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'I don't think I'm fake news': Highlights from Chris Wallace's contentious interview with Trump

July 20, 2020
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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="President Donald Trump and Chris Wallace clashed repeatedly as the Fox News host&nbsp;corrected the president on several facts during an interview that aired Sunday.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”6″>President Donald Trump and Chris Wallace clashed repeatedly as the Fox News host corrected the president on several facts during an interview that aired Sunday. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="One of the more contentious moments from the "Fox News Sunday" interview that gained national attention occurred when Trump said he would "be right, eventually," about his belief that the coronavirus will simply "disappear."&nbsp;” data-reactid=”7″>One of the more contentious moments from the “Fox News Sunday” interview that gained national attention occurred when Trump said he would “be right, eventually,” about his belief that the coronavirus will simply “disappear.” 

On two occasions, Trump called for staff to bring him fact sheets related to points Wallace disputed – that the U.S. has “one of the lowest mortality rates in the world” from COVID-19 and that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden wants to “defund the police.” On both occasions, the documents brought to the president did not appear to prove him right. 

Here are some of the highlights from the hour-long interview: 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="‘I’ll be right eventually’: Donald Trump defends his handling of COVID-19 and the presidency” data-reactid=”10″>‘I’ll be right eventually’: Donald Trump defends his handling of COVID-19 and the presidency

Testing behind rise in cases 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Trump repeated his false claim that more testing in the U.S. is behind the rising number of infections rather than increased spread of the coronavirus.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”12″>Trump repeated his false claim that more testing in the U.S. is behind the rising number of infections rather than increased spread of the coronavirus. 

“Chris, that’s because we have great testing, because we have the best testing in the world,” Trump said after Wallace produced a chart showing a large spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. “If we didn’t test, you wouldn’t be able to show that chart. If we tested half as much, those numbers would be down.” 

Wallace explained that while testing across the nation was up 37%, the number of infections was up 194%. 

“It isn’t just that testing has gone up, it’s that the virus has spread. The positivity rate has increased,” Wallace said. 

Trump did not back down, arguing many of those “cases shouldn’t even be cases” because they involved young people who only got “the sniffles,” despite health experts’ warnings that young people can still become seriously ill from the disease. 

“Cases are up because we have the best testing in the world and we have the most testing,” Trump insisted. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="New stimulus?: Trump sets down markers on next COVID package as Republicans huddle at White House” data-reactid=”18″>New stimulus?: Trump sets down markers on next COVID package as Republicans huddle at White House

‘It’s not true, sir’

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="When Wallace said the U.S. had the seventh-highest mortality rate from COVID-19, Trump said he thought "it’s the opposite."” data-reactid=”20″>When Wallace said the U.S. had the seventh-highest mortality rate from COVID-19, Trump said he thought “it’s the opposite.”

“I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world,” Trump said.

Then-President-elect Donald Trump is interviewed by Chris Wallace of "Fox News Sunday" in Trump Tower, in New York, Dec. 10, 2016.Then-President-elect Donald Trump is interviewed by Chris Wallace of "Fox News Sunday" in Trump Tower, in New York, Dec. 10, 2016.
Then-President-elect Donald Trump is interviewed by Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” in Trump Tower, in New York, Dec. 10, 2016.

“It’s not true, sir,” replied Wallace. “We had 900 deaths on a single day.” 

Trump asked White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany to bring him the statistics. 

“Do you have the numbers, please? Because I heard we had the best mortality rate,” he said. When she produced the document, Trump said it proved him right and that “it shows what fake news is all about.” 

“I don’t think I’m fake news,” Wallace said. 

In a voiceover added to the interview, Wallace explains the chart used by the White House did not include all of the countries with lower COVID-19 mortality rates than the U.S. 

‘I’ll be right eventually’

Wallace played a clip of Trump’s early statements saying the coronavirus was not a threat to the U.S., including his claim that “at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear.” 

“I will be right eventually. You know I said, ‘It’s going to disappear.’ I’ll say it again. It’s going to disappear and I’ll be right,” Trump said. He did not explain why or how the virus would go away, but he said it was true “because I’ve been right probably more than anybody else.” 

