The President leaked his interview, which lasted less than 60 minutes, to point out the "bias and hatred" he was subjected to.
Many a US president has been on CBS' 60 Minutes, but none of them probably insulted the host on social media and then continued to use the footage for his benefit. Ahead of the final presidential debate, Donald Trump sat down with Lesley Stahl but left the conversation mid-way. Unlike the segment's moniker, the interview was shorter than the promised 60 minutes.
During the interview, Trump was asked about his handling of the pandemic and he said that the country has "turned a corner" in its fight with the disease even though the number of cases keeps increasing. The president, who tested positive for COVID19 and had to be hospitalized for treatment, said that masks are important to stop the spread. He also criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, and said that he "has been wrong a lot".
"Dr. Fauci said 'don’t wear masks', then he said 'wear them'. I feel masks possibly work, but certainly, you want to stay away, socially distance … I have nothing against masks," he added, as per Al Jazeera.
Trump also waded into controversy by sharing the unedited footage from the interview, which was meant to be for archival purposes only. "Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS. #MAGA," Trump said while posting it on Facebook. He is seen to be increasingly annoyed as Stahl questions him about difficult topics like the lack of masks at his campaign rallies and decreasing support from suburban women.
CBS News, which airs 60 Minutes, criticized the president for his "unprecedented decision" to go back on the agreement to keep the footage private. They said they would still provide "its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades."
Pres. Trump tells @60Minutes’ Lesley Stahl that, if elected to a second term, he wants to see the Supreme Court strike down Obamacare.— Norah O'Donnell 🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) October 22, 2020
“I think it’ll end. I hope that they end it,” Pres. Trump says. “It’ll be so good if they end it, because we will come up with a plan.” pic.twitter.com/HyB9yatrKV
The former judge of The Apprentice called Stahl "negative" and biased for questioning him and abruptly cut the interview short, as per The New York Times. Saying that she was not being "fair", the president complained about her questioning on the economy and the continuing rise of coronavirus cases across the country. "You brought up a lot of questions that were inappropriately brought up, right from the beginning," Trump said. "Don’t you think you should be accountable to the American people?" Stahl replied.
He posted the video before his final presidential debate with the Democrat candidate Joe Biden on October 22, who was the vice president during Barack Obama's presidential term. The president, who is active on social media, also fielded inquiries about his social media strategy, and if it was creating a divide between the people.
WATCH: President Trump was asked by @LesleyRStahl about his priorities — before cutting his interview short.@60Minutes has a history of asking tough questions of presidential candidates during the run-up to the election.— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) October 22, 2020
More Sunday on @CBS. pic.twitter.com/ZWxP1B7GvO
"It’s just attack, attack, attack, attack, attack," said Stahl. "It’s not attack," Trump said. "It’s defence against attacks." He was asked if he thought people were turned off by his tweets. He responded, "No. I think I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have social media because the media … in my opinion is corrupt … the media is fake and frankly, if I didn’t have social media I’d have no way of getting out my voice."
Stahl, a veteran journalist, had interviewed Trump twice before and yet, instead of answering her questions, he abruptly left. He told his aides, "That’s enough. Let’s go. Let’s go." Soon after his exit, Stahl asked Vice President Mike Pence, "So what just happened with the president?" He responds saying, "Lesley, uh, President Trump is a man who speaks his mind," Pence replied. "I think it’s one of the great strengths that he’s had as president," he added.
Mike Pence Challenged By Leslie Stahl After Trump Bailed, 'You've Insulted '60 Minutes'' https://t.co/rN3oWgAdcL— TMZ (@TMZ) October 22, 2020
Even the conversation with Pence turns tense as he evades questions by the interviewer. "This was not a rally, this was not just a campaign speech to the public — this was supposed to be an interview, and the same with the president," Stahl said. "And I feel that you both have insulted 60 Minutes and me by not answering any of our questions," she said.