But, Trump was, as ever, Trump. After about 10 minutes on the call, Trump hung up on NPR’s Steve Inskeep when the host repeatedly pressed Trump on his false contentions that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
I went through the transcript and plucked out the Trump lines you need to see. They’re below.
(Sidebar: Why amplify — or cover — Trump’s pronouncements? Simple. He is giving every indication that he wants to run again for president in 2024, and every poll on that race suggests he would be an overwhelming favorite for the nomination. If that were the case for any more “normal” politician, we would cover his or her every pronouncement. Simply because Trump is Trump doesn’t mean we can — or should — ignore what he says. We need to cover it — and, when necessary, which is always — provide context and fact-checking.)
1. “Are we going live, Steve? Are we, uh.”
The interview was pre-taped. So they were not going live. (In other news: “We’ll do it live!”) And away we go!
2. “Well, first of all, the mandate is really hurting our country.”
The question Inskeep asked: “What advice would you give to Americans who haven’t chosen to get vaccinated?” So, er, yeah.
3. “And being very — the proud person that did so well with therapeutics and, and vaccines and everything else and getting them done in record times, you know, I — I have a lot to say on the subject.”
I think Trump is trying to make the point that a) he is vaccinated and boosted and b) when he did get Covid-19, he benefited from therapeutics to treat it. But, like, word salad.
4. “If some people don’t want, they shouldn’t have to take them. They can’t be mandated, as the expression goes. And I think that’s very important.”
Inskeep pressed Trump on what advice he would give to the unvaccinated. This is what the former President came up with. Also, there is no saying that goes “they can’t be mandated.”
5. “Personally, I feel very comfortable having taken them. I’ve had absolutely no reverberation.”
Vaccines! Now with less reverberation!
6. “I don’t know why they would be getting the vaccine for the most part, unless they were at a certain age group and they had certain problems, whether it’s the high blood pressure, the diabetes and, you know, various things in particular.
Trump is talking about people who have already got the virus here — and arguing, contra science, that they probably don’t need to be vaccinated. Also, diabetes [Wilford Brimley voice].
7. “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.”
[narrator voice] They aren’t. Heck, even the shady as heck “recount” of ballots in Arizona’s Maricopa County showed that Biden would still have won.
8. “The number of ballots doesn’t mean anything.”
9. “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?”
I did ask myself this. Then I read this fact check and learned there were NOT more votes cast in Detroit than there were people. How did I unearth this revealing and critical fact? A secret weapon I call “a Google search.” Check it out. Life-changing.
10. “You take a look at Detroit.”
I literally just did that!
11. “Because Mitch McConnell is a loser.”
The question? “Why is it that you think that the vast majority of your allies in the United States Senate are not standing behind you [on election fraud]?” Just a note here: McConnell has won seven races for Senate over an almost 40-year period. McConnell is also the longest-serving Republican leader in history. But, I digress…
12. “You take a look at what’s going on now in Pennsylvania.”
I did. And I don’t think it proves the point Trump is trying to make.
13. “Take a look at what’s going on in Wisconsin. You just take a look.”
Again, I did. And I found that a conservative group’s reexamination of the 2020 vote in Wisconsin found that “there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud.”
14. “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.”
15. “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.”
Whether or not you are president of the United States, this claim is false. There is simply zero evidence of widespread voter fraud — at either the national or state level — in the 2020 election.
16. “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.”
This is true! It’s also misleading. Because America’s population continues to grow, it makes sense that Trump got more votes than the last incumbent president who oversaw a country with less people in it! Also, Trump got 74 million votes. The problem is that Joe Biden got 81 million.
17. “You think Biden got 80 million votes? Because I don’t believe it.”
Well, given all the evidence you’ve cited to prove….oh wait.
18. “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?”
Reminder: The 2020 election ended 435 days ago. And Trump is still talking about crowd size.
19. “People have no idea how big this issue is, and they don’t want it to happen again.”
OK, so “people” have no idea how big an issue election fraud is and they don’t want it to happen again. That seems contradictory?
20. “So Steve, thank you very much. I appreciate it.”
That’s the last thing Trump said before he hung up on Inskeep. And so yeah this feels like a good place to end.