“We talked about everything,” Chris Wallace told Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer on Friday afternoon, previewing his first sit-down with President Donald Trump in nearly two years.
The full interview will air on Fox News Sunday this weekend, but two short clips released in advance demonstrate how contentious it promises to be.
Seated what appeared to be less than six feet apart, Wallace asked Trump if he regrets not wearing a mask in public earlier than this past weekend. “The CDC says if everyone wore a mask for four-to-six weeks, we could get this under control,” the host said of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now claimed more than 135,000 American lives. “Will you consider a national mandate that people will need to wear masks?”
“No, I want people to have a certain freedom,” Trump replied. “And I don’t believe in that, no. I don’t believe in the statement that if everyone wore a mask, everything disappears.”
“Hey, Dr. Fauci said don’t wear a mask. Our Surgeon General, terrific guy, said don’t wear a mask,” the president continued, citing months-old guidance that has been updated now that more is known about how the virus spreads. “Everybody was saying don’t wear a mask and all of a sudden everybody’s got to wear a mask.” Without explanation, he added, “As you know, masks cause problems too.”
“That being said, I’m a believer in masks,” Trump said, seeming to contradict himself. “I think masks are good.”
In another portion of the interview, Trump became visibly upset when Wallace fact-checked him about his opponent Joe Biden’s policy prescriptions on police. When Trump said that Biden “wants to defund the police,” Wallace interrupted him to say, “Sir, he does not.”
“Let’s go!” Trump said, looking around for help from his staff. “Get me the charter, please.”
Speaking to Hemmer about the interview, Wallace explained that what followed was a “very interesting exchange” where Trump had his staff go find highlights from the compact between Biden and Bernie Sanders.
“And he went through it and he found a lot of things that he objected to, that Biden has agreed to,” Wallace said, “but couldn't find any indication—because there isn't any—that Joe Biden has sought to defund and abolish the police.”