United States President Donald Trump has refused to guarantee that he will accept the results of this year’s presidential election.
In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Trump touched on a number of issues, including his perceived lack of faith in American democracy, a denial that confederate flags are symbols of racism, and how he has handled the coronavirus outbreak.
When asked whether he would accept the outcome of November’s election, Trump was non-committal, echoing his statements made weeks before the November 2016 election against Hillary Clinton.
“I have to see. Look … I have to see,” Trump said. “No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.”
In 2016, Trump said, when asked about accepting the results in an October debate that he would “keep you in suspense”.
Symbols of racism or free speech?
During the interview, Trump also defended the confederate flag, which has become a symbol of racism and slavery for many Americans, arguing that displaying the flag is merely a celebration of their heritage.
“It depends on who you’re talking about, when you’re talking about,” he said. “When people proudly had their Confederate flags they’re not talking about racism. They love their flag, it represents the South. They like the South… I say it’s freedom of many things, but it’s freedom of speech.”
The President also said that he would veto the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which will include an amendment to remove the names of confederate generals from military bases.
“We won world wars out of these, out of these military bases, no I’m not gonna go changing. I’m not gonna go changing.”
Trump also fielded several questions about the coronavirus pandemic, defending his decision to hand responsibility over to the States and not to tackle the virus on the federal level. And, despite leading the world in cases and deaths, with cases surging in several parts of the country, the President said that America is the “envy of the world” in terms of testing, rationalising that they only have so many cases because they conduct more tests than anyone else.
He also said that he doesn’t believe that masks should be mandated by lawmakers.
“I want people to have a certain freedom,” he said.
Also when quizzed on his predictions that the coronavirus would “just disappear” one day, Trump said that “I’ll be right eventually. It’s going to disappear and I’ll be right.”
Attacks on Biden
While discussing presumptive Democratic nominee and his opponent in the November election, Joe Biden, who Trump referred to as “not competent”, the President argued that the former Vice President isn’t mentally capable of holding office.
“He’s shot, he’s mentally shot,” he said. “He will destroy this country.”
With the coronavirus pandemic ongoing, amid rising racial tensions, Trump argued that Biden’s plans are to “defund the police” and that he would “triple your taxes”. These claims are both speculative and unfounded and when Wallace pushed back on Trump’s claims, he doubled down without presenting evidence. He also said that “religion will be gone”, referring to Democrat plans to limit large religious gatherings during the pandemic.
Wallace pointed out to Trump that polling shows that Americans trust Biden to handle the pandemic more than Trump by 17 points and that they trust him to handle racial tensions better by 21 points. And what was particularly bothering to Trump is that voters trust Biden more (by one point) to run the economy.
Overall, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that Biden leads Trump 55-40 in a poll of registered voters across the country. When confronted with this, Trump said that the polls are “fake” and that White House surveys show him winning nationally and in many key swing states.
“Let Biden sit through an interview like this, he’ll be on the ground crying for Mommy. He’ll say, ‘Mommy, Mommy, please take me home,'” he added.