Trump’s reasoning for the move has been that the media doesn’t represent him honestly, and he wanted to make sure the people could see the full footage and make their own judgments.
Watching back the video, it is obvious they made the right choice. Stahl came in loaded for bear and set up the interview by asking the President if he was “ready for some tough questions.” Trump responded with a shrug.
Trump:Just be fair
LS: But last time I remember you saying ‘bring it on. Bring it on’
Trump: No I’m not looking for that. I’m looking for fairness. That’s all.
LS:You’re going to get fairness. But you’re ok with tough questions?
Trump: You don’t ask Biden tough questions.
It didn’t get much better from there. Stahl began by asking about Trump’s biggest domestic priority and then interrupted him repeatedly throughout his answers, not letting him finish a thought and challenging his statements before he’d even finished answering. Stahl went on to press him about job numbers, refusing to acknowledge record job growth in the pandemic recovery and instead choosing to focus on unemployment claims. When Trump refused to be led into negativity, the 60 Minutes host delved into mask shaming, asking the President why he doesn’t make people wear masks at his rallies. When Trump pointed out that they hand out thousands of masks at every rally and many people wear them, she persisted in asking why he doesn’t force people to wear masks.
That detour was indicative of the entire interview. Stahl would ask a question, Trump would answer it (“I have encouraged people to wear masks and I say it all the time”) and then Stahl would tell Trump it isn’t true and Trump would answer again and Stahl would repeat the question. This became quite amusing towards the end when Trump complained that Stahl and her media colleagues refuse to ask Joe Biden tough questions about the current scandal involving Hunter Biden, Ukraine, Russia, and China, which Stahl continually dismissed as “unverifiable” and unimportant.
Trump: It’s incredibly important. Whether or not a man running for office is corrupt. If he’s taken money from China and Ukraine and Russia. It’s incredibly important. It’s the biggest scandal out there, Lesley. I think it’s one of the biggest scandals we’ve ever seen and you won’t cover….He’s gone into hiding. For 5 days he’s been in hiding.
LS:He’s preparing for your debate… Why are you *coming after me* about not going after Biden? You’ve asked me 5, 7 times?
She went on to ask him the same questions over and over again without a hint of irony.
On questions about topics from Obamacare to COVID response to campaign tactics, Trump continually brought the conversation back around to the corruption of the media. At one point, Stahl asked why he seems so defensive all the time.
Trump: When people put out phony witch hunts, when they spy on your campaign you have to fight back and if you don’t fight back you go home, you go back home to mommy.
LS: It’s attack attack attack
Trump: It’s not attacks. It’s defense against attacks.
LS: You’re very defensive.
It’s interesting that Stahl expressed fatigue at being asked the same questions over and over again and then accuses Trump of being defensive when he tires of the same questions over and over again.
The interview ended abruptly (but not contentiously) when producers indicated the Vice President was a few minutes from coming in for his portion of the interview and Trump indicated he was through for the day, or at least for that portion.
I think we have enough with the interview here. That’s enough.
You can see the entire thing for yourself here. It will be interesting to see the 60 Minutes cut and if they make any deceptive edits or choose to let it stand as is.