it, and this is long – is a long way from over.”
Just before the nine minute mark, the call escalated.
Here is the transcript from that portion:
TRUMP: “Let me ask you this question. How come Biden couldn’t attract 20 people for a crowd? How come when he went to speak in different locations, nobody came to watch, but all of a sudden, he got 80 million votes? Nobody believes that, Steve. Nobody believes that.”
INSKEEP: “If you’ll forgive me, maybe because the election was about you. If I can just move on to ask, are you telling Republicans in 2022 that they must press your case on the past election in order to get your endorsement? Is that an absolute?”
TRUMP: “They are going to do whatever they want to do – whatever they have to do, they’re going to do. But the ones that are smart – the ones that know, you take a look at, again. You take a look at how Kari Lake is doing, running for governor. She’s very big on this issue. She’s leading by a lot. People have no idea how big this issue is, and they don’t want it to happen again. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen, and they don’t want it to happen again.”
INSKEEP: “I want to –”
TRUMP: “And the only way it’s not going to happen again is you have to solve the problem of the presidential rigged election of 2020.”
INSKEEP: “Mr. President, if I —”
TRUMP: “So Steve, thank you very much. I appreciate it.”
INSKEEP: “Woah, woah, woah, I have one more question. I want to ask about a court hearing yesterday on Jan. 6. Judge Amit Mehta. He’s gone. OK.”