Trump Defends Claims in Time Interview: "I'm President and You're Not"
The cover-story headline reads: "Is Truth Dead?"
President Donald Trump gave a wide-ranging interview to Time magazine in an attempt to separate the truth from his falsehoods, and the lengthy conversation can be summarized in Trump's final comment.
"I can't be doing so badly, because I'm president and you're not," Trump told Washington bureau chief Michael Scherer in an interview for the cover story, which was published Thursday with the headline "Is Truth Dead?"
"Like many newsrooms, we at Time have wrestled with when to say someone is lying," wrote Nancy Gibbs in an editor's letter. "We can point out, as we often do, when a president gets his facts wrong. We can measure distortions, read between lines, ask the follow-up question. But there's a limit to what we can deduce about motive or intent. … For Donald Trump, shamelessness is not just a strength, it's a strategy."
She continued, "As citizens, it is vital that we be able to believe our president; it is also vital that we know what he believes, and why. This president has made both a severe challenge."
The cover-story topics ranged from Trump's wiretapping accusations against Obama to his claims of election voter fraud. Here are some takeaways of Trump's quotes.
Trump stands by his wiretapping claim.
Despite FBI Director James Comey's testimony, Trump stands by his tweets that claimed former President Barack Obama ordered his phones to be tapped during the campaign.
Now remember this. When I said wiretapping, it was in quotes. Because a wiretapping is, you know today it is different than wiretapping. It is just a good description. But wiretapping was in quotes. What I'm talking about is surveillance.
He says he's predicted everything, from his election win to Brexit.
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said Wednesday that members of Trump's transition team and possibly Trump himself may have been under inadvertent surveillance following the 2016 presidential election. Trump cited this development as proof that he will be proved right about his wiretapping claim.
I predicted a lot of things, Michael. Some things that came to you a little bit later. But, you know, we just rolled out a list. Sweden. I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems. Huma [Abedin] and Anthony [Weiner], you know, what I tweeted about that whole deal, and then it turned out he had it, all of Hillary's email on his thing. NATO, obsolete, because it doesn't cover terrorism. They fixed that, and I said that the allies must pay. Nobody knew that they weren't paying. I did. I figured it. Brexit, I was totally right about that. You were over there, I think, when I predicted that, right, the day before. Brussels, I said, Brussels is not Brussels. I mean many other things, the election's rigged against Bernie Sanders. We have a lot of things … When everyone said I wasn't going to win the election, I said well I think I would ... Brexit, I predicted Brexit, you remember that, the day before the event. I said, no, Brexit is going to happen, and everybody laughed, and Brexit happened. Many many things.
He repeats things after reading them in newspapers and seeing them on TV.
Trump said he repeated the unproven claim that Ted Cruz's father was with Lee Harvey Oswald months before President John F. Kennedy's assassination because he read it in the National Enquirer. When Scherer pushed back, saying that presidents traditionally only say something if they can verify its accuracy, Trump said, "I'm quoting highly respected people and sources from major television networks."
Well that was in a newspaper. No, no, I like Ted Cruz, he's a friend of mine. But that was in the newspaper. I wasn't, I didn't say that. I was referring to a newspaper. A Ted Cruz article referred to a newspaper story with, had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald, having breakfast.
Why do you say that I have to apologize? I'm just quoting the newspaper, just like I quoted the judge the other day, Judge Napolitano, I quoted Judge Napolitano, just like I quoted Bret Baier, I mean Bret Baier mentioned the word wiretap. Now he can now deny it, or whatever he is doing, you know. But I watched Bret Baier, and he used that term. I have a lot of respect for Judge Napolitano, and he said that three sources have told him things that would make me right. I don't know where he has gone with it since then. But I'm quoting highly respected people from highly respected television networks.
Trump credits his instincts for many things he says.
Scherer pushed him on many of his unproven claims — from Sweden to NATO and election rigging and voter fraud — but the Q&A circled back to where it began.
I'm a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right ... Hey look, in the mean time, I guess, I can't be doing so badly, because I'm president, and you're not. You know. Say hello to everybody OK?
Read the full transcript here.