October 22, 2020

“60 Minutes” has big interviews scheduled to air this Sunday with both President Donald Trump and Joe Biden. But you can already see one of the interviews now.

Trump pulled his version of stomping his feet and holding his breath by posting a 37-minute clip of his interview on his Facebook page to scoop “60 Minutes.”

Upset by how the interview, taped earlier this week, went with correspondent Lesley Stahl, Trump threatened several times that he was going to try to ruin the “60 Minutes” interview by releasing it early. At one of his rallies this week, Trump said, “Lesley Stahl is not going to be happy.”

On Thursday morning, Trump posted the interview — which, according to The Washington Post’s Jeremy Barr and Elahe Izadi (as well as CBS News), violated an agreement that the White House had with CBS News. The point of the White House also taping the interview was “for archival purposes only.”

Trump’s goal, or so he said, was to point out how unfair Stahl was. You can watch the interview for yourself, but her questions seemed fair and it appeared Trump’s biggest gripe was that Stahl called him out when he said things that weren’t true.

For example, when he told Stahl that his White House had created the greatest economy, Stahl said, “You know that’s not true.”

Throughout, Trump complained about the interview, calling Stahl “negative.” Even before the interview started, Stahl asked him if he was ready for some tough questions and Trump said, “No.” He didn’t appear to be joking and he complained about that later on. He also complained that CBS News gives Biden “softball” questions.

At the end, when Trump’s aides gave Stahl a five-minute warning before Vice President Mike Pence was to join the interview, Trump abruptly ended it, saying “I think we have enough of an interview. That’s enough. Let’s go.”

After Trump posted the interview on Facebook, CBS put out a statement that said, “The White House’s unprecedented decision to disregard their agreement with CBS News and release their footage will not deter 60 Minutes from providing its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades. 60 Minutes, the most-watched news program on television, is widely respected for bringing its hallmark fairness, deep reporting and informative context to viewers each week. Few journalists have the presidential interview experience Lesley Stahl has delivered over her decades as one of the premier correspondents in America and we look forward to audiences seeing her third interview with President Trump and subsequent interview with Vice President Pence this weekend.”

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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