Donald Trump spewed election lies and then hung up on NPR’s Steve Inskeep after the host pushed him on his falsehoods.
Inskeep tweeted on Tuesday that he’d been trying to schedule an interview with Trump for six years. The former president finally agreed, but the interview that was scheduled to last for 15 minutes only lasted nine. It came to an end after Inskeep asked Trump whether pushing that the 2020 election was stolen is a prerequisite for 2022 candidates seeking his endorsement. “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?” Inskeep asked. “Is that an absolute?”
“They are going to do whatever they want to do — whatever they have to do, they’re going to do,” Trump replied. “But the ones that are smart — the ones that know, you take a look at. Again, you take a look at how Kari Lake is doing, running for governor. She’s very big on this issue. She’s leading by a lot. People have no idea how big this issue is, and they don’t want it to happen again. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen, and they don’t want it to happen again.”
Inskeep began to ask another question, but he realized mid-sentence that Trump had already hung up.
Former President Donald Trump abruptly ended a live interview call with NPR reporter Steve Inskeep after he was challenged on his false 2020 election fraud claims. @kaitlancollins breaks down the interaction. pic.twitter.com/T0kb2XKhBV
— New Day (@NewDay) January 12, 2022
Inskeep had previously asked Trump to respond to comments by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who said recently that Republicans claiming elections are rigged will harm their chances of winning future elections. “No, I think it’s an advantage, because otherwise they’re going to do it again in ’22 and ’24, and Rounds is wrong on that. Totally wrong,” said Trump, who also released a statement after Rounds’ comments that called the senator a “jerk.”
Rounds isn’t the only Senate Republican who hasn’t been beating the drum about rigged elections. When Inskeep asked why the “vast majority” of Trump’s allies in the Senate aren’t “standing behind” him, Trump called GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “a loser” and said the senator was to blame for the lost 2020 presidential election.
“Frankly,” Trump said, “Mitch McConnell, if he were on the other side and if Schumer were put in his position, he would have been fighting this like you’ve never seen before.”
Inskeep and Trump discussed Covid-19, with Trump said Biden’s vaccine mandates are “really hurting our country,” but the 2020 election dominated the conversation. Trump wondered how he possibly could have lost when his rallies were attracting more people than Biden’s (“If you’ll forgive me, maybe because the election was about you,” Inskeep replied), and made absurd claims like that there were “more votes than there were voters” in certain swing state cities. “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?” Trump said.
“It is not true,” Inskeep replied.