Donald Trump on 'GMA': "Media Poisons the Mind of the American Voter"
The GOP presidential candidate, joined by Melania Trump and his adult children, backs up his wife's comments about people getting "hurt by social media," but then says of people he insulted on Twitter, "They probably deserved it."
Donald Trump, his wife Melania and the GOP presidential candidate's adult children joined ABC News' George Stephanopoulos for a multipart interview that aired on Thursday's Good Morning America.
During the sit-down, at the opening of Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel, he reiterated his claims about a "rigged system," criticizing media coverage of him compared to that of opponent Hillary Clinton, whom Trump insisted repeatedly is "so guilty."
He also discussed the sexual assault allegations against him and negativity on social media, in light of Melania's desire to work to combat this as first lady. Trump also reiterated that he'll decide whether to accept the election results at the time.
"I've said a million times: I'll make that decision at the right time. Don't worry about it. But we've got a rigged system," Trump told Stephanopoulos when asked if the candidate would support the 2016 election results if Clinton wins.
This "rigged system" involves "skewed" media coverage, Trump claimed, saying of how he feels he's being treated, "It's record-setting bad treatment what I'm getting. It's the greatest pile-on in American history. I go to these rallies and they're starting to hate the media because they see it's all a big lie. Not all, but a lot of it's a big lie."
Trump also said he doesn't consider the attention he's received to be "free" media coverage because it's "bad," saying news organizations should pay more attention to the WikiLeaks disclosures about Clinton. After Trump talked about her email scandal and said of Clinton, "She's so guilty, how can she even run? But there's such anger in this country over what she got away with," Stephanopoulos pointed out that an FBI director appointed by a Republican president said "no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case."
"He made a mistake, or whatever. I don't even call it a mistake. Something happened," Trump said. Stephanopoulos asked, "What?"
"Well, I think somebody talked to him," Trump said referring to former president Bill Clinton's reported meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch before circling back to his assertion that Hillary Clinton committed a crime. "There's something going on. George, George, she's so guilty. …"
Stephanopoulos later brought up the numerous allegations of sexual assault that have been leveled against Trump. He first insisted that they not "waste time" on that issue instead of talking about ISIS and jobs, but couldn't help himself from firing back at his accusers.
"These were false attacks. These things never happened. These people, I don't know these people," Trump said of his accusers. "These things never ever happened. This was out of the blue. It was made up. Probably by the Clinton campaign."
When asked if he had evidence of the Clinton campaign being behind the reports, Trump merely said, "Well, many of those stories have already been debunked."
But he backed off his statement from a few days prior that he would sue his accusers, saying, "We'll find out. Let's see what happens with the election."
Trump also had harsh words for the People magazine writer who accused him of attacking her on a 2005 trip to Mar-a-Lago. He wondered aloud why she didn't mention that in her article at the time, to which Stephanopoulos responded, "She said she was afraid."
Trump shot back, "Oh, she was afraid? Give me a break! If she was afraid to write it, she would have gotten the Pulitzer prize. Give me a break!"
He claimed the allegations were "fabricated" by women wanting "fame" or to "help Clinton."
Later, joined by his wife, Trump elaborated on his issues with media coverage and why he sees it as unfair.
"Well, I can just speak for myself, and I don't want to mention a specific act, but so often they'll mention that 'Donald Trump said this' or 'he said that.' And what I said wasn't wrong. What I said was fine," said Trump. "If a Democrat had said it, if Hillary had said it, people wouldn't have even thought about it. But I'll say something that's absolutely perfect, George, and the next day it's headlines: 'Donald Trump said this or that.' … I went to an Ivy League school. I was a good student. I'm a very smart person. I know what I'm saying. There were some instances where I could have done it a little bit differently, but most of the time I'll say something that's absolutely perfect. And I'll get a call after an interview, "Did you say...?" And they'll skew it so unfairly."
Stephanopoulos claimed people can see things for themselves and decide, but Trump disagreed. "The media poisons the mind of the American voter," he said. "It's unfair. But the thing is the American voter is really smart. I'm going to see how smart they are. I think the American voter is smarter than the media."
Melania also reiterated how, as first lady, she would to work to protect children from the damaging effects of social media.
"In this 21st century, it's very hurtful to children, to some adults as well," she said. "We need to teach them how to use it. What is right to say. What is not right to say, because it's very bad out there and children get hurt by social media and by what's going on and by negativity."
Stephanopoulos asked Melania if she gives her husband advice about Twitter, and she smiled and looked at him as she said, "Yes, I do all the time."
"You've got to use it right and she'll give me advice," Trump added. "What she's saying is true, though. I've heard so many people hurt so badly, not just children — people are hurt so badly by new social media."
Stephanopoulos then brought up the New York Times' recent compilation of all of the people Trump insulted over Twitter and he said, "That's OK. Most of them deserved it."
He continued: "I believe in fighting back. When people are against me, when they tell lies, I have the power of this instrument. You have to be careful with it."
Trump also claimed his wife — who has preferred to stay home with her son, Barron, whom she insists is her top priority — will do "two or three speeches" in the waning days of the campaign, news that seemed to catch Melania by surprise.
"She's an amazing public speaker and she's agreed to do two or three speeches," he said. "And I think it's going to be — big speeches, important speeches — and I think it's going to be great."
The couple were later joined by Trump's adult children — Eric, Don, Ivanka and Tiffany — who defended his brand amid various reports that it's struggling during the contentious election.
"I think we've got the hottest brand in the world right now," Eric said. "Buildings like this are a testament to what we do every day."
The elder Trump added, "I think the brand is hotter than it's ever been. But it doesn't matter to me. I don't care about the brand. I care about the country."
Ivanka, in particular, responded to the "Grab Your Wallet" Twitter campaign to boycott her products.
"The beauty of America is people can do what they like," she said. "But I would prefer to talk to the tens of millions of American women who are inspired by the brand and the message that I've created. My advocacy with women and trying to empower them in all aspects of their lives started long before this presidential campaign did. I've never politicized that message. People who are seeking to politicize it because they may disagree with the politics of my father, there's nothing I can do to change that."