Full Hannity Interview: Trump Talks Woodward Book, Biden, 2020, Troops, Mail-In Voting & More | Video | RealClearPolitics

Full Hannity Interview: Trump Talks Woodward Book, Biden, 2020, Troops, Mail-In Voting & More


President Trump joined Sean Hannity for an interview on Wednesday night's broadcast of his FOX News show to discuss Bob Woodward's new book, his interviews with the author, Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden, the coronavirus and more.

Trump challenged Biden to produce a list of Supreme Court candidates and denies report he insulted US war dead. He also blasted Biden for flip-flopping on fracking, touted the economic recovery, and shares concerns about mail-in voting.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST:  Joining us right now live on the phone, exclusive interview -- he's in the White House tonight -- President Donald Trump. 
Mr. President, thank you for being with us. 
They did a very good job, I will say. 
HANNITY:  They get good grades.
HANNITY:  Let me go to the Woodward book. 
I was first surprised that you spoke to him. I don't think a lot of good comes from talking to Bob Woodward, my own personal opinion. 
But let's go to the things that Karl Rove was pointing out that Biden said today. Ten days after the first identified case, 10 days, you put the travel ban in effect. And it was a subsequent ban, the first quarantine in over 50 years. He said it was hysterical, xenophobia, and fearmongering on your part. 
Two-and-a-half months later, he reversed himself, at least according to a campaign ad. 
Why -- what do you believe that one decision, at 10 days after the first case in America, what impact did that have, and what were you saying to Bob Woodward? 
TRUMP:  Well, first of all, on the Woodward book, on the book itself, he called. He -- I didn't participate in his last one.
And he does hit you, obviously, with everybody. He even did it on Obama, but constant hit jobs.
On Bush, I guess they did three books. They were all terrible. So, I figured, you know, let's just give it a little shot. I'll speak to him. It wasn't a big deal. I speak to him, and let's see.
I don't know if the book is good or bad. I have no idea. Probably, almost definitely won't read it, because I don't have time to read it. But I gave it a little bit of a shot. Sounds like it's not going to be good. 
But if you look at what I said today, I said, don't panic. We don't want to be jumping up and down and going wild. Don't panic. I'm a cheerleader for this country. And I don't want to see panic. 
And I thought what Matt said was fantastic, because we would have lost two million, 2.5 million lives, instead of the number we're talking about. Anything above one is no good. It's no good. We can't have it. It was China's fault. They sent this to us. And it's no good.
But I thought I'd give the -- Bob Woodward some time. I gave him some time. But, as usual, with the books he writes, that didn't work out too well, perhaps. I don't know. Maybe it was -- maybe it's good. Who knows?
But, as far as the timing is concerned, I did something very important, as you know. At the end of January, I banned -- I banned China, because -- the people from China, because they were heavily infected.
And I had a lot of people, including Dr. Fauci -- and I don't say that with disrespect. I -- it's really what he believed. But a lot of people believed that, that we shouldn't ban them, it was no reason to ban them.
And Biden was going around for many, many weeks after that saying, it's not even going to be a problem. You covered it incredibly.
Actually, Karl Rove covered that incredibly tonight, and just incredibly, actually. And they were all going around, no problem, no problem, everybody, practically everybody. Nobody had any idea it would be as violent as it turned out to be.
And we studied it. We understand it. Now we're opening up. But we could have lost two million, 2.5 million, maybe even more than that, if we did it a different way. 
And we have done a really good job. But, if you look at our numbers, our fatality numbers compared to other countries, we're in -- we're in really -- I mean, it's amazing, what we have done. We have been able to do something that a country, especially with the kind of size we're dealing with -- we have done an incredible job. 
HANNITY:  I watched your press conference today. And the general tone of the questioning was that you misled the country because you told Bob Woodward on February 7, this looks like it's going to be five times as bad as a normal flu virus. 
I think most Americans may not even know that there are years with the influenza virus that we lose tens of thousands of Americans. It's not uncommon.
And -- but your actions just seven days earlier were, you put a travel ban in effect, and a quarantine in effect. Again, it hasn't been done in 50 years. So, actions mean something. And you taking it seriously was very clear then. 
