President Trump, in an exclusive interview with Fox News, challenged his critics on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, threatened a veto for the defense bill, and speculated on whether he will accept the results if his Democratic challenger wins the presidency in November.
Trump, in a contentious sitdown that aired Sunday, told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace that recent statistics regarding COVID-19 cases and deaths are misleading. Early in the discussion, the president disputed Wallace’s claim that the U.S. currently has the seventh-highest mortality rate in the world.
Trump said he did not want to erase the names of bases used in those past wars, and claimed "most other people are" against it as well.
The bill would also give soldiers a pay raise, but Trump insisted that "they’ll get their pay raise."
TRUMP ENVISIONS BEATING CORONAVIRUS AND REBUILDING ECONOMY IN POTENTIAL SECOND TERM
Later in the interview, President Trump touted a recent stock market surge and his hopes for an economic recovery that will help him come November.
“I think the economy is expanding and growing beautifully,” he said. “Now, the Democrats want to keep it closed as long as possible because they think that's good for elections. But I think the economy is doing very well. Now we're coming back and we're coming back at a level that nobody would have thought possible.”
President Trump pointed to the NASDAQ hitting an all-time high recently, and the Dow Jones nearing a record high.
“We're gonna have a stock market perhaps on November 3rd that’s the highest in history,” he predicted.”
The conversation eventually took a turn toward a recent wave of violent crime in several major U.S. cities. President Trump said that the cities in question are led by Democrats and “are stupidly run.”
“It was always bad but now it’s gotten totally out of control and it’s really because they want to defund the police,” Trump said.
The president then claimed that his presumptive November opponent, former vice president Joe Biden, wants to defund police, citing a charter that he signed with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Biden and Sanders formed a Unity Task Force that has brought the more progressive wing of the Democratic party together with the more moderate side.
Wallace noted that the charter does not call for defunding police, but that Biden has called for reallocating money previously meant for police to go toward other programs such as mental counseling. The concept of redistributing certain police funds to other programs has been closely tied to those calling for defunding.
Asked about racial tension in the wake of George Floyd’s death, President Trump recognized how Black Americans are feeling. When asked if he understands why Black people are angry about being disproportionately shot and killed by police compared to White people, Trump said he does.
“Of course I do. Of course I do,” President Trump said. At the same time, the president noted that “many Whites are killed also,” and that “this is going on for a long time, long before I got here.”
Turning to the upcoming election, President Trump had strong words for Joe Biden, taking political and personal shots at the presumptive Democratic nominee.
TRUMP SAYS BIDEN WOULD 'ABOLISH THE SUBURBS' AND REPLACE IT WITH 'SOCIALIST NIGHTMARE'
“Biden wants to come in and ruin our country, triple your taxes,” Trump said, claiming that if he becomes president, Biden will be pushed to the left. “He will destroy this country, but it won’t be him. It will be the radical left. The same type ideology that took over Venezuela, one of the richest countries in the world. They now have no water, they have no food, and they have no medicine.”
In the past, President Trump has taken shots at Biden’s mental capabilities, and he continued to go down that path.
“Biden can't put two sentences together,” Trump said. “They wheel him out. He goes up -- he repeats -- they ask him questions. He reads a teleprompter and then he goes back into his basement. You tell me the American people want to have that in an age where we're in trouble with other nations that are looking to do numbers on us.”
Wallace asked Trump if he thinks Biden is senile, but the president refused to go there, but still continued his attack.
“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. He doesn't even come out of his basement. They think, ‘Oh this is a great campaign.’ So he goes in, I'll then make a speech, it'll be a great speech, and some young guy, starts writing, ‘Vice President Biden said this, this, this, this.’ He didn't say it. Joe doesn't know he's alive, OK? He doesn't know he's alive.”
Later on, Trump said that this is why he will be victorious.
“ou know why I won’t lose, because the country, in the end, they’re not going to have a man who – who’s shot. He’s shot, he’s mentally shot,” President Trump said.
Asked about the possibility of losing, however, President Trump noted that he does not handle losing well, and may not handle it well if it happens in November.
“I’m not a good loser. I don’t like to lose,” he said. “I don’t lose too often. I don’t like to lose.”
When asked if he is gracious, President Trump said, "You don’t know until you see. It depends.” He then claimed that mail-in voting, which Democrats have pushed as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, “is going to rig the election.”
Asked if this means that he will not accept the election results, he said, “No. I have to see.”
Asked again if he would accept the results, he said, “No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.”
To watch the full interview with President Trump, click here.