Written by DML
President Trump sat down with Leslie Stahl for an interview that aired on CBS Sunday. During the interview, Trump told the 60 Minutes host that he admits Russia meddled in the 2016 elections, but added, “I think China meddled too.”
When pressed on his comments about “loving Kim”, the dangerous and often murderous leader of North Korea, Trump said the two had great chemistry. When Stahl appeared taken back by Trump’s comments, the president claimed that his positive relationship with Kim has resulted in peace between the two countries. “Before I came into office we were ready to go to war with N. Korea, but now we are not,” claimed Trump. Stahl responded with shock, “We were about to go to war with North Korea?” Trump rolled off the reporter’s doubt by restating his claim.
Stahl returned to her original question, “How can you love him, he’s such a bad man?” Trump repeated that his connection with Kim is strong, but he did admit that he thinks Kim may still be in the process of building the country’s nuclear capabilities. He added, “But they are not testing anything.”
Stahl approached the economy with Trump. The president said nobody in history has ever accomplished what he has in his first two years, claiming he has cut incredible deals with countries and mentioning the tax cuts. When Stahl asked about the trade war with China, Trump pushed back by saying it is a “squirmish.” The president stood firm that he wants to two countries to do business, but that it needs to be more balanced.
Trump, who said during his campaign that he would rip up NAFTA on day one of his presidency, said he regrets how long it took to get a new NAFTA deal. Although a deal has been agreed to on paper, Congress must vote on the new NAFTA agreement later this year.
Trump, when pressed by Stahl on the illegal immigration issue and his ineffective policy for separating families at the border, admitted that people are coming to the country illegally to gets jobs. “I am partly to blame because the economy is so strong,” said Trump.
His comments secured my argument about why the president will not comment on the number one tool to stop illegal immigration, nor will he doing anything to see it be implemented. I speak of mandatory e-Verify.
The program, if made mandatory on a national level, would play a major role in cutting off the jobs market to illegal aliens. Thus, people won’t come here illegally, and those here illegally now will go home. Trump will not even touch the topic of mandatory e-verify during his rallies, nor has he tweeted about it once during his presidency. My contacts in DC tell me this is because he is pressured by large donors and lobbyists who want cheap labor.
Trump told Stahl that the media is dishonest and that he regrets how they treat him. He says he thought it would get better — the relationship between himself and the press — after he took office. But he says he was wrong — that it’s really, really bad two years later.
Stahl reminded Trump that he is the first person to serve as president without having prior military experience, or having held political office. She asked, what’s the biggest shock? Trump said, “DC is the most deceptive, vicious world, and it’s filled with lies and deception.” He said that people in DC make deals with him but then back out and talk behind his back. “It’s like doing a deal with the table,” complained Trump.
Trump admitted to Stahl that the country is divided, but he took no responsibility for the divide. He said he wants people to unite, and he believes the economy will bring people together. Again, for me, the comments from the president only confirms that he sees the short term success of the economy as a bigger victory than the long term effect of stopping migrant workers from entering a wide open border.
Trump took his shots at the Democrats and their pathetic behavior during the Kavanaugh hearings. He stated that it will backfire on them in the midterms, saying, “Have you seen the polls.” Trump, who often says polls are fake and unreliable, gave off a sense of relief and strong confidence in the latest polls that claim Republican voters will unite over the poor treatment of Justice Kavanaugh during the Dr. Ford hearings.
Stahl, who clearly sided with Dr. Ford, asked Trump about his controversial comments made during a recent rally when he appeared to mock Dr. Ford’s responses during the sexual assault hearings earlier this month. Trump said, “It doesn’t matter, we won.” He said that had he not made those comments that Kavanaugh’s appointment would have never gone through.
Stahl pressed Trump about the White House, which is often touted by the press as being in “chaos.” Trump denounced those claims, and said he thinks it could have been someone from The New York Times who wrote the anonymous letter about leading the resistance movement within the White House. Trump confirmed his previous comments that the administration is a smooth running machine, and that people like General Mattis , who serves in his Cabinet, come and go in DC. He went on to say he thinks Mattis is a Democrat, but that he likes him.
Trump would not commit to not firing investigator Robert Mueller, nor would he pledge to allowing the Russian investigation to continue until it is complete. “Do you really think I would call Russia for help in the election?” He asked the question sarcastically, suggesting such a thing would be ridiculous on his part.
Trump said there are people in the White House he doesn’t trust, but would not name names. He concluded by saying he is very comfortable acting as president.
In a separate interview on the CBS News website, Stahl said this is her 3rd interview with Trump since the election season of 2016. She said he is truly comfortable in his role as president, and appears to be having fun dodging the questions he doesn’t want to answer — but she admitted all politicians do the same thing.
Overall, this interview was exactly what I have come to expect from 60 Minutes, and Trump.
The president was highly edited — three cameras were used during the interview, making cuts much easier for editors. Odds are CBS did not alter any of Trump’s comments in a way that changed his message — the editing is necessary to keep answers tight.
If you are a Trump hater, you probably come away thinking he is a liar and ducked all the tough questions asked of him. If you are a member of the Trump army, he certainly delivered the red meat and therefore you love him even more tonight. As for the rest of America, meaning those of us weirdos who care more about policy and secure borders than we do TV ratings, Tucker Carlson’s new book or the liberal media’s desire to rip apart conservatives, it was more of the same — Trump touting Trump’s accomplishments while the mainstream media tries poking him into saying something that makes headlines for days. But for the sake of feeding the fire, I will say this… If tonight’s interview was a boxing match, Trump won the lackluster bout. Reality is, we all have to get up for work in the morning. Something Trump would no doubt take credit for.