And then, when you said, well, I don't want people to panic, they say, well, you must have been downplaying it. 
Wouldn't your actions contradict that narrative? 
TRUMP:  Yes, absolutely. 
And if you look at -- we have had flu years where we lost 70,000, 80,000, and 90,000 people. People don't realize that. 
But if you look that, and multiply that times five, it's actually more than we lost. Now, we could have lost two million, 2.5 million, as Matt said, if we did it a different way. 
But what I want to show is, I want to show a calmness. I'm the leader of the country, I can't be jumping up and down and scaring people. I don't want to scare people. I want people not to panic. And that's exactly what I did. 
And if you look at the representatives of Joe Biden, you see what they were saying. They were saying, no problem, this won't be a problem. He didn't think it was going to be a problem until months later. He was way late. Pelosi was way, way late. 
And I was at the end of January, far ahead of everybody, because I did something nobody wanted me to do. Nobody wanted me to do the ban on China. And then, as you know, shortly thereafter, I did a ban on Europe. That was, frankly, even more controversial. And that was good, because I saw what was going on in Italy and in Spain and in France. And we did a ban there. 
And if we didn't do those bans, we would have had numbers that were much, much more. And if we didn't do the shutdown and now the reopening -- and they should do the opening faster. If you look at some of the states, like North Carolina, Pennsylvania, you look at what they're doing, they're taking so -- they're shut down. They're still shut down. 
Michigan is terrible. It's still shut down. And that's a shame. It's a shame. They don't know what they're doing, frankly. 
TRUMP:  But they should all be open.
And our country is doing very well. We have record numbers of jobs. You saw the numbers just came out. For the four months, it's the largest number ever, by far, not even close, and retail sales, the same thing. They're -- it's record numbers. 
So, we're opening up with a strong V, not just a V. It's a very strong V. And we're going to have a tremendous year next year. We're going to have a very good quarter. And that's going to be announced before the election. 
HANNITY:  But there's -- there's voting going on now. 
You see Joe Biden. He makes very few appearances. The media seems to be willing to -- I don't think he's answered 100 questions since March. You know, you have answered a couple of thousand-plus questions in that period of time. 
Do you think the media is giving him a pass? Do you see -- look, everybody that I meet, that I run into everywhere, and even people in the media, interestingly, quietly, and Democrats, I know, quietly are saying, Joe looks like he is weak and he is frail. 
How do you interpret Joe Biden, the basement bunker strategy, his unwillingness to take questions?
TRUMP:  Well, the media, in terms of what they're doing, is actually worse than what you're saying, because it looks to me like they're asking him a question, and then he's reading an answer off the teleprompter. 
Now, that would mean that, like your friend over there Donna Brazile, he has -- who FOX brilliantly hired, and she's a...
HANNITY:  She sounds like your favorite host.
TRUMP:  Donna Brazile, that's another real great one. 
TRUMP:  But it would look to me like he's been given the questions, and he's reading the answers. 
But that would mean that the media is giving him the questions. They never gave me the questions. I can tell you that. It's like, we have some pretty wild times. But they -- they hit me with the worst possible questions possible. 
And you have to learn to do it, and you have to be able to do it. And, if you can't do it, you can't be a politician. 
You certainly can't represent our country, because, when you deal with President Xi and Putin and Kim Jong-un and all of the people you have to deal with, in all due respect to the media, they're much tougher, they're much smarter than the people I have to deal with in the -- in the various rooms and outside by the helicopters and all the places, I’m willing always to take questions.
But I don’t get -- I don't get any help in terms of, here’s the question, and you can read an answer to it. I’ve never seen anything like it. And frankly, I think the media is disgracing themselves. 
But it's obvious that Joe is reading the answers off a teleprompter in many cases. That happened yesterday when he said "move it closer." 
A woman asked him a question, move it closer.
HANNITY:  Move it down, I think is what he said. Yeah.
PRES. TRUMP:  Meaning move teleprompter closer. It's terrible. It’s actually terrible.
HANNITY:  It got ignored today. You added today 20 additional candidates to the previously --  
HANNITY:  -- used list of potential justices, quote, in the mold of Scalia, Thomas and Alito. 
Among them, Senator Tom Cotton, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Josh Hawley, people well-known to this audience. 
