For his first network interview since entering the Oval Office, President Trump sat down with David Muir to discuss his stance on immigration, torture, voter fraud and, of course, his planned border wall.
During the interview, which aired Wednesday night on ABC, Trump revealed that his campaign promise that he would build a wall "and Mexico will pay for it" isn't completely straightforward. Though U.S. taxpayers will be responsible for financing it at first, he explained, "we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico," assuring Muir that Mexico would pay the U.S. back "100 percent."
On his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, he told Muir that he is launching an investigation to determine if there was voter fraud in the U.S. election, specifically if there were some voters who were "dead, illegal and [registered in] two states, and some cases three states. We have a lot to look into."
He was also direct with the ABC anchor about how his network covered inauguration day: Trump told him that the crowd numbers that he saw "from all of the various sources, we had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches," and the way some networks covered it "demeaned that crowd."
Below are the most revealing moments from Trump's ABC sit-down.
1. Mexico will pay for the wall, eventually. Trump explained that "we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico" for the planned wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which will begin construction "as soon as we can." In the end, he promised, "that wall will cost us nothing."
2. Torture "absolutely" works. "I want to keep our country safe," Trump stressed on the topic of torture. "I have spoken to others in intelligence, and they are big believers in waterboarding because they say it does work." Saying that he will go with what his military leaders advise, he added that he isn't opposed to waterboarding. "As far as I'm concerned, we have to fight fire with fire." But in the end: "Do I feel it works? Absolutely I feel it works."
3. On inauguration crowds: Some media outlets "tried to demean me unfairly." "That was some crowd," he told Muir, who asked Trump if he worried about sending the message that crowd size was that important to him, referring to Trump's outrage that the media misrepresented the impact of the day. But Trump responded that when he looked at the numbers that came in "from all of the various sources, we had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches," and the way networks covered the event "demeaned that crowd." They showed up "because they like me, but more importantly like what I'm saying." He even showed Muir a photo that he had framed in the White House of the inauguration crowd: "They loved what I had to say."
4. Of those "fraudulent" votes: "None of 'em come to me." Trump, on his plan to launch an investigation of voter fraud in the U.S. election, assured Muir that the supposed fraud didn't affect the election on his end. "Of those votes cast, none of 'em come to me. They would all be for the other side." Also, he says, he "would have won the popular vote if I was campaigning for the popular vote," which he says he did not. What's important, according to Trump? "Millions of people agree with me."
5. On his CIA speech: Only Fox News covered it correctly. "That speech was a home run," Trump said, but he told Muir that his network (ABC) didn't cover his speech accurately. "I got a standing ovation," he insisted. "You and other networks covered it very inaccurately. I hate to say this to you and you probably won't put it on, but turn on Fox and see how it was covered," he told the anchor, insisting that ABC and other media outlets "tried to downplay that speech, and it was very, very unfortunate."
See a clip from the interview below.
Pres. Trump "won't allow" anyone to demean people in Inauguration crowd: "We had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches." pic.twitter.com/13dHFLbqn1
- ABC News (@ABC) January 26, 2017