Trump talks indictment, President Biden and Jeffrey Epstein in Tucker interview
He skipped the first GOP primary debate and instead sat for an interview with Carlson, which released five minutes before the main event
Former President Donald Trump’s 46-minute interview with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson was released five minutes before the first GOP primary debates began Wednesday night.
The video, which racked up more than 80 million views within an hour, dove right into why Trump wasn’t at the first GOP primary debate in Milwaukee.
“Well, a lot of people have been asking me that... You see the polls have come out and I’m leading by 50 and 60 points,” he said, noting that some of the other candidates are polling at 2% or less.
“I’m saying, ‘do I sit there for an hour, two hours, whatever it's going to be, and get harassed by people that shouldn’t even be running for president at a network that isn’t particularly friendly to me?’” he said.
The former president has soured on Fox News, which is airing the debate, in recent months, saying the network was tilted toward Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who trails behind Trump.
While Trump was taking a jab at Fox News by participating in a competing broadcast, he was joined by Carlson, who was fired by the network in April.
Since departing Fox, Carlson has maintained a presence online with his own talk show on X, formerly known as Twitter.
While Trump and Carlson appeared to unite against Fox, it’s worth noting that court documents from Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News showed that Carlson didn’t think highly of Trump.
“I hate him passionately,” he said in a text.
However, reports indicate it was Trump who approached Carlson about the interview.
“We’ll get bigger ratings using this forum that you’re using than probably the debate,” said Trump during the interview.
Trump’s thoughts on Jeffrey Epstein
After criticizing GOP candidate Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, both of whom were at the Fox News debate, Carlson steered Trump to another topic, speaking about the late alleged child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
“Do you think Epstein killed himself?” Carlson asked.
“I don’t know. I will say that he was a fixture in Palm Beach,” Trump responded.
When asked whether he thought it was possible that Epstein was killed, Trump said, “I think he probably committed suicide. He had a life with, you know, beautiful homes, and all of a sudden he is incarcerated and not doing very well... he knew a lot on a lot of people.”
Meanwhile, Carlson, who said he wasn’t conspiratorial, said he thinks Epstein was killed.
“I’m not getting involved,” Trump said, “But a case can be made either way.”
Carlson noted the strong opposition against Trump that began with protests and led to two impeachments. “The next stage is violence. Are you worried they will try to kill you?” Carlson asked.
“These people are sick people. I think they hate our country, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said.
Trump on President Biden
Carlson asked if Trump thought President Joe Biden would make it to November 2024.
The former president said, “I think he is worse mentally than he is physically, and physically he is not exactly a triathlete or any kind of athlete,” before ridiculing Biden for stumbling going up the stairs of Air Force One and failing to lift a beach chair during his vacation in Delaware.
“They love pictures of him on the beach,” Trump said. “I think he looks terrible on the beach.”
“Plus, the beach doesn’t represent what a president’s supposed to be doing. He’s supposed to be working,” Trump quipped. “He’s supposed to get us out of that horrible, horrible war that we’re very much involved in with Russia and Ukraine.”
“If I was president, it would have never started,” he added.
When asked if he had a preference on who he would like to run against, Trump said he would like to face off against Biden, “because his record is so bad.”
California, too, had a bad record, he said, adding that he wouldn’t mind running against Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Trump on his indictments
He described all four indictments as “trial nonsense.”
“And when you look at what they’re doing — the boxes hoax — I’m covered by the Presidential Records Act, I’m allowed to do exactly that,” he said about the probe into his handling of classified documents, before switching to attacking Biden.
“(Biden) is not covered and he’s got 25 times the number of boxes. He’s got ‘em stored in Chinatown, got ‘em stored in a garage underneath his Corvette, at Penn,” he said.
“See, I think he is the most corrupt president we've ever had and he also has the distinction of being the most incompetent.”
Carlson asked how Trump stayed cheerful after facing so many indictments. “I think it’s a lot easier because I’m so high in the polls because it means the people get it,” Trump said.
Trump takes aim at Pence
“So, Mike wants to run for president,” said Trump of former Vice President Mike Pence.
“You’ve got to understand, in my opinion, Mike Pence had the absolute right to send the votes back to the legislators,” Trump said.
He said that he had not spoken to Pence in a long time and that Pence received bad advice about the 2020 election.
At the time, Pence had refused to help overturn the election. Trump said that some Republicans joined forces with Democrats after the 2020 election.
“In other words, they took the Voting Act and they redid it so that the vice president no longer has the power to do what I say he could do,” Trump said.
Pence was present at the debates, along with Christie, Hutchinson, DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.
Trump’s bottom line?
Last time, Trump focused his presidential campaign on building a wall at the southern border. He said it was still his priority.
“Number one is,” Trump said, “the border. And taking hundreds of thousands of criminals that have been allowed into our country and getting them out and bringing them back to their country.”
“The first thing I would do would be I would seal up the border good and tight, except for people who want to come in legally.”