Why did you want to release them? And you’re also calling on Joe Biden to release the names of people he would like to appoint to the U.S. Supreme Court.
PRES. TRUMP:  Because outside of war and peace, the most important thing a president does is select Supreme Court justices, and judges. You know, we’re going to have probably over 300 by the end of my first term, which is a record, over 300 federal judges, and Court of Appeals judges, too. So, that’s a -- that’s a number that nobody thought even possible. 
And we will have that number, and it'll be all confirmed and done and great. And also, Supreme Court judges or justices. 
And you -- the whole country, it depends on these decisions, which way you go, whether you have a Second Amendment or not. I mean, the Second Amendment would be under siege. 
If I wasn't here, you wouldn't have a Second Amendment right now. You wouldn't have a right to guns. You would -- whether you had it or it was just almost totally obliterated, but it would be in a very different form than you have right now. 
I’ve kept it totally as it was, and it's, you know, something I’m very proud of, and people -- I think it’s a real voting issue, Second Amendment. Life, you look at that. 
So these judges are going to be making massive decisions. And the next president is going to get one, two, three, or four justices of the Supreme Court. 
I have two. That’s actually considered a lot. You've had many -- you've had many presidents, frankly, where they didn't have -- I think they had none, many of them had none. 
You know, they stay on there a long time. You don't have many, and they stay on there for a long time. So, you’ve had presidents with none that have been there for a long period of time.
But I’ve already had two. And you could have, literally, anywhere from one to four additional. That changes the entire fabric of the nation for many years. You know, they are on the court for 25, 30, 40 years, depending on the age, depending on what age you choose. And frankly, most of them are young, because you want to pick young, you want them on as long as you can have them on. 
So, it's a very, very important thing that's happening. And I felt that I should announce the list -- and from which I will only pick. So, we had 22 or 23, and now, I added 20. So we have about 43. And it will only be from that list that I’ll pick, whether it’s one, two, three, or four, it will only be from that list. 
So everyone can look at that list, and they’ll be happy or not happy. 
Joe has to put up a list. This is something that I came up with the last election. I think it might be one of the reasons for my success in the election, because people weren't sure who would I pick. And I actually put out a list of 20, and then 25, and I said, only from that list. 
Well, only from this list and the previous list will I pick. 
Joe has to come up now with a list. He should come up with a list. Otherwise, people can't vote for him. 
But the reason he possibly won't is because he's going to come up with far radical left judges. I mean, these will be people that are very, very far to the left, that are, you know, revolutionary in a sense, I think, and he's got to come up with them. 
I don't know that they’re going to allow, because they control him totally. They control Joe Biden. He’s not controlled -- he is not in control of himself. He is controlled by the radical left, it’s a very dangerous part of our society, and he is totally controlled.
And he is not going to be able to name Democrats judges that are in the middle someplace, or normalized, you know, people that are, like, normal people. He will be forced to pick extremely radical left judges, and I don't think you can get elected if you do that. 
If you do what he has to do, which is name the judges that he's going to pick, or the justices, soon to be, that he's going to pick, I don't think it’s -- I don't think he would be electable. So he's got a real problem. 
HANNITY:  Let me go to the issue of national defense.
As president, the largest military buildup since the Reagan years, first pay raise in many, many years for our military. You resolved the V.A. hospital scandal that existed in the Biden-Obama years. You removed the rules of engagement, which allowed you to beat the caliphate in Syria, which Joe and Barack were not able to do. 
You got Soleimani, Baghdadi, and associates. You got the al Qaeda leader in Yemen. 
And you’re pulling America out of long, protracted wars by the use of military technology. But the story is claiming that you disparaged fallen soldiers. 
TRUMP:  Yeah, it's a total lie. It’s total disinformation. They put it out, then they do commercials on it. 
And to think that -- nobody that I know could have said those things, looked down at soldiers that have been dead for decades and decades and decades, real heroes. And they made it up. They made up the story. 
We have 21 people -- I think you probably saw, much more than that if we wanted to, because there were many people there, and the Secret Service wouldn't let me take the trip because of the dangers of going through very crowded parts of -- certain part of Europe, as you know, we’re in Paris, and they wouldn’t let -- they said, we can't do it, because the helicopter couldn't fly. 
