On March 22, 2017, TIME Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer conducted an interview with Donald Trump. Scherer grilled Trump on his outlandish remarks, and his behavior with government officials and foreign representatives. Trump’s responses were what was expected – short, incomprehensible, and sometimes catty. In a nutshell, childlike.
The interview began in a fairly straightforward manner with friendly formalities, but then took a hairpin turn to Trumpsville within the first few questions. All it took was mentioning the wiretapping and Comey’s testimony:
No, I have, look. I have articles saying it happened. But you have to take a look at what they, they just went out at a news conference. Devin Nunes had a news conference. I mean I don’t know, I was unable to see it, because I am at meetings, but they just had a news conference talking about surveillance. Now again, it is in quotes. That means surveillance and various other things. And the New York Times had a front-page story, which they actually reduced, they took it, they took it the word wiretapping out of the title, but its first story in the front page of the paper was wiretapping. And a lot of information has just been learned, and a lot of information may be learned over the next coming period of time. We will see what happens. Look. I predicted a lot of things that took a little of bit of time. Here, headline, for the front page of the New York Times, ‘Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides.’ That’s a headline. Now they then dropped that headline, I never saw this until this morning. They then dropped that headline, and they used another headline without the word wiretap, but they did mean wiretap. Wiretapped data used in inquiry. Then changed after that, they probably didn’t like it. And they changed the title. They took the wiretap word out.
Scherer went on the offense, pressing Trump for answers, and even trying to get him to recant his disputed statements about three million undocumented people who allegedly voted during the election. But, in typical Trump fashion:
Well, I think I will be proved right about that too.
Trump took it a step further by promising the formation of a committee to find illegal votes:
If you take a look at the votes, when I say that, I mean mostly they register wrong, in other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly, and/or illegally. And they then vote. You have tremendous numbers of people.
When pressed for evidence of that, Trump referred to his coming committee’s future discovery:
We’ll see after the committee. I have people say it was more than that. We will see after we have. But there will be, we are forming a committee. And we are going to do a study on it, a very serious problem.
The interview took more twists and turns as Trump responded to more questions by again confirming his paranoia over wiretapping, and even reiterating his insane conspiracy theory about the father of Senator Ted Cruz:
No, no, I like Ted Cruz, he’s a friend of mine. But that was in the newspaper. I wasn’t, I didn’t say that. I was referring to a newspaper. A Ted Cruz article referred to a newspaper story with, had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald, having breakfast.
Throughout the interview, Trump kept repeating his ability to correctly predict events as if he has never gotten anything wrong before:
When everyone said I wasn’t going to win the election, I said well I think I would. You know it is interesting, somebody came up to me and said the other day, gee whiz, the New York Times and other people, you know other groups, had you down at one percent, well, I said no I think I am going to win, and people smiled, George Stephanopoulos laughed, you remember. He thought it was very cute, and very funny. Other people smiled. And some people, the smart people or the people that know me didn’t laugh at all. There are people that know me, like Carl Icahn and many others, that didn’t laugh at all, they thought I was going to win, because they understand how I, they understand me. They get it. But you take a look and guess what, I won, and I won easily. I predicted Brexit. Remember they said there was no way to get to 270? Well I ended up at 306. I had election night, 306. But there was no way to get to, in fact I went to Maine four times, four times I went to Maine, because I had to get one vote, because there was no way to get to 270, but I ended up getting to 306. Brexit, I predicted Brexit, you remember that, the day before the event. I said, no, Brexit is going to happen, and everybody laughed, and Brexit happened. Many many things. They turn out to be right. And now today, Devin Nunes, just had a news conference.
Any interview with Trump is not complete without a quotable insult about “fake news,” noting the Wall Street Journal opinion piece on the credibility of his statements.
The country’s not buying it, it is fake media. And the Wall Street Journal is a part of it.
Trump became defensive when Scherer questioned him about hurting his credibility using anonymous sources:
Name what’s wrong! I mean, honestly.
Trump having to deal with Scherer correcting him with facts, and pointing out the flaws in his thinking throughout the interview, finished it in a very catty manner:
Hey look, in the mean time, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know. Say hello to everybody OK?
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