CBS Airs Contentious '60 Minutes' Interview Cut Short by Trump

CBS Airs Contentious '60 Minutes' Interview Cut Short by Trump
President Donald Trump sits for an interview with "60 Minutes" at the White House, in Washington, on Oct. 20, 2020. (Donald Trump/Facebook)
Tom Ozimek

CBS on Sunday aired the controversial "60 Minutes" interview with President Donald Trump, which he appeared to end early and later complained was rudely conducted and biased.

“We had prepared to talk about the many issues and questions facing the President, but in what has become an all-too-public dust-up, the conversation was cut short,” said Lesley Stahl, in narration that accompanies the aired segment. “It began politely, but ended regrettably, contentiously.”

"Are you ready for some tough questions?" Stahl asks Trump at the beginning of the interview, prompting the president to respond, "Just be fair."

"But you're ok with some tough questions?" she asks, to which he replies, "No, I'm not."

"You're not ok with tough questions?" Stahl asks, prompting Trump to say, "I want them to be fair. You don't ask Biden tough questions."

In the segment, Trump makes a case for his reelection, arguing that a continuation of his policies will best serve the country as it recovers from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreak.

"When I finish, this country will be in a position like it hasn't been maybe ever," Trump said. "The economy is already roaring back. And other people aren't gonna bring it back, certainly the person that we're dealing with is not gonna bring it back," Trump added, in apparent reference to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. "They're gonna raise taxes," Trump said.

 60 MINUTES Correspondent Lesley Stahl interviews President-elect Donald J. Trump at his home, in New York on, Nov. 11, 2016. (Chris Albert for CBSNews/60MINUTES via AP)
60 MINUTES Correspondent Lesley Stahl interviews President-elect Donald J. Trump at his home, in New York on, Nov. 11, 2016. (Chris Albert for CBSNews/60MINUTES via AP)

After focusing on the CCP virus outbreak, the conversation turned to Trump's support among suburban women, rally sizes, the president's disagreement with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over lockdowns, the recent controversy surrounding compromising emails found on a hard drive allegedly belonging to Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, allegations of inappropriate surveillance of the Trump campaign, and Trump's references to some media as "fake."

"Do you think that your tweets and your name-calling are turning people off?" Stahl asked.

"No, I think I wouldn't be here if I didn't have social media," Trump replied, adding, "But the media is fake. And frankly, if I didn't have social media, I'd have no way of getting out my voice."

The conversation then seemed to become more acrimonious as the back-and-forth continued, prompting Trump to say that "you brought up a lot of subjects that were inappropriately brought up," complaining that Biden got "softball after softball" in his interviews on CBS, and suggesting Stahl was rude.

"Your first statement was, 'Are you ready for tough questions?' Trump said, with Stahl interjecting, "Are you?"

'That's no way to talk. That's no way to talk," Trump replied and, moments later, when a show producer interrupted to advise about the time remaining, Trump ended the interview.

"I think we have enough of an interview here, Hope. OK? That's enough. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go meet for two seconds, OK? Thanks. I'll see you in a little while. Thanks," Trump said, before leaving.

The president later posted an unedited video of his interview on social media, with the caption, "Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS."
Hours later, CBS News, in a statement, described Trump's move to release the interview as an "unprecedented decision." The broadcaster went on to say that "60 Minutes" will provide its "full, fair and contextual reporting," while defending Stahl as a journalist with considerable experience.

The segment then shows part of Stahl's interview with Vice President Mike Pence, who characterized the administration's response to the CCP virus as letting Americans decide for themselves how to protect themselves amid the pandemic.

"I think the difference between President Trump and me and some of the public voices in this debate over the last year has been we trust the American people," Pence said.