It was raining as hard as I’ve ever seen it rain. And it was foggy, so foggy you couldn't see anything. It was serious Paris fog. And like you couldn't see anything.
So I knew immediately you couldn't take the helicopter. The drive would have been a very long one which I would have been -- I had nothing else to do. I went there for that. In fact, the next day, I went to another cemetery. And, by the way, it was pouring, but not nearly as hard, but it was pouring and I made a speech in the rain. 
No umbrellas, no anything. You know, they said -- it's just disinformation, I didn't want to get my hair wet. I’ve had my hair wet plenty of times. I’ve made plenty of speeches in the rain.
And if I wasn’t -- if I didn't, you wouldn't be president right now, that I can tell you.
So, it’s disinformation. They made up a story about two disgusting words that they say I said, and I didn't. And I have many witnesses -- we have 21 witnesses, they only have sources. Sources say. 
There were no sources. They made it up. It's a bad guy. It's a bad, failing magazine called "The Atlantic," and, of course, the media picks it up. 
And then they do television commercials. We put them on notice: don't do it, take it down. 
And I’ve worked too hard on the military and making it really great again. That’s what we’ve done. We’ve rebuilt it. 
It was totally depleted when I took over. It was depleted, it was tired, it was exhausted from all of these endless wars where our soldiers are being brought back, because I can't stand to see them coming back in shape (ph) -- when they’re not really fighting, they’re really serving as police forces over there. We’re not fighting to win, and they haven't fought to win. 
But I knocked out ISIS, killed Soleimani, killed al-Baghdadi, did things that Obama can't even think about doing. When I took over, ISIS was all over Syria, was all over Iraq. But I want to get out of there. 
Now, we've done it. Let them protect themselves. And there's plenty of countries over there that can do it. 
HANNITY:  Let me ask you about the violence that has been going on well over 100 days in American cities, New York, obviously, Chicago. 
We have Portland. We have Seattle. We have Los Angeles. We had Kenosha. 
Three cities that did request your help and assistance: D.C., Minnesota, Kenosha. You were able to send in the Guard. They restored order. 
You've been begging the De Blasios and Mayor Lightfoot, and Ted Wheeler, and the governor of -- I’m sorry, the mayor of Seattle, pretty much begging them to allow you to help them restore order. 
Joe Biden had said at one point, police become the enemy, wants to reallocate funds. Kamala Harris was for the reallocation, on defunding the LAPD $150 million. You got a billion dollars now cut from the New York PD. 
Why do you think that these mayors and governors steadfastly refuse your offered assistance to restore order? 
TRUMP:  Well, Kenosha is a great example. That was ready to burn down after three nights. And we went in with the National Guard and just closed it out. It took, like, so quick.
And Minneapolis is another example. That was burn -- the problem was it was burning for two weeks before the National Guard came in. And once the National Guard came in, it was over. 
It took -- you saw it, 45 minutes to one hour, and it was all over. This was going on for weeks. 
And we would do the same thing -- we were ready to go into Seattle. They took over 20 percent of the city, a big chunk in the middle of the city. And they heard -- we told them we’re coming in. And then, they sent their police.
And their police are fine.  They’re good, if they let them do what they are supposed to be doing. But they don't do that. 
These -- they are all Democrat-run cities. And they’re not a well-run. And they are very, very -- they become very unsafe, because the level is so ridiculous. They do want to defund the police.  
And I've never seen somebody that could change like Biden.  Now, I don't actually think he is aware of what he is even saying, to be honest with you. But I've never seen anything like it, where he talks about defunding the police or not doing much for the police, and then, all of a sudden, he sees what is happening with his poll numbers, because as you see, we are going way up.  
I think we are leading in Florida.  We're leading in Wisconsin.  We're leading in Pennsylvania.  We're leading in North Carolina.  I think we are leading in New Hampshire.  We are leading by a lot -- and we are really leading by a lot in Ohio, I just saw a poll a little while ago.  I think we are leading all over the place, frankly.  
