UPDATED with details: In his first interview as POTUS with Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump walked back his claim that Barack Obama wiretapped his Trump Tower office during the election, continuing the work White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had begun the previous day.
“Wiretap covers a lot of different things,” Trump told Carlson, finally breaking his 11-day silence on the wiretapping topic.
“I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks,” Trump added.
Asked how he got his information, Trump responded, “Well, I’ve been reading about things. I read in…a New York Times article where they were talking about wiretapping…I think they used that exact term. I read other things.”
Carlson wondered why he did not wait to tweet about it until he could prove his accusation, adding, “Don’t you devalue your words when you can’t provide evidence? “
“Because The New York Times wrote about it. Not that I respect The New York Times,” Trump answered. “I call it the failing New York Times. But they did write on January 20 using the word ‘wiretap’.”
Eventually, Tucker asked Trump if he talks to anyone before tweeting and is there anyone at the White House who can talk him out of a tweet.
“I think that maybe I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Twitter,” Trump said. “I get such a fake press, such a dishonest press…I think Fox has been fair to me, but if you look at CNN and if you look at these other networks, NBC — I made a fortune for NBC with The Apprentice. I had a top show where they were doing horribly, and I had one of the most successful reality shows of all time. I made — and I was on 14 seasons. And you see what happened when I’m not on. You saw what happened to the show was a disaster. I was on — I was very good to NBC, and I — they are despicable.”
Carlson also wondered why Trump tweeted his accusation about Obama so soon after delivering his address to the Joint Session of Congress, which abruptly ended talk, in such quarters as CNN, about Trump finally becoming presidential.
“Excuse me. I had a very successful night…I got reviews even from people that I would never think I was going to get good reviews. I got great reviews. And then all of a sudden they came up with a new dialogue in order to kill that…So the news is not honest.
“When I have close to 100 million people watching me on Twitter, including Facebook, including all of the Instagram, including POTUS, including lots of things — have my own form of media. So if I tweet two or three or four or five times a day, and if most of them are good — and I really want them all to be good — but if I make one mistake in a month — this one, I don’t think is going to prove to be a mistake at all.”