Here are 11 key moments from Trump’s “Meet the Press” interview.


Former President Donald Trump speaks during an interview with NBC News’ Kristen Welker, September 14, 2023.

Meeting with the press | NBCU

A defiant former President Donald Trump sparred with new “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker for more than an hour this week at his home in Bedminster, New Jersey, as they fought over a host of legal issues, his role in the Jan. 6 incident and the promotion of lies. About the 2020 elections.

He has also repeatedly sought to give himself room to maneuver on crucial issues: abortion, the war in Ukraine, interest rates, and even what he believes about his party’s efforts to impeach President Joe Biden.

Overall, Trump’s interview with NBC News highlighted the duality of the candidate who is considered the favorite to win the Republican nomination and challenge Democrats next fall: On the one hand, he is forging a political messaging path appropriate for the general election, while he is forging a political messaging path Suitable for general elections. On the other hand, he is as combative as ever about the accusations he faces and his role in diminishing Americans’ confidence not only in basic institutions, but in democracy itself.

NBC News also invited President Joe Biden to sit down with Welker for an interview.

Here are 11 of the most newsworthy moments from Trump’s wide-ranging interview:

Trump asks his party to abandon the imposition of a ban on abortion without exception

Trump said members of his party “speak vaguely about abortion and criticized those who push to ban abortion without exceptions in cases of rape, incest, and maternal health.”

“I watch some of them without exception, etc., etc.,” he said. “I said, ‘You can’t. Except in certain parts of the country, you won’t win this case. But you will win this case when you put in the right number of weeks.'”

While Trump has missed opportunities to clarify what kind of legislation he would sign to ban abortion after a certain number of weeks — or if he would prefer to solve the issue at the federal level rather than on a state-by-state basis — he has repeatedly sought to portray himself as a dealmaker who can unite “both sides.” “And put an end to the issue.

Trump said: “We will agree on a number of weeks, months, or however you want to define it.” “And both sides will come together, both sides will come together – both sides, and this is a big statement – both sides will come together. For the first time in 52 years, you will have an issue that we can put behind us.” “.

Trump will have a hard time presenting himself as a mediator trusted by “both sides,” because his three conservative nominees to the Supreme Court helped overturn abortion rights.

His lack of clarity about what he would support was the focal point of the interview. The remarks, of course, come as Republicans have suffered several major losses at the ballot box since the Supreme Court last year overturned Roe v. Wade, which allowed abortion to be legal during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

At one point, Welker wondered whether such an agreement proposed by Trump would lead to federal legislation.

“It could be state or it could be federal,” Trump said. “I honestly don’t care.”

Trump says he is not afraid of going to prison

Despite facing four prosecutions, Trump told Welker he was not preoccupied with visions of prison.

“I don’t even think about it,” Trump said. “I think I’m built a little differently, because people have come up to me and said, ‘How do you do it, sir?’ How do you do that?’ I don’t even think about it.”

But he also returned to the question on his own later in the interview, suggesting the matter stuck with him.

“When you say am I losing sleep? I’m sleeping,” he said. “I’m sleeping. Because I really feel like we’re going to win in the end.”

Trump says he likes democracy, not the way the American system currently works

One of Welker’s final questions centered on whether Trump — who spent three years trying to overturn or delegitimize the last election he lost — still believes democracy “is the most effective form of government.”

Trump said he does, but added a key caveat.

“I do it. I do it. But it has to be a fair democracy,” he said. “This democracy – I don’t consider that we have much democracy at the moment.”

He noted that American democracy is unfair because of the indictments he currently faces for allegedly mishandling classified documents, trying to hide payments to women before the election and trying to overturn the 2020 election. But he also said this is not fair because of the difficult questions asked by the press, asking why “ Fight Welker Lee” on some answers.

He added: “People understand what is happening.” “We need a free and fair media. Frankly, if they don’t have that, it’s very difficult to correct our country.”

Welker focused on efforts embraced by Trump and other Republicans to make it easier to fire civil servants working for a government seen as disloyal.

But Trump – whose campaign has promoted such efforts – said he would not enact a law to fire federal employees on a large scale.

“No, I won’t do that,” he said. “I want great people, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats. I want great people. But I want people who love our country, not people who hate our country.”

Trump does not rule out pardoning himself if elected, but described the scenario as “extremely unlikely.”

Trump chose not to preemptively pardon himself before leaving office in January 2021. But when Welker asked if he might grant himself a pardon if he won this election, Trump refused to rule that out.

“I think that’s very unlikely. What, what did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything wrong,” Trump said. “You mean I’m challenging the election, and they want to put me in prison?”

He also discussed getting advice from both sides of the question in 2021, just before he left office, and recalled giving a definitive response: “Let me just tell you. The last thing I’ll ever do, I said, is give myself a definitive answer.” pardon.'”

While Trump could have protected himself from federal criminal prosecution for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in his final days in office, he was also accused of illegally retaining and concealing secret documents after his presidency — based on actions that occurred after he lost the election. The power of forgiveness.

If he returns to the White House, he will be in a position to pardon himself on all federal charges he faces.

Trump says he ignored legal advice from lawyers who told him the election was not stolen

Trump has dug deeper into his decision to push to overturn the 2020 election and take responsibility for it.

“We have a lot of people, and it’s my choice,” he told Welker, later adding, “It was my decision. But I listened to some people.”

Senior administration and campaign lawyers for Trump said he lost the election and there was no evidence of fraud. But there were outside lawyers — including several who were in legal jeopardy themselves — who helped Trump not only run, but also compile lists of fake voters in order to overturn the electoral vote count in Congress.

He said he did not listen to the White House and campaign lawyers “because I didn’t respect them as lawyers.” Those lawyers, he said, “turned out to be RINOs [Republicans in name only]Or they turn out to be unwell in many cases.”

The key to his respect, he suggested, was to agree to the trumped-up claim that he was cheated out of a second term.

“But I respected others,” Trump said. “I respected many others who said the election was rigged.”

At one point, Trump noted how close the election was in terms of the number of votes he would have needed, distributed across several states, to win the Electoral College.

“Do you admit that you didn’t win?” Welker asked.

“I don’t confess,” he said. “No. I’m saying I won the election.”

Trump links his call for “retribution” to January 6

Trump faced a series of questions about a comment he made earlier this year, in which he told a crowd supporting him: “I am your punishment.” When asked what that meant, Trump spoke of the need to “protect people,” adding that he viewed the prison sentences handed down to some of the rioters on January 6 as unfair compared to the sentences imposed on people who participated in racial justice protests during the summer of 2020.

“When I talk about retribution, I’m talking about justice,” he said. “We have to treat people fairly. These people went on January 6, some of them never entered the building, and they were sentenced to many, many years in prison, you know.”

Welker followed up with Trump to ask if he would pardon the jailed rioters.

“Well, I’ll take a look at them, and I certainly will if I think it’s appropriate,” he said. “No, it’s very sad. They are dividing the country very badly, and this is very dangerous.”

Trump says he has nothing to do with Republican efforts to impeach Biden

Trump responded simply, “No, not at all,” when asked if he viewed the GOP’s efforts to impeach Biden as part of his “revenge” agenda. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, announced this week the launch of an impeachment inquiry into Trump.

The former president also denied that he spoke with McCarthy about impeachment.

He said: No, no, I don’t talk to him that way.

Trump added that McCarthy “will not” open an investigation “based on my opinion.”

Later, he said he “didn’t have to talk” to allies on Capitol Hill about supporting the investigation because they were “more active than I am.”

Trump says he liked Putin’s recent comments about him, but is vague about his plan to end the war in Ukraine

Trump said he could not explain in detail how he would seek to end the war between Russia and Ukraine because “if I told you exactly, I would lose all my bargaining chips.”

“But I would like to say certain things to Putin,” he said. “I would like to say certain things to Zelensky, with which I agree.”

Asked whether he would push for a deal that would allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to keep Ukrainian territory, Trump said: “No, no, no, no.”

He added: “I will offer a fair deal for everyone.” “No, I’ll make it fair.”

He then expressed his appreciation for the recent statement made by Putin. “We certainly hear that Mr. Trump says that he will resolve all hot issues within several days, including the Ukrainian crisis. We cannot but feel happy about that,” the Russian president said.

In response, Trump said: “Well, I liked that he said that.”

“Because that means what I’m saying is true. I’ll get him into a room. I’ll get Zelensky into a room. Then I’ll bring them together. And I’ll reach an agreement. I’ll get an agreement reached.” “It would have been a lot easier before it started.”

Trump has long refused to be overly critical of Putin, and has at times openly praised him.

When Russia first invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Trump said Putin was a “very smart guy” and called the invasion of Ukraine a “genius.”

Trump says he will not seek a third term if he wins next fall

Pointing to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ comments in which Trump’s GOP rival touted his ability to serve two full terms instead of one, Welker directly asked Trump if there was any scenario in which he would seek a third term if he wins next fall.

“No,” Trump said, before criticizing DeSantis.

The Twenty-Second Amendment to the Constitution limits presidents to only two four-year terms. This was enacted after former President Franklin Roosevelt was elected to four terms in office.

To close or not?

Trump said House Republican hardliners should not back down on their demands in order to avoid a government shutdown like the record-long strike he imposed in late 2018 and early 2019.

But it left ample room for conditional manoeuvre.

“I will shut down the government if they can’t reach a proper agreement, for sure,” he said.

Trump won’t say how he will protect Taiwan

Not only has Trump refused to go into detail about how he handled the war in Ukraine, he has also been vague on the issue of China’s interest in Taiwan.

He has evaded details on whether he would send US troops to defend Taiwan against China, a step Biden has said he would take.

“I won’t say. I won’t say,” Trump said. “Because if I said I was going to give it up, you know, only stupid people would give it up.”

But he also said the option is still open.

“I’m not taking anything off the table,” he added.

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