Dear Commons Community,
President Donald Trump gave the New York Times a brief interview yesterday which is unusual since he generally stays within the friendly confines of Fox News and other conservative media. The Times published several excerpts this morning although I presume a longer piece will appeared in a later edition. In this interview, Trump seemed presidential and generally avoided outlandish remarks. Here is a sample.
On Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation:
“…[he]the president did not demand an end to the Russia investigations …
“It makes the country look very bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position,” Mr. Trump said of the investigation. “So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country…
“There’s been no collusion. But I think he’s going to be fair,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Mueller.
On North Korea and China:
“Mr. Trump explicitly said for the first time that he has “been soft” on China on trade in the hopes that its leaders will pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
He hinted that his patience may soon end, however, signaling his frustration with the reported oil shipments.
“Oil is going into North Korea. That wasn’t my deal!” he exclaimed, raising the possibility of aggressive trade actions against China. “If they don’t help us with North Korea, then I do what I’ve always said I want to do.”
Despite saying that when he visited China in November, President Xi Jinping “treated me better than anybody’s ever been treated in the history of China,” Mr. Trump said that “they have to help us much more.”
“We have a nuclear menace out there, which is no good for China,” he said.”
On Roy Moore and the Alabama Senate Election:
The president also spoke at length about the special election this month in Alabama, where Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate, lost to a Democrat after being accused of sexual misconduct with young girls, including a minor, when he was in his 30s.
Mr. Trump said that he supported Mr. Moore’s opponent in the Republican primary race because he knew Mr. Moore would lose in the general election. And he insisted that he endorsed Mr. Moore later only because “I feel that I have to endorse Republicans as the head of the party.”
On reelection and the media:
“Another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes,” Mr. Trump said, then invoked one of his preferred insults. “Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times.”
He added: “So they basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, ‘Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.’ O.K.”
Mr. Trump would be wise to do more of this type of public relations and stay off Twitter!