With Donald Trump telling over 6,400 false or misleading claims over the course of his presidency, it’s simply unproductive to believe anything that comes out of his mouth. I don’t even think many of his supporters find much of what Trump says credible these days.
On Friday, Trump sat down with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace for a pre-recorded interview that aired today. Between the consistent lies, repeated “fake news” mantra, and ceaseless self-adulation, one could be forgiven for having changed the channel.
Trump couldn’t even make it five words into his first answer without blaming “fake news” for accurately reporting the president’s anger over the outcome of this month’s midterm elections, which saw Democrats pick up at least 37 seats in the House.
“I’m extremely upbeat,” Trump claimed. “The White House is running like a well-oiled machine. It’s doing really well. I have great people.”
And despite the national embarrassment over Trump’s recent visit to France, where the president skipped a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial due to a little rain, and was called out by French President Emmanuel Macron over his dangerous nationalist ideology, Trump insisted that, “I did well in France.” He blamed his skipping of the cemetery visit on the Secret Service. Of course.
In response to the next question, regarding first lady Melania Trump publicly getting one of her husband’s advisers fired, Trump said that he both “didn’t know her [deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel] very well,” and that, “she was with me for a long time.” Well, which is it?
On acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, a known critic of the Mueller investigation that he now oversees, Trump outrageously claimed that he had no idea Whitaker “took views on the Mueller investigation as such.” He also asserted that those critical views of the investigation had no effect on Trump’s decision to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Whitaker. This is the point in the interview at which most rational human beings would turn the TV off, because it’s simply not credible. At all.
“What do you do when a person’s right?” Trump asked, referring to Whitaker. “There is no collusion. He happened to be right.” Trump later attacked law enforcement officials, as he often does, and called the investigation of his ties to Russian hacking and possible obstruction of justice a “witch hunt” and a “scam.”
For months, Trump has promised that he would sit down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying last January that he was “looking forward to” it. As The Washington Post observed in July, “Initially, the interview was supposed to happen in January. Then a decision on the interview was expected in May. Then it was pushed to June. Then July.” Now, Trump admitted that this interview would not happen, like ever, and he also won’t be submitting written answers to Mueller on the issue of obstruction of justice. At least that particular Trump con seems to be coming to an end.
“I think we’ve wasted enough time on this witch hunt,” Trump said.
Wallace then asked the president if he’d listened to the audio recording of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing. Trump said no. “We have the tape. I don’t want to hear the tape. No reason for me to hear the tape…because it’s a suffering tape. Terrible tape. I’ve been fully briefed on it. There’s no reason for me to hear it.”
“Did MBS [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] lie to you, sir?” Wallace asked.
“I don’t know,” Trump responded. “You know, who can really know?” (Hint: the CIA.) “But I can say this: He’s got many people now that say he had no knowledge…He told me that he had nothing to do with it…Will anybody really know?” Aw shucks, I wonder. Guess we’ll just move on.
The rest of the interview was more of the same, with Trump claiming in one answer that he wasn’t responsible for the Republican routing in the House, yet somehow he was responsible for GOP gains in the Senate. “Nobody talks about that,” Trump said.
The commander in chief also criticized retired Navy Adm. Bill McRaven, who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, labeling him a “Hillary Clinton fan” and asking, “Wouldn’t it have been nice if we had gotten Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that?”
Perhaps the best part of this brain-dead interview was when Wallace asked Trump to rank himself among past presidents. “Do you make the top 10?” he asked.
Although Trump wouldn’t directly answer the question, he did grade himself: “I would give myself—look, I hate to do it, but I will do it—I would give myself an A+. Is that enough? Can I go higher than that?”
No, Donald, you can’t get any higher than that.