President Donald Trump followed through on his threat to release unaired footage of his interview with “60 Minutes,” just two days after he abruptly cut the appearance short and began criticising Lesley Stahl, the popular news program’s host, on social media.
“Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS,” read a caption beneath his video posted on Facebook Thursday.
Trump, who has a noticeably raspy voice throughout the video, appears to grow frustrated during the interview with Stahl’s line of questioning as they discuss rising COVID-19 case numbers, unemployment claims, and his hopes that the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act, despite the ongoing pandemic.
Trump tells Stahl that his health care plan is “fully developed” and will be announced “very soon.”
He also says he hopes the Supreme Court ends the Affordable Care Act. “I hope that they end it. It will be so good if they end it. Because we will come up with a plan,” Trump says.
“Will,” Stahl highlights in response.
“Yeah, we will. We have large sections of it already done. And we’ve already come up with plans,” Trump says, without going into detail about what his administration’s changes to the health care law might be.
Trump also boasted that the country is “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus pandemic, despite cases rising across the country.
“We’re doing well. We understand the disease. I saved millions of people,” he says while blaming the rising case number on an increase in testing.
“You’re so negative, you’re so negative,” he says at another point, after Stahl questions him about his political rallies and participants’ adherence to mask guidelines. “You just come in here with this negative attitude. These are the biggest rallies we’ve ever had.”
Trump earlier this month was diagnosed with COVID-19 and hospitalised. He has said that he has fully recovered. First lady Melania Trump, who also tested positive for the virus, canceled a campaign trip this week because of a lingering cough, her chief of staff said.
Trump spent more than 45 minutes with Stahl but then refused to participate in a “walk and talk” segment that would have also included Vice President Mike Pence, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The video ends with Trump criticising Stahl and her handling of their interview before getting up to leave.
“You brought up a lot of subjects that were inappropriately brought up, they were inappropriately brought up right from the beginning,” he says before claiming that she had said their interview would be “lovely.”
“You’re president, shouldn’t you be held accountable to the American people?” she argues.
The footage does not appear to have been edited from its start to finish.
CBS News, in a statement to HuffPost, said the White House’s decision to release the footage, which violates a prior agreement, “will not deter 60 MINUTES from providing its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades.” The interview is scheduled to air on Sunday.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, are also expected to be featured in the “60 Minutes” episode.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump, who has a long history of undercutting media coverage he deems “fake news” or “unfair,” said he planned to release the footage “for the sake of accuracy in reporting.”
“This will be done so that everybody can get a glimpse of what a FAKE and BIASED interview is all about,” the president wrote. “Everyone should compare this terrible Electoral Intrusion with the recent interviews of Sleepy Joe Biden!”
He also shared a short clip of Stahl at the White House without a mask on, complaining that she was “not wearing a mask in the White House after her interview with me.” Citing people familiar with the interview, the Times said that Stahl had worn a mask up until the start of taping and only took it off as the recording began.
Trump has continually undercut the use of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, mocking those who wear them and removing his own mask after he tested positive for the deadly coronavirus and spent three days in the hospital. Stahl herself was also infected with the virus earlier this year and hospitalised. She has since recovered.