President Trump appeared to double down on several unsubstantiated claims during an interview published Thursday on “truth and falsehoods.”
During the interview with Time magazine, the president defended previous claims he had made about the father of Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzWith no emerging leaders, no clear message, Democrats flounder Trump defends several unsubstantiated claims in interview Budowsky: Trump’s war against truth MORE (R-Texas), Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11 and widespread voter fraud.
The president pointed to a newspaper article to defend his comments on the campaign trail linking Cruz’s father with President Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.
“Well that was in a newspaper. No, no, I like Ted Cruz, he’s a friend of mine. But that was in the newspaper,” the president said of his former rival for the GOP presidential nomination.
“I wasn’t, I didn’t say that. I was referring to a newspaper. A Ted Cruz article referred to a newspaper story with, had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald, having breakfast.”
Trump questioned why he would have to apologize for quoting a newspaper.
The president similarly cited a report when asked about his claims that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“Well if you look at the reporter, he wrote the story in The Washington Post,” Trump said.
When asked about his claims that 3 million people voted illegally in the election, the president predicted he would be “proved right about that too.”
“Well now if you take a look at the votes, when I say that, I mean mostly they register wrong, in other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly, and/or illegally,” he said.
“And they then vote. You have tremendous numbers of people. In fact I’m forming a committee on it.”
He further defended his comments, saying he’s heard people say more than 3 million people voted illegally.
“We will see after we have,” the president said. “But there will be, we are forming a committee. And we are going to do a study on it, a very serious problem.”
Trump also pointed to his comments earlier this year on Sweden, when he referred during a rally to what happened “last night” in Sweden. He claimed he was right about Sweden, too.
“I talked about Sweden, and may have been somewhat different, but the following day, two days later, they had a massive riot in Sweden, exactly what I was talking about, I was right about that,” Trump said.
And when discussing his claims that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower ahead of the election, the president clarified that when he said wiretapping, it was “in quotes.”
“Because a wiretapping is, you know today it is different than wiretapping. It is just a good description,” Trump said.
“But wiretapping was in quotes. What I’m talking about is surveillance. And today, [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Devin Nunes just had a news conference.”
When asked if he thinks FBI Director James Comey’s testimony earlier this week takes away from the credibility of the tweets the president put out, Trump said he has “articles saying it happened.”
The president called himself a “very instinctual person.”
“But my instinct turns out to be right,” he said. “When everyone said I wasn’t going to win the election, I said well I think I would.”
On his credibility, the president had a simple response.
“Hey, look,” he said. “I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president and you’re not.”