But, you know, the fake news doesn't like to say that.  I must tell you that FOX is (ph) among the worst pollsters of all.  I think they're terrible.  I don't know who at FOX is doing it.  But they are terrible pollsters.  And they have been, frankly, even four years ago.  That’s probably the same group.  But they don't have a clue, your pollsters.  You should talk to your people about that.  
HANNITY:  I actually like Matt Towery.  He does -- he is separate and apart for the FOX O&Os (ph).  He's -- I've known him since Newt Gingrich's Contract with America days.  
TRUMP:  Yes, he is very good.  
HANNITY:  I'm fond of him and John McLaughlin, and Scott Rasmussen.  
TRUMP: Right (ph). 
HANNITY: Let me ask you about some of Joe Biden's positions that have changed.  I mentioned he was against the travel ban, you know, a few months later, oh, it was a great decision.  He said numerous times in some of the primary debates he was against all fracking.  
A lot of denial on the issue of the violence and the rioting and the anarchy in cities, at one point said, police become the enemy, reallocate funds, et cetera.  Now he is talking even about manufacturing jobs, when -- in his -- when he was vice president and Obama was president, they said those jobs ain't coming back.  
TRUMP:  That's Right.  
HANNITY:  Why the flip-flops?  Do you think America is going to buy it?  
TRUMP:  Well, that’s right. I've never seen anything quite like it, actually.  
HANNITY:  What's that?  
TRUMP:  Sean, I've never seen anything quite like it.  The travel ban, all of a sudden, he denies that, thinks it's fine, thinks it was good.  But how about fracking?  And you need that, it is basically your fossil fuels, your energies.  We would have to close many of the plants, a big percentage of the plants in our country if we didn't do this.  
We have these massive plants and they are not going to run by wind. And they're not going to run by solar at this point, and maybe at no point.  But we have natural gas, which is really very environmentally friendly.  We have all sorts of things.  We are the number one in the world now in energy.  We've done a great job with energy.
And you look at what you are paying, a price per gallon at your car, people are saying it's unbelievable, they're paying less than $2 in many cases, and going down, even.  And they can't believe how well we have done.  We don't need to be in the Middle East other than for the protection of Israel.  There is no reason to be there from the standpoint of oil.  
But we have allies, Saudi Arabia and others, that have been really spend a lot of money here, and treat us well, and, you know, will take care of a lot of our people.  We have some very good allies over there.  And Israel, of course, we help Israel a lot.  
We took out Soleimani.  We took out -- a lot of problems, they were having over there, or they would have without us.  Without us, I don't think any of them would survive for very long.  
So but we don't need it for energy anymore. We are energy independent.  It is an incredible feeling.  I guess it's the first time we have ever been, or at least for many, many decades, energy independent.  
And you look at the price of energy, if Biden ever got in -- he was talking about no fracking, very strongly, and his super liberal running mate, who is the most liberal person, more so than Bernie, rated the most liberal in all of the Senate, Kamala, if you look at what she said about fracking, there won't be any fossil fuels, there won't be any fracking.  
And they are all disciples of AOC, and AOC plus three. And it is ridiculous.  But they constantly talk about no fracking. Then all of a sudden, he sees his poll numbers going down, and he sees, you know, Texas wants oil, I say, they are against guns.  They are against oil.  
And they are against religion.  That doesn't do well in Texas or Pennsylvania or North Carolina, or just about any other place that I can think of.  
And it's -- you know, it's incredible. But they will change in an instant and pretend like nothing ever happened.  They'll say, oh, no, I'm OK with fracking.  He said it the other day. Biden said it the other day.  He said, no, no, no, fracking is OK. 
We are going to grandfather it.  We are going to do something with it, but fracking is OK.  And yet he just ran for months and months of where he is fighting fracking. And she -- I don't think she could possibly say it, she has been fighting it for years.  But the bottom line, they will go back to where they come from.  
Where they come from is no oil, no fracking, no drilling.  Religion, look at what they are doing to religion.  They don't let your churches open.  They let a casino open. But they won't let your churches open.  They will let protesters protest in the streets without masks by the thousands. But they won't let your churches open.  
So there -- it's religion, it's oil, and it's guns.  And those three items alone, how can anybody even run?  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, as a combo, as a combination, couldn't win.  But this is what we're up against.  
