Donald Trump abruptly ended an interview with NPR on Tuesday after he was repeatedly called out on his baseless claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. A video of the interview, published Wednesday morning, shows Trump becoming increasingly irritated as NPR’s Steve Inskeep asks him why he’s still pushing debunked conspiracy theories about his 2020 defeat.Is that really what the transcript shows? "A brutal line of questioning" and Trump struggling to respond?
... Trump faced a brutal line of questioning on his election conspiracy theories and the transcript shows that he was unable to cope with being asked about the glaring holes in his arguments.
No, not quite. The transcript shows that this was the same conversation we've been having about the election for more than a year. Trump throws out allegations. Inskeep rebuts some. Trump throws out more. Inskeep can't keep up.
... If you look at the numbers, if you look at the findings in Arizona, if you look at what's going on in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, by the way — and take a look at Wisconsin — they're finding things that nobody thought possible. This was a corrupt election.I'm sorry Inskeep didn't say, "Yes, I believe it." Instead he said:
I just have to point out Doug Logan — to name one of the states that you just named — Doug Logan, who ran the audit in Arizona that was set up by your allies, didn't find serious problems. This is a quote. "The ballots that were provided to us to count in the Coliseum very accurately correlate with the official canvass numbers." He raised a bunch of administrative issues, but didn't find a problem that would have changed the result at all.
The ballots may correspond, but look at the ballots themselves. The number of ballots doesn't mean anything. It's who signed the ballots, where did the ballots come from. What you really have to do in that report is look at the findings. And the findings are devastating for Arizona. They're devastating like nobody's seen before --
Why did — why did your —
-- And other states are just as bad.
Why did Republican officials in Arizona accept the results then?
Because they're RINOs, and frankly, a lot of people are questioning that. Why would they? They fought very hard, the Maricopa County people. And people don't understand it, because all you have to do is look at the findings.
And, just so you know, some of those people went before Congress a short while ago, and they were grilled by Congressman Biggs. You ought to take a look at their testimony. They weren't able to answer anything. He made them look like fools. They couldn't answer a thing. They got up and gave a beautiful statement. And then when it came time to ask, why this? Why that? What about these votes? What about those votes? They look like total fools.
Let me read you some short quotes. The first is by one of the judges, one of the 10 judges you appointed, who ruled on this. And there were many judges, but 10 who you appointed. Brett Ludwig, U.S. District Court in Wisconsin, who was nominated by you in 2020. He's on the bench and he says, quote, "This court allowed the plaintiff the chance to make his case, and he has lost on the merits."
Another quote, Kory Langhofer, your own campaign attorney in Arizona, Nov. 12, 2020, quote, "We are not alleging fraud in this lawsuit. We are not alleging anyone stealing the election." And also Rudy Giuliani, your lawyer, Nov. 18, 2020, in Pennsylvania, quote, "This is not a fraud case." Your own lawyers had no evidence of fraud, they said in court they had no evidence of fraud, and the judges ruled against you every time on the merits.
It was too early to ask for fraud and to talk about fraud. Rudy said that, because of the fact it was very early with the — because that was obviously at a very, very — that was a long time ago. The things that have found out have more than bore out what people thought and what people felt and what people found.
When you look at Langhofer, I disagree with him as an attorney. I did not think he was a good attorney to hire. I don't know what his game is, but I will just say this: You look at the findings. You look at the number of votes. Go into Detroit and just ask yourself, is it true that there are more votes than there are voters? Look at Pennsylvania. Look at Philadelphia. Is it true that there were far more votes than there were voters?
It is not true that there were far --
Gee, that's a pretty tough thing to --
It is not true.
That's a pretty tough problem.
It is not true that there were far more votes than voters. There was an early count. I've noticed you've talked about this in rallies and you've said, reportedly, this is true. I think even you know that that was an early report that was corrected later.
Well, you take a look at it. You take a look at Detroit. In fact, they even had a hard time getting people to sign off on it because it was so out of balance. They called it out of balance. So you take a look at it. You know the real truth, Steve, and this election was a rigged election.
...Now, we had a lot of cases where the judges wouldn't hear him. We had a case in Nevada that was so good. You read the papers. It's impossible. The judge refused to even listen to it. We had many cases. In fact, they say, and I can't testify because it's been through a lot of systems, a lot of different systems. But they say, and they say very strongly, the judges just — nobody's really gotten a chance to look. Look at the United States Supreme Court. They refused to hear the case. And you had, I guess, 19 states suing --
They said, there was no standing to give the case. That's correct. Can I just ask --
Well, yeah, no standing, I know, no standing. And the president of the United States supposedly didn't have standing, either. So I wanted to file it myself. They said, "Sir, you don't have standing." I said, wait a minute. I'm the president of the United States. They just rigged an election. Hundreds of thousands of votes in different states. They just rigged an election. We got — we got a number of votes that, I think you'll agree — no sitting president has ever gotten the number of votes that I got. No sitting president has ever gotten --
Lot of votes. That's true. In — lot of — lot of — you --
No sitting president. Do you — I — nobody believes. You think Biden got 80 million votes? Because I don't believe it.
It's true — it's true that you got more than any sitting president in the election you've disputed.The correct answer there is "Millions of people believe it because it's the truth. It happened."
You mean he got them sitting in his basement. He got 80 — how come he couldn't — then how come Biden --
If I can, Mr. President, Mr. President.
Let me ask you this question. How come Biden couldn't attract 20 people for a crowd? How come when he went to speak in different locations, nobody came to watch, but all of a sudden he got 80 million votes? Nobody believes that, Steve. Nobody believes that.
Inskeep does say this:
If you'll forgive me, maybe because the election was about you.But then he switches the subject to how Trump's grievances will affect the horserace:
If I can just move on to ask, are you telling Republicans in 2022 that they must press your case on the past election in order to get your endorsement? Is that an absolute?Trump boasts that his candidate for governor of Arizona, a hardcore election truther named Kari Lake, is "leading by a lot." (In the primary race, yes, she is, but not in the general election.) Shortly afterward, he ends the interview.
What did all this accomplish? Inskeep pushed back on a few points, but Trump threw out a Gish gallop's worth of allegations, all baseless but more than Inskeep was able to rebut. Wisconsin was corrupt! Arizona was corrupt! Detroit was corrupt! Philadelphia was corrupt! No Republican would regard Inskeep as the one who came away with a win, even if Trump did storm off. (Republicans like Trump's petulance.)
I wish Trump had been interviewed by someone ready to get in the weeds with him, someone with a deep knowledge of every conspiracy theory and of the facts that show they're all nonsense. No, there weren't more votes than people in Detroit -- here's the AP fact check. No, nothing fishy happened in Philadelphia -- even the Republican co-chair of the city's elections board acknowledged that. And so on. In the interview, Trump is essentially saying, "I won. Don't believe me? Do your own research." Imagine if Inskeep had geeked out and done his own research, in much greater depth, and brought the receipts.
Trump is used to rattling off the names of these allegedly suspicious locales and getting no pushback. Imagine if an anti-conspiracy election nerd had engaged him on his own terms. Then you really would have seen a walk-off -- and some serious public education.