Trump spent much of his big ABC News interview lying about his accomplishments and complaining about the media.
On Sunday night, ABC News aired additional portions of Trump's interview with George Stephanopoulos. It was, predictably, all over the map and filled with falsehoods.
Some of the interview was just another opportunity for Trump to trot out the same lies he always does. He yet again stole credit for VA Choice, an initiative passed under President Obama that allows veterans to see private doctors.
Trump also repeated his frequent lie about pre-existing conditions, declaring, "You know, I'm very much for pre-existing conditions." In fact, Trump's administration has pushed health plans that would exclude people with pre-existing conditions. Trump's Department of Justice has also gone to court to argue that all of Obamacare, including its rules requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, should be struck down.
But there were also some new lies, and some very strange moments.
Speaking of health care, Trump told Stephanopoulos that he has "the concept of the plan" — which sounds quite a few steps away from an actual health care bill.
Trump took time to throw Jerome Powell, the person he appointed to head the Federal Reserve, under the bus. He's mad that Powell oversaw an increase in interest rates — leading Trump to try, in his mangled syntax, to explain economic policy: "If he did the interest rate increases half as much, if he didn't do tightening — tightening means taking money out of the — out of the till so that people can't use it for doing what they're doing."
Trump stubbornly refused Stephanopoulos' multiple attempts to explain that Americans are the ones paying the tariffs Trump imposes. At one point, he even proclaimed: "People don't understand tariffs, but I understand them."
By far the most surreal part of the interview occurred when Trump threw his chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, out of the room for coughing, which seemed to make Trump very distraught. "If you’re going to cough, please leave the room," he said. "You just can’t, you just can’t cough. Boy oh boy."
And then there was his curious explanation of his use of Twitter: "It's not tweets. It's social media. I put it out, and then it goes onto your platform. It goes onto ABC. It goes onto the networks. It goes onto all over cable." That may all be true, but it is still tweeting.
As always, Trump bemoaned his treatment at the hands of the media. "If you can believe it, Abraham Lincoln was treated supposedly very badly. But nobody's been treated badly like me."
Given that Lincoln was assassinated, it's tough to see how the press reporting the truth of what Trump says and does is worse, but Trump loves to feel persecuted. This interview was just another chance for him to show that off.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.