Screengrab via ABC News

5 must-see moments from Trump’s first interview as president

Trump covered a wide range of topics, often filled with falsehoods.


Michelle Jaworski


Published Jan 26, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 3:18 am CDT

President Donald Trump sat down with ABC’s David Muir in a wide-ranging primetime interview that’s already drawing criticism for the falsehoods Trump spouts—even when presented with evidence to the contrary.

For many of those watching, Trump’s falsehoods weren’t really a surprise. In the interview at the White House Wednesday night, he repeated false claims he’s said on Twitter and in his inauguration speech, still appears to be obsessed with his media image, and keeps harping back to the size of his inauguration crowd. ABC News has a full transcript of the interview on its website, but we’ve included some of the moments everyone’s talking about below.

1)Trump falsely claims that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally even after Muir attempts to fact-check him live

Trump has repeated claims that millions of people voted illegally since he was sworn in, which he first started doing soon after he won the electoral college but lost the popular vote, multiple times throughout the week. Trump has shown no evidence to show why he believes it (despite fact-checkers demonstrating it’s not true) while the author of the Pew study Trump cites says there isn’t evidence of voter fraud in his study.

Muir asks Trump about the voter fraud claims, which he repeats once again. Muir tells him that he’s spoken to the man behind the study, but Trump doesn’t back down and instead attacks the author of the study.

On Wednesday morning, Trump vowed to investigate fraud claims in an election he won, which some Democrats fear will increase voter suppression. Meanwhile, Trump’s daughter Tiffany and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, are registered to vote in two states—which isn’t illegal unless you try to vote twice, one of the things Trump wants to investigate.

2) Construction of the wall on the U.S.–Mexico border will begin “in months”

Trump’s wall has been one of the earliest staples of his campaign, and on Wednesday he signed an executive order to build the border wall. Mexico’s leaders have repeatedly said the country won’t pay for the wall, while Trump asserts Americans will be reimbursed after fronting the initial cost of the wall’s construction. But Trump, who has been sued multiple times for not paying workers he’s hired—the most recent lawsuit against him regarding nonpayment was filed on Wednesday—doesn’t say how Mexico will agree to pay for the wall or when Americans would be reimbursed.

“All it is, is we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico,” Trump explained to Muir. “Now, I could wait a year and I could hold off the wall. But I wanna build the wall. We have to build the wall. We have to stop drugs from pouring in. We have to stop people from just pouring into our country. We have no idea where they’re from. And I campaigned on the wall. And it’s very important. But that wall will cost us nothing.”

3) Trump believes that waterboarding works

Despite no evidence to the contrary and being told otherwise by Defense Secretary James Mattis, Trump still believes that torture works. He discusses it as reports surfaced that he planned to reopen CIA “black sites” that former President Barack Obama closed.

Well, I have a general who I have great respect for, General Mattis, who said—I was a little surprised—who said he’s not a believer in torture. As you know, Mr. Pompeo was just approved, affirmed by the Senate. He’s a fantastic guy, he’s gonna be the head of the CIA.

And you have somebody fabulous as opposed to the character that just got out who didn’t—was not fabulous at all. And he will I think do a great job. And he is—you know, I haven’t gone into great detail. But I will tell you I have spoken to others in intelligence. And they are big believers in, as an example, waterboarding.

Trump still believes the U.S. should have “taken the oil” from Iraq and calls critics who said he would be breaking international law by doing that “fools.”

4)  Trump calls out reporters for “unfair coverage”

When Muir tries to bring up White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s disastrous first press briefing, Trump turns the conversation to the size of his inauguration crowd, saying the media’s portrayal of it was “unflattering.”

“I had a massive amount of people here,” Trump said. “They were showing pictures that were very unflattering, as unflattering—from certain angles—that were taken early and lots of other things. I’ll show you a picture later if you’d like of a massive crowd.”

Trump also said that he got “the biggest standing ovation since Peyton manning had won the Super Bowl and they said it was equal,” referring to his controversial speech at the CIA on Saturday. The line didn’t appear in the aired interview.

5) Trump showed off his crowd size again

As he promised, Trump showed Muir a photo of the inauguration crowd size.

In another twist, the photo Trump has displayed has the incorrect date. The date on the photo is not Jan. 20, the day of his inauguration, but rather Jan. 21, the day of the historic Women’s March on Washington.

H/T Daily Intelligencer

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*First Published: Jan 26, 2017, 9:55 am CST