A Fox News host confronted Donald Trump in a heated interview with a long list of former staffers he appointed and later went against.
Mr Trump was challenged on his hiring choices during his tenure, with Fox News anchor Bret Baier reminding him of his 2016 statement that he was “going to surround myself with only the best and most serious people”.
“Well, I did do that,” Mr Trump responded. “That’s tremendous. Look, we had the best economy we’ve ever had, the world has ever seen.”
Baier then read out a long list of his former allies who are now running against him in the 2024 presidential elections.
He said his former vice president Mike Pence and his former ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley are running against him while his former secretary of state Mike Pompeo is not supporting him.
“You mentioned national security adviser John Bolton. He’s not supporting you either. You mentioned attorney general Bill Barr. Says you shouldn’t be president again. Calls you ‘the consummate narcissist’ and ‘troubled man.’ You recently called Barr a ‘gutless pig’,” he said as Mr Trump watched.
“Your second defence secretary is not supporting you. Called you irresponsible. This week, you called your White House chief of staff John Kelly ‘weak and ineffective’ and ‘born with a very small brain.’ You called your acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney a ‘born loser’,” he added.
“So, why did you hire all of them in the first place?” Baier asked, after adding more references to his aides and officials.
Mr Trump said he had “phenomenal people” without naming anyone and praised his administration “for defeating ISIS”.
“We had phenomenal people in the military. I’m not a fan of Milley and I’m not a fan of certain of the television people. But I knocked out ISIS, I defeated ISIS. They said, Mattis, it will take three years and I don’t think we can do it. I did it in a period of like four weeks,” Mr Trump said, referring to chair of the US joint chiefs of staff Mark Milley and former defence secretary James Mattis.
“There’s a lot of people who praise you for your policies,” Baier responded. “I just said that.”
“That’s true. Well, I mean, you just went through a list. But don’t forget, for every one you say, I had 10 that love us,” Mr Trump said. “Because I hired ten to one that were fantastic… We had a great economy. We had phenomenal people in charge of the economy.”
Mr Trump sat down for an interview for the first time since 2018 with Fox News’s Baier, who also challenged the former president’s election fraud claims during his coverage of the 2020 elections.
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