Trump won’t commit to accepting election results

“I’m not a good loser,” Trump confessed. “I don’t lose too often. I don’t like to lose.” 

When asked if he was a “gracious loser,” Trump said,”you don’t know until you see. It depends.” 

“I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election. I really do,” he added, repeating an unsubstantiated claim he has made since the coronavirus pandemic sparked calls for mail-in ballots in many states. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="More: No presidential winner on election night? Mail-in ballots could put outcome in doubt for weeks” data-reactid=”47″>More: No presidential winner on election night? Mail-in ballots could put outcome in doubt for weeks

Trump would not commit to accepting the result of the election, telling Wallace, “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.” He pointed out that he said the same thing in 2016. 

“I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no. And I didn’t last time either,” Trump said. 

‘Sir, he does not’

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="When Trump claimed that Biden wanted to "defund the police," Wallace told him, "Sir, he does not.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”51″>When Trump claimed that Biden wanted to “defund the police,” Wallace told him, “Sir, he does not

Trump insisted that a policy pact between Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, called for defunding the police. 

“It says nothing about defunding the police,” Wallace said. 

“Oh really? It says abolish, it says defund. Let’s go,” said an agitated Trump, calling for McEnany to bring him the document. 

“I look forward to seeing that,” Wallace replied. In a voiceover added after the interview, Wallace said the “White House has never sent us evidence that Bernie-Biden platform calls for defunding, or abolishing police, because there is none.” 

‘I don’t care what the military says’

When asked if he considers the Confederate flag offensive, Trump said, “We can’t cancel our whole history. We can’t forget that the north and the south fought. We have to remember that, otherwise we’ll end up fighting again.” 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Trump said he would veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it included an amendment to rename military bases named for Confederate generals because "all of these forts that have been named that way for a long time, decades and decades."” data-reactid=”58″>Trump said he would veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it included an amendment to rename military bases named for Confederate generals because “all of these forts that have been named that way for a long time, decades and decades.”

When Wallace said the military supported renaming the bases, Trump said, “I don’t care what the military says. I’m supposed to make the decision.” 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="More: Trump’s COVID-19 response, race relations and overall approval ratings drop amid pandemic, survey finds” data-reactid=”60″>More: Trump’s COVID-19 response, race relations and overall approval ratings drop amid pandemic, survey finds

Trump wondered what Fort Bragg would be called if its name was changed. 

“We’re going to name it after the Rev. Al Sharpton?” he speculated, referring to the civil rights activist and MSNBC host. 

“We won two world wars, two world wars, beautiful world wars that were vicious and horrible, and we won them out of Fort Bragg, we won them out of all of these forts and now they want to throw those names away,” Trump said. “And no, I’m against that, and you know what, most other people are.” 

‘It’s slavery’

Trump said the effort to remove monuments and to ban the Confederate flag was the result of schools teaching children “to hate their own country and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes but were villains.” 

Wallace asked Trump what his statement about schools was based on. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content=""I look at school. I watch, I read,&nbsp;look at the stuff," Trump said. The president then turned his ire on the New York Times Magazine's "1619 Project," though he confessed he did not know&nbsp;what it was. The project, which "aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative," draws its name from the 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in the&nbsp;U.S.” data-reactid=”67″>”I look at school. I watch, I read, look at the stuff,” Trump said. The president then turned his ire on the New York Times Magazine’s “1619 Project,” though he confessed he did not know what it was. The project, which “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative,” draws its name from the 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in the U.S.

“Now they want to change 1492, Columbus discovered America. You know, we grew up, you grew up, we all did, that’s what we learned. Now they want to make it the 1619 project. Where did that come from? What does it represent? I don’t even know,” Trump said. 

“It’s slavery,” Wallace explained. 

“That’s what they’re saying, but they don’t even know. They just want to make a change,” Trump said. “Cancel culture – I hate the term, actually, but I use it.” 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump vs. Chris Wallace: Top moments from testy Fox News interview” data-reactid=”71″>This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump vs. Chris Wallace: Top moments from testy Fox News interview

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