Inskeep asked if Republican Sen. Mike Rounds is right to say that insisting the 2020 election was stolen will dissuade Republicans from voting in future elections.
Obviously, Trump did not agree. “No, I think it’s an advantage, because otherwise they’re going to do it again in ’22 and ’24, and Rounds is wrong on that. Totally wrong.”
“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the findings in Arizona, if you look at what’s going on in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, by the way, and take a look at Wisconsin, they’re finding things that nobody thought possible,” Trump continued. “This was a corrupt election.”
But, Inskeep pointed out, the guy who ran the Arizona “audit” said that the ballots were counted correctly and there was nothing that would have changed the results of the election.
“The ballots may correspond, but look at the ballots themselves,” Trump responded. “What you really have to do with that report is look at the findings, and the findings are devastating for Arizona, they’re devastating like nobody’s seen before, and other states are just as bad.”
So, Inskeep asked, why did Republicans in Arizona accept the report? “Because they’re RINOs, and frankly, a lot of people are questioning that.”
Trump didn’t just lose the election and the various recount efforts after it. He also lost in court a whole lot, and Inskeep challenged him with statements both by a Trump-appointed judge who heard one of those cases and by two of Trump’s own lawyers admitting that “We are not alleging fraud” and “This is not a fraud case.” That exchange continued the escalation of Trump’s agitation toward the moment when he hung up, as he made more and more allegations of outright election theft.
“You look at the number of votes. Go into Detroit and just ask yourself, is it true that there are more votes than there are voters? Look at Pennsylvania. Look at Philadelphia. Is it true that there were far more votes than there were voters?” (It is not even a little bit true that there were more votes than there were voters. Turnout in Detroit was just 51%, for instance.)
NPR didn’t play the entire interview unedited, but they played snippets from Trump’s increasingly unhinged responses. Republicans like Rounds apparently feel free to tell the truth about 2020 “Because Mitch McConnell is a loser,” for instance.
The interview came to a close as, over Inskeep’s efforts to interject, Trump ranted, “No sitting president has ever gotten the number of votes that I got—no sitting president, do you, I, nobody believes, you think Biden got 80 million votes? How come when he went to speak in different locations nobody came to watch, but all of a sudden he got 80 million votes, nobody believes it.”
“If you’ll forgive me, maybe because the election was about you,” Inskeep answered, then asked if Trump’s endorsement of 2022 candidates was contingent on those candidates pressing his 2020 claims. “The ones that are smart” will do so, Trump responded, then moved on to ranting some more. “People have no idea how big this issue is and they don’t want it to happen again. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen and they don’t want it to happen again, and the only way it’s not going to happen again is you have to solve the problem of the presidential rigged election of 2020, so Steve, thank you very much, I appreciate it.”
And then he hung up before Inskeep could ask about a court case on Trump’s liability for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In short, Trump’s skin hasn’t gotten any thicker in the past year and he hasn’t gotten any more interested in telling the truth. He is a small, weak man huddled in a comforting cocoon of lies he’s constructed for himself. Most days he doesn’t risk talking to anyone who might disrupt his fantasy world. And when he does, as here, we see just how weak and unable to cope with reality he is. It would be pathetic if he wasn’t still so dangerous.