From Indictments to 'Corrupt' Biden: What Did Trump Reveal in Carlson Sit Down?
03:22 GMT 24.08.2023 (Updated: 10:45 GMT 24.08.2023)
Sidestepping tradition, former US President Donald Trump opted against participating in the very first GOP debate of the 2024 election cycle. The one-time commander-in-chief has explained that due to his high polling figures and his White House track record, the public already know what he's all about.
Rather than taking part in the August 23 Republican debate, former US President Donald Trump instead chose to take part in a pre-recorded interview with former Fox host Tucker Carlson that was published minutes before the GOP event kicked off.
While many critics have said Trump's timing is largely to do with shifting voter focus away from the debate and into his back pocket, the jury is still out on whether the stunt has indeed pulled focus.
The Wednesday interview proved widespread and touched on a variety of topics, including the collapsing cable news, his growing list of indictments and his long road back to the White House in 2024, among other hot-button talking points.
US Should Not Let China Control Panama Canal
Speaking to China's efforts strengthen ties with Panama, the former US president told Carlson that the US should by no means allow China to keep the Panama Canal under its control.
"They [China] actually control the Panama Canal, they run it, they control it, and we should not let that happen," Trump urged, before pivoting to unsubstantiated reports China is looking to set up base in Cuba and stressing that the US "cannot let China be in Cuba."
Trump later promised to push China out if he wins the 2024 presidential election. At the same time, he mentioned he had a good relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. "He respected this country, he respected me," Trump said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in July that Beijing will further develop friendly relations with Panama and use the Panama Canal to encourage global trade. According to the ministry, China has already become the second-largest partner of the Panama Canal.
The Panama Canal, which was informally open to traffic in August 1914, is one of the two most strategic artificial waterways in the world, along with the Suez Canal.
US Cable TV News Collapsing
Touching on the changing platform of cable television news, Trump commented that the system was collapsing, CNN's viewer ratings are rock bottom, and now Fox News is collapsing because they have all lost their credibility with the American people.
"I think cable (news) is down because it has lost credibility: It is corrupt news," Trump said in the interview, which was podcast on X, formerly know as Twitter.
All the three main cable television news channels, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News are suffering from plummeting ratings because the American public has lost faith in their honesty, reliability and credibility, Trump insisted.
By contrast, Trump noted his own ratings in opinion polls despite the repeated efforts now to indict him on various charges, were the highest they had ever been.
Trump's comments come as earlier US media reports indicated Trump opted to steer clear of the Wednesday GOP debate over his growing dislike of the Fox News station, and more specifically against Rupert Murdoch, who serves as the chair of the Fox Corporation.
The separation between Fox News and Trump grew clearer during election night in 2020, when Fox chose to call the state of Arizona for now-US President Joe Biden.
New Indictments Always Possible
Fresh off of being hit with a total of four indictments, the former president informed Carlson that - at this point in time - he does not rule out the possibility of more filings being submitted against him.
The comment came as Carlson noted that Trump's polling numbers remained high despite the former commander-in-chief having been hit with the quartet of filings, two of which were entered as part of the special counsel investigation and two other brought by state efforts.
The four indictments center around Trump's business practices, mishandling of classified documents and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
"Makes it look even more ridiculous," Trump said. "I mean the four indictments and maybe there will be more. These people are crazy."
Trump went on to commend his supporters for sticking by him despite the indictments, which the former president has repeatedly stated are meant to serve as an political attack to halt his bid in the 2024 election.
"When someone gets indicted, their poll numbers go down," Trump pointed out, adding that the charges being tossed against him were all "nonsense" and ultimately "bullsh**."
Comparing how he's been treated by the media to how figures have reacted to Biden's mishandling of government documents and the alleged pay-to-play scheme encircling the Biden family's business dealings, Trump underscored there were stark differences in the two.
Biden, the 'Manchurian Candidate'
Looking to his 2024 bid to regain the Oval Office, Trump used the pre-recorded interview to take multiple shots at Biden by commenting on both his competence and mental sharpness.
“I think he is the most corrupt president we’ve ever had, and he also has the distinction of being the most incompetent,” Trump said, at one point opting to refer to the current US president as a “Manchurian candidate.”
Although Trump was often criticized by the media for taking more than just the handful of trips to either his New Jersey golf resort or his Mar-a-Lago Florida estate during his presidency, he went full-steam ahead when it came to Biden's recent beach trip.
“They love pictures of him on the beach. I think he looks terrible on the beach,” Trump commented, adding that such a vacation isn't something the US leader should be doing. "You're supposed to be working."
However, Trump went on to say that despite his negative opinion of Biden's mental capacity, he'd "love to run against him because his record is so bad," specifically mentioning the president's current handling of the economy. “It’s still horrible when you look at inflation and everything else.”
Trump later remarked that if Biden fails to get the Democratic nomination, it would turn into a "free for all" among other contenders in the party.