After storming out of a 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl this week, President Trump has spent the last three days threatening to publish an “unedited preview” he claimed would expose Stahl as biased, rude, and politically motivated.
But on Thursday, shortly after posting a nearly 38-minute long video purporting to be just that, it became clear that Trump’s blowhard stunt had backfired. “Are you ready for some tough questions?” Stahl asks at the start of the video. The simple question appears to irritate Trump, who proceeds to condescendingly instruct Stahl to “just be fair.”
“You’re gonna get fairness but you’re okay with some tough questions.”
“No, I’m not,” Trump shoots back. “You don’t ask Biden tough questions.”
From there, Trump is seen repeatedly lashing out as Stahl challenges the president’s outright lies. He also whines that Stahl and the rest of the media have gone easy on his Democratic challenger. But the moment Trump appeared to especially malfunction was when he was pressed for details about his policy plans—especially on health care. “You promised that there was going to be a new health care plan…Of course, we haven’t seen it,” Stahl says. “So why didn’t you develop a health plan?”
“It is developed,” Trump replied getting visibly rattled. “It is fully developed, it’s going to be announced very soon when we see what happens with Obamacare—which is not good.” Eventually, Trump admitted to his intention to dismantle the Affordable Care Act while lying about his response to the pandemic. Finally, in one of the many times he interrupts Stahl, Trump complains: “Excuse me, Lesley, you started with me ‘Are you ready for tough questions?’ That’s no way to talk.” Then he walks out.
For the most part, this is all familiar territory for Trump. He’s faced similar demanding questions from interviewers of mainstream news outlets, including during a sit-down with Axios’ Jonathan Swan in August. But in abruptly walking out of Stahl’s interview and posting video before it was scheduled to air, Trump yet again has reserved one of his biggest media hissy-fits for a woman. This marks his second combative appearance in less than a week, after appearing wholly unprepared for an NBC town hall with Savannah Guthrie, a former litigator, who refused to let his trademark dodges, lies, and prevarication go without the necessary grilling. “So cute,” Trump shot back at Guthrie at one point, a sarcastic response that couldn’t have played well with suburban women, a demographic Trump is losing to Biden. “Suburban women, will you please like me?” Trump asked at a rally earlier this month. “I saved your damn neighborhood, ok?”
Tonight, Trump will appear before NBC’s Kristen Welker at the final 2020 presidential debate, and he’s already falsely described as a “radical Democrat.” It’s unlikely Trump has had much time to prepare, considering his three-day obsession with Stahl and 60 Minutes. Judging by his recent meltdowns with two female journalists, we’re all but certain to see another one with Welker.