Trump walks out of major CBS interview, complaining about questions

Trump walks out of major CBS interview, complaining about questions

US President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Gastonia
US President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Gastonia, North Carolina, on Oct 21, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Tom Brenner)

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump went through on Thursday (Oct 22) with a threat to release his own footage of a yet-to-be-aired interview with CBS that he cut short, angrily complaining of bias.

Trump tweeted that he wanted to preempt the network's own broadcast of the interview on its 60 Minutes show on Sunday in order to reveal journalist Leslie Stahl's "bias, hatred and rudeness".

The raw footage posted by Trump's Facebook page, in contravention of the White House's agreement with the network, appears to show the encounter from beginning to end, with the president frustrated throughout at the tone of questioning.

Stahl does not raise her voice or interrupt Trump other than to firmly challenge his statements on handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his encouragement of supporters to chant for locking up political opponents, and other sensitive topics.

Trump takes issue with what he says was an ambush interview and announces he is cancelling the portion where Stahl was meant to have continued the discussion while also being joined by Vice President Mike Pence.

"Your first statement was 'this is going to be tough questions.' Well, I don't mind that, but when you set up the interview, you didn't say that. You said, 'oh, let's have a lovely interview,'" he complains to Stahl just before abruptly calling an end to the meeting.

Trump also repeatedly complains that CBS and other media have not given his Democratic opponent Joe Biden equally tough questions, instead giving him "softball after softball".

"I've seen all his interviews. He's never been asked a question that's hard," Trump said.

CBS also interviewed Biden for a separate 60 Minutes segment, which is due to air on Sunday.

Trump's meltdown over the interview, taped at the White House on Tuesday, came hours before his Thursday night debate with Biden - their final direct clash before the election in less than two weeks.

On Twitter, he promised followers that the footage of him with Stahl displayed "her constant interruptions & anger. Compare my full, flowing and 'magnificently brilliant' answers to their 'Q's'."

CBS responded by calling Trump's breaking of the agreement on the footage "unprecedented" and said this "will not deter '60 Minutes' from providing its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades".

Source: AFP/ec