To Fox Hosts’ Surprise, Trump Books Weekly Interviews Live On Air: Highlights From The Latest ‘Fox & Friends’ Rant

President Donald Trump speaks to the media during a news conference in the briefing room at the White House on August 31, 2020. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
September 15, 2020 12:04 p.m.

President Donald Trump used the “Fox and Friends” platform to go on a lengthy tear Tuesday morning, airing his grievances on a plethora of issues that have made headlines in recent weeks.

Overall, the interview painted a callous picture of the second-term hopeful, hitting on some of his most recent egregious offenses —  deliberately misleading the public about the coronavirus pandemic, calling fallen military troops suckers and losers and appearing to blame California for its history of wildfires.

Here are the lowlights:

Books himself a weekly appearance on the show without the show’s knowledge

“I look forward to it like the old days,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” hosts, adding that Fox News had “the best people.” The President said the interviews would likely occur on Mondays, although a taken-aback Steve Doocy later said that Fox is “not committed” to a weekly schedule. 

The President revisited his attack on the press —even though he had minutes before invited himself into weekly interview segments with a news network. (Tuesday’s was a whopping 47 minutes long.)

“You don’t get a break with them,” Trump said of the The Washington Post — a familiar scapegoat —before adding that the press broadly was “absolutely the enemy of the people,” and subjected him to “tremendous unfairness.”

He said it was thanks to his vast social media presence that he can “get around” the press. 

“I can do things that other people can’t do,” Trump bragged.

The move comes as President Trump in recent weeks has railed against Fox News as a whole, seemingly over its polling that has shown him behind 2020 rival Joe Biden in favorability. The honeymoon with Fox News has been over for some time, but the President’s attempt to reconnect with the crucial audience may be a sign of his reelection desperation.

The Woodward book was ‘very boring’

When asked if he regretted speaking 18 different times with Woodward for his book which was released Tuesday, Trump said he “assumed he was a little bit fair,” before agreeing to the interviews, before adding, that the famed investigative journalist “only writes bad books.”

“I read it very quickly and it was very boring,” Trump said.

It’s worth noting that Trump — the TV president — is known for reading as little as possible, even breaking precedent and requesting that his daily intelligence briefings be delivered orally rather than reading the daily briefing binder.

Wishing away the pandemic

Trump again defended his decision to intentionally mislead the public about the deadliness of coronavirus, saying, despite widespread criticism — as he continues to paint a rosy and inaccurate picture about the virus — that he doesn’t “want to build it up.”

“I’ll say it right now. We’re rounding the turn of the pandemic. We’re rounding the turn,” Trump told Fox News hosts. He contradicted infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci’s warnings last week that the nation needed to prepare to “hunker down” as cases of the virus are likely to increase as Americans spend more time indoors in the colder months. 

Fauci on Friday in an MSNBC interview said that the statistics were “disturbing.”

He’s still politicizing the vaccine

In spite of concerns about President Trump politicizing the vaccine approval process in order to have a vaccine delivered before the presidential elections, Trump said that he’s “not doing it for political reasons.” 

“The vaccine is going to be here very soon,” Trump said, adding: “I’m not doing it for political reasons. I want the vaccine fast.” 

The President said, without any broader explanation, that he’s managed to speed up the process with the FDA and that with Biden’s administration, the country would be waiting “for years” for a vaccine. 

Accuses Nevada governor of cheating: ‘This guy would do anything and he’s in charge of the ballots’

Trump accused Nevada’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, of leaving the Trump campaign with no choice but to hold its rally indoors on Monday.

“We had four outdoor sites maybe even five outdoor sites, and he wouldn’t allow it to happen,” Trump said.

After railing against Sisolak’s directive on limiting gatherings to 50 people or fewer he expanded his attack on the Democratic governor suggesting that Sisolak, who he falsely said is “in charge of the ballots” would “cheat.” 

“He will cheat on the ballots I have no doubt about it,” Trump said. He claimed were it not for Sisolak he would otherwise win the state, “easily.”  

“You’re going to see corruption like you’ve never seen,” Trump said. “You’re going to see a rigged election.”

The state of Nevada has long made absentee ballots accessible to voters and recently passed legislation, along party lines, to expand mail-in voting so that every registered voter in the state is mailed a ballot. Trump and the RNC as a whole have threatened legal action over the move.

Again with the ‘explosive trees’

Trump laid blame on the state of California for its history of wildfires, after making his first visit to California since the blazes began weeks ago. The rapidly spreading wildfires have killed at least 35 people and torched millions of acres, rendering residents in some areas homeless.

“You have forests all over the world. You don’t have fires like you do in California,
Trump said, citing “forest cities” in Europe which have “more explosive trees.”  

Reiterates fever swamp conspiracy theory on Biden’s mental state

When asked if he still believed that his Democratic opponent was taking drugs to enhance his performance as an orator, Trump said  “I do.”

“He’s taking something,” the President said. “He’s taking something or gives him some clarity or whatever.” 

Goes after Mattis for a variety of foreign military affair issues

When asked about an assassination plot of Syrian President Bashar al- Assad, the President flip-flopped, first saying, “I would have rather taken him out. I had him all set.”

The President then took shots at former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — who sufficiently fell out of Trump’s good graces when he issued a scathing statement opposing Trump’s now-infamous St. John’s Episcopal Church photo-op — saying that it was the “highly overrated general” who opposed the Assad assassination attempt.

Trump previously denied the existence of such an operation, telling reporters in 2018 that a plot to kill Assad was never even contemplated.” When pressed further on Tuesday about whether he regretted not taking out Assad,  Trump said: “No I don’t regret that. I could have lived either way with that.” 

While adding that he considered Assad “certainly not a good person,” Trump said that he had a shot to take him out “if I wanted,” but said that Mattis was “against it.”

“I got rid of ISIS after (Mattis) was gone,” Trump claimed, suggesting removing Mattis helped him to advance his fight on terror. “I did a great job on ISIS,” he said, even though the number of attacks began to grow again this year.

Support The TPM Journalism Fund
  • Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
  • Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: