Former United States President Donald Trump abruptly ended an interview with US broadcaster National Public Radio after being pressed on his false claims of widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
The publicly-funded broadcaster said Trump, after declining interviews for six years, was meant to speak to “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep for 15 minutes to be broadcast on Wednesday.
Instead, he hung up after just nine minutes, but not before repeating debunked claims that the 2020 presidential election was marred by fraud and future elections were vulnerable to the same misdeeds.
Numerous state vote recounts and dozens of lawsuits have disproved Trump’s claims of voter fraud. Despite that, recent polls have shown that nearly 70 percent of Republicans believe Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump in the 2020 election because of fraud.
Trump said Republican candidates in elections this year would be “smart” to press his claims. He highlighted Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake who has repeatedly pushed the baseless allegations.
“She’s very big on this issue … She’s leading by a lot. People have no idea how big this issue is, and they don’t want it to happen again,” he said. “And the only way it’s not going to happen again is you have to solve the problem of the presidential rigged election of 2020.”
When the host sought to ask a follow-up question, Trump quickly said, “So, Steve, thank you very much. I appreciate it.” He hung up the call after that.
Prior to the abrupt exit, Trump attacked Republicans who have rejected the position that his election loss to Biden was the result of malfeasance.
He derided Republican Senator Mike Rounds, who said on Sunday that “irregularities” did not change the outcome of the election, calling him a “jerk”, “weak” and “ineffective”.
Meanwhile, he called Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a “loser”.
When asked about Republican election officials in Arizona, who accepted a Republican-ordered audit that found no significant irregularities in the state’s voting administration, he derided them as “RINOs” – a derogatory term meaning “Republicans in Name Only”.
“Because they’re RINOs, and frankly, a lot of people are questioning that,” he said of the election officials’ actions.
Trump remains under investigation by a Congressional committee for his role in egging on rioters who stormed the US capitol on January 6, 2021, in a deadly attempt to overturn Biden’s election victory.
On Tuesday, the committee issued its latest round of subpoenas, which included a demand for records and testimony from former White House official Ross Worthington who helped draft the speech Trump delivered on January 6 just before rioters stormed the US Capitol.