Lesley Stahl told President Trump up front: “You know, this is ’60 Minutes.’ And we can’t put on things we can’t verify.” On Sunday night, the show remained true to its word.
The venerable CBS newsmagazine aired significant portions of the interview it conducted with President Trump earlier this week, even though the White House broke an agreement that a tape it made of the proceedings would only be used for archival material. In Trump’s exchange with Stahl, he attempts to offer a rosier-than-accurate view of how the nation is grappling with coronavirus, attempts to pass along debunked reports about the business activities of his Democratic challenger’s son, and spars with the interviewer over the nature of her questions.
In the end, Trump cuts the interview, short, telling Stahl “you brought up a lot of subjects that were inappropriately brought up,” prompting Stahl to respond, ” Well, I said, I’m going to ask you tough questions.”
The interview was conducted as part of a “60 Minutes” election-year tradition: interviewing the Republican and Democratic contenders for the office of President and Vice-President. Indeed, part of Sunday’s “60 Minutes” broadcast is devoted to an exchange between Norah O’Donnell and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
The program used Stahl’s in-conversation responses, narration and clips of Trump from rallies to vet his statements. “We had prepared to talk about the many issues and questions facing the President, but in what has become an all-too-public dust-up, the conversation was cut short,” says Stahl, in narration that accompanies the piece. “It began politely, but ended regrettably, contentiously.”
In the segment, Stahl also sheds light on pictures released earlier his week of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany handing her a giant tome, which is said to contain the plan President Trump wants to use to replace Obamacare. “It was heavy, filled with executive orders, congressional initiatives,” Stahl tells viewers. “But no comprehensive health plan.”
Biden and Harris, meanwhile, respond to hard questions from O”Donnell without much complaint, though they do deflect on occasion. During the course of that interview, O’Donnell asks Biden and Harris about whether Harris can support Biden initiatives with which she previously disagreed; Biden’s mental acuity; their view of the U..S. court system; and Biden’s view on funding for police. Biden and Harris never insult the interviewer or tell her they’ve had enough of her questions.