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6 things President Trump told Megyn Kelly

Their interview touched on secret documents, COVID-19 vaccines and transgender issues

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Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before departure from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023.

Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before departure from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Aug. 24, 2023, in Atlanta.

Alex Brandon, Associated Press

Megyn Kelly interviewed former President Donald Trump for the first time since 2016 on Thursday. The interview was recorded at Trump’s home in Bedminster, New Jersey, and aired on the “Megyn Kelly Show” on Sirius XM.

Here are six takeaways from the interview, where they spoke about several controversial culture war issues.

1. Supporting Fauci and giving him a Presidential commendation

Kelly said to Trump, “For years you’ve been saying the reason you didn’t fire Anthony Fauci was because he’d been there for a long time, you would’ve taken heat, that it would have created ‘a fire storm,’” but, “not only did you not fire Fauci ... you made him a star.”

She continued, “You made him the face of the White House coronavirus. Having said that, he was out at every presser, that he was running hard for the administration, and that you actually gave him a Presidential commendation before you left office.”

Kelly asked, “Wouldn’t you like a do-over on that?”

Trump responded, “I don’t know who gave him the commendation.”

He continued, “Fauci was very important in the Biden administration … He didn’t want to stop China. He wanted to let everyone come in from China. I stopped it. I overrode it. I overrode many of the things he did. He was much less important to me.”

2. Mask mandates and vaccines during the Trump administration

Kelly asked Trump about mask mandates and vaccines during COVID-19 and said, “Wouldn’t you like a do-over on any of that?”

“Look, when this came in, nobody knew what the hell it was. It sounded like an ancient, you know, pandemic you thought was from 200 years ago or from 1917. We never thought you’d have a pandemic. We had no idea,” he said.

“We got word that bad things were happening in China right around the Wuhan clinic. And I was the one that said it was in the Wuhan clinic.”

3. Transgender issues

Kelly said in 2016, Trump allowed Caitlyn Jenner to use the women’s bathroom at Trump Tower and allowed biological men to compete in the Miss Universe competition he owned.

She asked, “How do you feel about it now? Should biological men who say they are trans be allowed in women’s locker rooms, women’s restrooms, women’s prisons, in women’s spaces?”

“I’m the one that wouldn’t allow it in the military. That was a big move. I went to the real generals and said, ‘What do you think?’ And they did not like it,” he said.

“My stance in that is really pretty much what I had in the military … I don’t think I’ve changed. At the beginning it was such a small subject, nobody really thought about it but then with time you change.”

Kelly followed up and asked, “Can a man become a woman?”

After some hesitation, Trump finally responded, “I think part of it is birth. Can a man give birth? No.”

4. Minors and gender transitions

Kelly asked, “Should children be provided access with puberty blockers and cross sex hormones when they’re minors?”

“I’m so against it,” Trump responded. “First of all, many of them ... when they’re older say, ‘Who did this to me?’ ‘Why did you do this to me?’ Second of all, the parents have to make the decision. You know, they’re trying to give it to school boards and schools, it’s unbelievable.”

5. The obstruction case and criminal charges

Kelly said, “Some argue that criminal or not, you behaved irresponsibly with our national security documents. We’ve all heard the audio of you, post presidency, showing third-parties some sort of document that you’re describing as secret. Allegedly it was a Department of Defense Mark Milley plan to attack Iran … you later told Brett Baier in an interview that you had no document that day, only newspapers and magazines. But we hear you on the tape saying, quote, ‘Look, this is him. This is the Defense Department and him. It’s highly confidential. This is secret. This was done by the military and given to me, as president I could have declassified it and now I can’t. This is still a secret.’ Why would you describe a newspaper as secret?”

“I did nothing wrong because I come under the presidential record,” he said. “This was done in 1978 and this was done for exactly this reason. I’m allowed to have these documents. The other side didn’t even mention that. They don’t even mention the words, ‘Presidential Records Act.’” 

“Frankly, when I have them, they become unclassified. People think you have to go through a ritual. You don’t. At least in my opinion, you don’t.”

6. Does Trump think President Biden is too old?

Kelly asked, “Do you think that Joe Biden at 80 is too old?”

Trump, who is 77, responded, “No, not old, he’s incompetent. Age is interesting, because some people are very sharp and some people do lose it, but you lose it at 40 and 50 also. But, no, he’s not too old at all, he’s grossly incompetent.”