In a wide-ranging interview with Fox News, US President Donald Trump has said he may not accept the results of the November election, called top US disease expert Anthony Fauci an “alarmist” and pushed back against the renaming of military bases and the removal of the Confederate flag.
You can watch the full interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace right here, but if you don’t have the time, here are five of the bits making the most headlines.
- Trump said he might not accept the result of the election
It’s not the first time he’s done so.
Trump said it before the 2016 election, and he’s claimed multiple times that the results of the 2020 election could be “rigged” because of an expected increase in mail voting because of the coronavirus pandemic.
During the interview, Wallace showed Trump new polling from Fox News that found former vice-president Joe Biden leading head-to-head polls by eight points.
Trump called the polls “fake”.
“I’m not losing, because those are fake polls. They were fake in 2016 and now they’re even more fake,” he said.
“I have a poll where we’re leading in every swing state. And I don’t believe that your — first of all, the Fox polls, whoever does your Fox polls, they’re among the worst. They got it all wrong in 2016. They’ve been wrong on every poll I’ve ever seen.”
Trump was asked directly by Wallace if he might not accept the results of the 2020 election.
“No. I have to see. Look, Hillary Clinton asked me the same thing,” Trump said (it was Wallace himself who asked Trump the question at a 2016 debate).
“I have to see. Look, you — I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.”
- Trump called Fauci an ‘alarmist’
When asked about rumours he was unhappy with America’s top disease expert Anthony Fauci, and speculation that he could fire him, Trump pushed back:
“Dr Fauci’s made some mistakes. But I have a very good — I spoke to him yesterday at length. I have a very good relationship with Dr Fauci,” Trump said.
But he went on to say:
“He’s a little bit of an alarmist. That’s OK. A little bit of an alarmist. Let’s — let me just say. Dr Fauci at the beginning — and again, I have a great relationship with him. I spoke with him at length yesterday. Dr Fauci at the beginning said, ‘This will pass. Don’t worry about it. This will pass.’ He was wrong. Dr Fauci said, ‘Don’t ban China. Don’t ban China.’ I did. He then admitted that I was right.”
- Trump and Wallace clashed over coronavirus
At the top of the interview, Wallace showed Trump charts showing the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the US and highlighted a day last week with more than 75,000 new cases. Wallace challenged Trump’s assessment of the rising cases of “burning embers”.
“But — but this isn’t burning embers, sir? This is a forest fire,” Wallace said.
Trump pushed back.
“No, no. But I don’t say— I say flames, we’ll put out the flames. And we’ll put out in some cases just burning embers. We also have burning embers. We have embers and we do have flames. Florida became more flame like, but it’s — it’s going to be under control.”
On mortality rates, Trump said:
“When you talk about mortality rates, I think it’s the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.”
Wallace pushed back:
“That’s not true, sir. We, we, we have a — we had 900 deaths on a single day.”
Coronavirus latest: Follow all the latest information in our COVID-19 live blog.
- Trump defended the Confederate flag again
Wallace asked Trump about his continued defence of the Confederate flag, especially in relation to the decision of NASCAR to ban the flag from its racetracks.
“In the case of the Confederate flag, there are a lot of people who say these were traitors who split from this country, fought this country in large part to preserve slavery. Is the Confederate flag offensive?” Wallace asked.
“When people — when people proudly have their Confederate flags, they’re not talking about racism. They love their flag, it represents the south, they like the south. People right now like the south. I’d say it’s freedom of, of, of many things, but it’s freedom of speech”
Asked about his threats to veto a bill supported by Republicans and Democrats because it would rename army bases named for Confederate generals, Trump said he didn’t “care what the military says” when told that the military supports renaming bases.
“I don’t care what the military says. I do — I’m supposed to make the decision. Fort Bragg is a big deal. We won two World Wars, nobody even knows General Bragg. We won two World Wars. Go to that community where Fort Bragg is, in a great state, I love that state, go to the community, say how do you like the idea of renaming Fort Bragg, and then what are we going to name it,” Trump said.
“We’re going to name it after the Reverend Al Sharpton? What are you going to name it, Chris, tell me what you’re going to name it?”
- Trump questioned Biden’s mental fitness for office
The President has made multiple allegations about Joe Biden’s mental fitness for office. Wallace directly asked the President if he thought his November rival was “senile”.
“I don’t want to say that. I’d say he’s not competent to be president. To be president, you have to be sharp and tough and so many other things,” Trump said.
“Joe doesn’t know he’s alive, OK? He doesn’t know he’s alive.”
Wallace showed Trump Fox polling that found voters believe Joe Biden to be of “sounder” mind than Trump, leading to an exchange between the pair over Trump’s cognitive testing results:
Fox suggested Trump took the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, a test designed to show whether a person has signs of cognitive decline. It’s not a test of intelligence.
Trump told Wallace the last five questions were “very hard”. Wallace said one of them involved counting back from 100 by seven.