They change their view.  But where they are going from, and where they are going to is where they originally came from. And that is none of this stuff, you are not going to frack, you are not going to have energy. And our nation is going to have one of the best years it ever had next year.  
Last year was the best year we've ever had.  Next year is going to be better.  And this third quarter coming up, and the numbers are going to be out before the -- before the election, those numbers are going to be fantastic, you watch.  
HANNITY:  Well, the numbers, we're at 8.4 percent unemployment.  There were some predictions early on, I didn’t -- I did not think you'd see the jobs come back as quickly as they did, to be -- be very frank, or the other things.
TRUMP:  Very rapid, record-setting.  Record-setting, Sean.  
HANNITY:  So but early voting has started.  Before the first debate -- 
TRUMP: Yes. 
HANNITY: -- which is scheduled for September 29th, early voting is now going on in states around the country.  You've talked a lot about that.  Are you preparing yet for your upcoming debates?  And if so, how so?  
TRUMP:  Well, a little bit, but what I'm concerned about are all these ballots, because they are sending unsolicited ballots.  It could be as many as 80 million throughout the nation.  And when you have small races, like a congressional race in New York, with two people, where the ballots are a mess and --
HANNITY:  Eighty-four thousand-plus.  
TRUMP:  Yes, the ballots are missing, they are gone. There -- there has been fraud. There has been deceit and deception.  And this is just a small congressional race --Carolyn Maloney, a small congressional race.  And then you look at New Jersey, what happened in Paterson, what happened in Virginia, what happened in a most every place.  
And these are small little races that are easy to -- you would think it would be very easy, but it's terrible.  And now, we are sending out 80 million ballots. And they are unsolicited.  So when you send out an -- that means people are going to get ballots that don't even know they are getting them.  
And that takes the enthusiasm away a little bit, because we have this massive -- the largest ever, they say, the difference in enthusiasm. But if people are going to start walking up to your door and saying, do you want to sign this?  They'll say, I don't want to vote.  Well, sign this.  OK, I'll sign it.  There is no enthusiasm necessary there.  
It's really a corrupt system.  And you watch, they have a plan, and the plan is not a good plan.  They look to tie it all up, because they can't control the ballots on a small congressional race and smaller races even than that.  And now you're going to control 80 million ballots?  I don't think so.  
HANNITY:  Well, Attorney General Barr has warned about it. The Heritage Foundation has identified almost a thousand convictions on the issue of voter fraud, almost 1,300 examples of voter fraud.  You know, the election is now -- anecdotally, there has been reports that maybe your campaign is short on cash.  I made some calls today.  My sources say that is not the case, that you haven't --
TRUMP:  No.  
HANNITY:  -- a little shy of $300 million. But I was told by a friend in Florida that Joe Biden has three to one ads running against yours.  Is this a strategy?  You are waiting?  Or is this something that you didn't want -- maybe you are just ramping up after Labor Day?  
TRUMP:  So, four years ago, I won it in the last month.  And we have about three times more cash now than we had then.  And that's without me putting up any.  If I needed extra, I'll put it up myself.  I just -- I said that two days ago.  I said, if there's any necessary extra cash.  
But we have a lot of money coming in and small donors.  I haven't been heavy on big donors, because I don't want to call them.  You know, when you call big donors (AUDIO GAP), in a very compromising (ph) position, when somebody puts up a lot of money, you are in a compromised position.  Whether you say it, whether you don't say it, it doesn't matter.  And what I like are the small donors.  
But, no, we have substantially more, two to three times more than we had four years ago at this time.  And four years ago, we won.  But if we need it anymore, if I saw that we were going to need more, I would put it up myself, absolutely.  
HANNITY:  Mr. President, we have an election in -- we have less than 20 seconds for you, an election in just 55 days.  Twenty seconds, what this means to you, this election, and what does it mean to the country?  
TRUMP:  If and when we win, we are going to have the greatest economy in the history of our country.  It will be next year.  And you will see numbers like you have never seen, with tax cuts and regulation cuts, further, already done the biggest tax cut in history.  But we're going to do a great job.  And we're going to keep our military and our vets very, very happy. 
HANNITY:  Mr. President, from the White House tonight, thank you so much for joining us.  
TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  
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