Six gems from Trumps ABC interview

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-48665793

Trump was interviewed over two days in the run up to his campaign launchImage copyright
ABC News

Image caption

Trump was interviewed over two days in the run up to his campaign launch

From expelling an aide for coughing to insisting he is treated worse than assassinated US Civil War leader Abraham Lincoln, to whether UFOs exist, President Donald Trump dropped a number of notable lines in his extended television interview.

The president hosted ABC News for two days to document his life inside the White House, shedding some light on his thinking as he prepares to formally launch his 2020 re-election campaign in Florida on Tuesday.

Coughing aide kicked out

When Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, coughed in the background of the Oval Office interview, Mr Trump became visibly upset and asked his top aide to leave the room.

“Let’s do that over, he’s coughing in the middle of my answer,” Mr Trump said. “I don’t like that, you know. I don’t like that.”

“If you’re going to cough, please leave the room,” the president added, pointing and shaking his head in disapproval. “You just can’t, you just can’t cough.”

The exchange happened as Mr Trump defended his decision not to turn over his “fantastic financial statement” to the US Senate, adding that he “might” reveal it someday.

Denies firing pollsters after leak

The Trump campaign has fired several of its hired pollsters after leaks showed Mr Trump losing to Democrats next year in several key battleground states, according to US media.

But in the interview, Mr Trump denied there were any unflattering popularity figures, maintaining that his team’s internal polls “show I’m winning everywhere”.

He dismissed leaked opinion surveys showing Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden leading in swing states such as Michigan and Wisconsin. Mr Trump stated that “those polls don’t exist”.

On Monday, he returned to the theme on Twitter, saying: “Only Fake Polls show us behind the Motley Crew” – a reference to the crowded Democratic presidential field.

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Getty Images/ White House

Trump and Lincoln

Mr Trump argued that no president has ever been as mistreated as himself, including Abe Lincoln, who was shot dead.

“If you can believe it, Abraham Lincoln was treated supposedly very badly,” he said. “But nobody’s been treated badly like me.”

Mr Trump, who calls himself a student of history, has previously drawn comparisons with the 16th president. During a rally last September in Montana, Mr Trump said Lincoln’s legendary Gettysburg Address “was excoriated by the fake news”.

And during his first election campaign, Mr Trump claimed: “With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office.”

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Getty Images

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Mr Trump, pictured before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC

Trump on UFOs

Mr Trump smiled and shrugged when ABC asked about reports of Navy pilots seeing unidentified flying objects.

“They do say, I mean, I’ve seen and I’ve read and I’ve heard, and I did have one very brief meeting on it,” said the president. “But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs.

“Do I believe it? Not particularly.”

When ABC asked him if the US president would be made aware if there was evidence of extraterrestrials, Mr Trump did not directly answer the question.

He said: “Well, I think my great pilots, our great pilots would know. And some of them really see things that are a little bit different than in the past, so we’re going to see, but we’ll watch it.”

Trumpcare?

With election season nearing, the Republican president indicated he would launch a new plan to revamp the nation’s healthcare system.

“Obamacare has been a disaster,” Mr Trump told ABC as he was driven in the presidential limousine dubbed The Beast.

He promised that the plan for “phenomenal healthcare” will be unveiled “in about two months, maybe less”.

Mr Trump last week teased details at an unrelated White House event, saying: “Nobody knows what it is. It’s going to be a big surprise, but it’s going to be a very pleasant one.”

New Air Force One design

Mr Trump unveiled a redesign of the presidential jet known as Air Force One, adding that he had personally overseen its facelift.

“There’s your new Air Force One,” he said, holding up the blueprints for the new red-white-and-blue patterned plane. “I’m doing that for other presidents, not for me.”

The aircraft are not due to be delivered until 2024.

Critics have likened the new design to planes used by Trump Shuttle, an airline owned by Mr Trump from 1989-92.

Defence of debt

Mr Trump, who once promised to completely eliminate the national debt over two terms in office, defended its continued climb under his own watch.

“They doubled the debt on nonsense,” he said of the Obama administration.

But when the interviewer noted the debt has not stopped accumulating during Mr Trump’s presidency, he responded: “Sure. But I have to rebuild the military.”

He added: “We have beautiful new F-35s and F-18s and new rifles, new uniforms.”

Since Mr Trump took office, the US has added over $2tn (£1.6tn) to the federal debt, and it now stands at more than $22tn.