Former President Donald Trump abruptly ended an interview with National Public Radio after the outlet questioned him on his repeated claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him by voter fraud.
The interview, which NPR teased as being “six years in the making,” was scheduled to go 15 minutes, but lasted just over nine as “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep pressed the former president on the election outcome. The interview was posted to NPR’s website Wednesday morning.
Inskeep highlighted comments from Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), who said over the weekend that Trump “simply did not win the election.”
“Rounds is wrong on that, totally wrong,” said Trump. “If you look at the numbers, if you look at the findings in Arizona, if you look at what’s going on in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, by the way — and take a look at Wisconsin — they’re finding things that nobody thought possible. This was a corrupt election.”
Inskeep then pointed out that the founder of CyberNinjas – a firm which helped conduct an audit of votes in Arizona’s Maricopa County – said they did not find any massive problem with the ballots that would have changed the election.
“The ballots may correspond, but look at the ballots themselves,” Trump said. “The number of ballots doesn’t mean anything. It’s who signed the ballots, where did the ballots come from. What you really have to do in that report is look at the findings. And the findings are devastating for Arizona.”
Inskeep persisted, noting that Republican officials in Arizona and other states have accepted the results while evidence of fraud has not been found.
Trump pushed back by questioning whether there were more votes than voters in Detroit and Philadelphia, a claim Inskeep quickly shot down by calling it “not true” and “an early report that was corrected later.”
“Well, you take a look at it,” Trump groused. “You take a look at Detroit. In fact, they even had a hard time getting people to sign off on it because it was so out of balance. They called it out of balance. So you take a look at it. You know the real truth, Steve, and this election was a rigged election.”
As the interview went on, Trump sounded increasingly agitated, repeatedly talking over Inskeep.
“Let me ask you this question. How come Biden couldn’t attract 20 people for a crowd? How come when he went to speak in different locations, nobody came to watch, but all of a sudden he got 80 million votes? Nobody believes that, Steve. Nobody believes that,” Trump said at one point.
Toward the end of the interview, Inskeep pressed the former president on how Republicans can get his endorsement in 2022.
“They are going to do whatever they want to do — whatever they have to do, they’re going to do,” Trump said. “But the ones that are smart — the ones that know, you take a look at. Again, you take a look at how Kari Lake is doing, running for governor [in Arizona]. 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. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen, and they don’t want it to happen again.”
“I want to —” Inskeep attempted to say as Trump continued.
“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.”
“Mr. President, if I –” the reporter tried again.
“So Steve, thank you very much. I appreciate it,” Trump said before hanging up.
Following the interview, NPR emphasized that Trump “has no evidence of widespread fraud that caused him to lose the election.”
Since the election, Trump has used rallies, social media and political allies to boost his belief that he should have won his reelection bid. Several Republicans, like Rounds, have started to distance themselves from these claims going into the 2022 midterms and have received scathing criticism from the former president as a result.
Trump has not yet announced if he plans to run for president again in 2024 but is expected to announce his decision following the midterm elections in November.