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.
After Inskeep told the ex-president that his fraud claims have repeatedly been proven false, the reporter asked Trump if he’ll refuse to endorse any Republican candidates who dispute his lies about the 2020 election.
Then, Trump ended the call.
The video shows Inskeep asking Trump: “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?”
The ex-president responded: “They are going to do whatever they want to do—whatever they have to do, they’re going to do. 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 then tried to move on by saying “I want to...” before Trump interrupted him: “And the only way it’s not going to happen again is you have to solve the problem of the presidential rigged election of 2020.”
Inskeep once again tried to ask his next question, before Trump signed off with the statement: “So Steve, thank you very much. I appreciate it.”
The transcript ends with Inskeep trying but failing to keep Trump on the line to ask him about his alleged incitement of the Capitol riot, saying: “Woah, woah, woah, I have one more question. I want to ask about a court hearing yesterday on Jan. 6. Judge Amit Mehta. He’s gone. OK.”
NPR reported that it had been trying to arrange an interview with Trump for six years before he finally called on Tuesday. According to the public-radio network, Trump had agreed to talk for 15 minutes, but hung up after just nine.
In those nine minutes, 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. Since he left office last year, Trump has rarely granted interviews to reporters who haven’t been happy to play along with his election-fraud claims.
At one point, Inskeep flatly tells Trump that one of his claims is nonsense.
Trump posed the rhetorical question: “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?”
Inskeep informs him: “It is not true.”
Trump then went on to brag about the number of votes he got in 2020, even though that is obviously lower than the number of votes cast for Joe Biden. Inskeep pointed out that contradiction to Trump, who seemed to argue that only his votes were legitimate.
“You think Biden got 80 million votes? Because I don’t believe it,” Trump told the interviewer. Inskeep responded: “It’s true that you got more than any sitting president in the election you’ve disputed.”
The former president then went on to argue: “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.”
The interviewer then came out with the withering response: “If you’ll forgive me, maybe because the election was about you.”