CNN reports that President Donald Trump “abruptly ended” an interview that he was sitting for with CBS’s 60 Minutes on Tuesday, and he did not show up for a follow-up joint interview for the same program that he been slated to participate in alongside Vice President Mike Pence. According to CNN, when Trump suddenly abandoned the interview, he “told the network he believed they had enough material to use.” The interview was with reporter Lesley Stahl, who Trump actually derided on Twitter on Tuesday. He posted a brief clip of Stahl without a mask on while on the White House grounds on Tuesday — which is rich coming from the guy who’s held a nationwide slew of packed and mostly maskless rallies recently.
Biden and Harris were also interviewed by 60 Minutes & all are scheduled to appear in the same program. While Biden and Harris taped their interviews separately, Trump and Pence were scheduled to appear on camera together. They ultimately did not and Pence taped his separately.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 20, 2020
It’s not immediately clear if there is a specific point of contention that sparked Trump’s decision to abruptly abandon his interview with Stahl. He eventually posted some wordy angry tweets about the interview, which he called, melodramatically enough, “terrible Electoral Intrusion,” as if there’s some kind of media plot to take down his candidacy via… asking him questions.
…Everyone should compare this terrible Electoral Intrusion with the recent interviews of Sleepy Joe Biden!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2020
Trump certainly maintains a rather antagonistic relationship with members of the press in general. He has repeatedly referred to the majority of mainstream journalists as the “enemy of the people,” which is disturbingly dictatorial language. Recently, he has even frequently complained about the traditionally quite conservative Fox News. The president’s claims that there is some kind of conspiracy among journalists to make up “fake news” about him are, of course, entirely incorrect and utterly disconnected from reality.
President Trump sat down with Lesley Stahl for about 45 minutes Tuesday before he abruptly ended the interview and told the network he believed they had enough material to use, two sources tell @abdallahcnn & @kaitlancollins https://t.co/v2nRHccDMN
— Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) October 20, 2020
CNN notes that Stahl interviewed Trump in 2018, and at the time, the journalist “challenged Trump on his views of climate change and Russian election interference.” The publication also notes that Stahl has previously revealed that during his original 2016 presidential campaign, Trump privately admitted to her that his incessant attacks on the press were specifically meant to lay the groundwork for discrediting potential future stories that could shine a negative spotlight on him. The admission mirrors a more recent admission that Trump made to journalist Bob Woodward, who he told on tape in early 2020 that he had been intentionally downplaying the severity of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In this context, Stahl’s interview with Trump is scheduled to air as part of this upcoming Sunday’s edition of 60 Minutes, which will also feature interviews with Democratic nominees Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Pence ended up taping a solo interview for the show.
Yes, Fauci has been on lots of shows and podcasts and webcasts. But at key points he has been RESTRICTED from appearing on TV. Indefensible conduct by the Trump WH. Imagine how anyone will try to justify it in 10 or 20 years… https://t.co/hemAm9S5ej
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 19, 2020
60 Minutes recently featured an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, who has helped lead the federal government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. During his time on the show, Fauci admitted that the Trump administration has sometimes shot down requests from media outlets for comment from him. Restricting a purveyor of potentially life-saving information from sharing that information with the public at every possible opportunity amidst a pandemic seems like an unconscionable act on the Trump administration’s part.
Yesterday, @realDonaldTrump decided to attack Dr. Fauci once again, calling him a ‘disaster’ and public health experts ‘idiots.’ Meanwhile, he still has no plan to beat this virus.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 20, 2020
Trump has complained about Fauci repeatedly recently. During a campaign call on Monday, he complained that people are supposedly “tired” of hearing about the pandemic from “Fauci and all these idiots.” Trump sounds unhinged — Fauci and his colleagues aren’t making up the crisis. Millions of Americans have been infected, and over 220,000 have died due to the pandemic — and Trump suggests that it’s only “idiots” who are publicly concerned with focusing on the crisis.
On call with campaign staff, President Trump says people are tired of hearing about coronavirus. "People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots…Fauci is a nice guy. He’s been here for 500 years."
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 19, 2020