Donald Trump called into Rush Limbaugh’s radio show on Friday for what was billed as a “rally,” and it turned into a two-hour marathon of media bashing, insistence that there is a COVID-19 cure, and a reversal on where the president stands on another coronavirus relief package.
As he did on previous interviews, Trump called for indictments of political rivals, and chided his attorney general, William Barr, for reports that he would not finish an investigation of the Mueller investigation until after the election.
Trump also bashed Fox News, as he has done before, arguing that the network “is a much different thing that it was four years ago. Somebody said, ‘What is the biggest difference? I said the biggest difference is Fox.”
He singled out Paul Ryan, the former House speaker, who is a member of the board of directors of Fox Corp.
“You watch this Fox, and it is a whole different ballgame,” Trump said. “And you know Paul Ryan is on the board of Fox. So I am sure that has something to do with it.”
Limbaugh responded, “The obstacles that keep being placed in front of you are no doubt there.”
Trump went on. “When Roger Ailes ran Fox, I mean Roger had a very strong point of view that is totally gone, and I think it is influenced by Paul Ryan.”
The president singled out two commentators, Chris Hahn and Donna Brazile, for criticism, but said that he liked Fox & Friends, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Tucker Carlson, he said, “is pretty good,” and “has his moments.”
Later, Limbaugh said to Trump, “You are a TV expert. I mean, there’s no question. The Apprentice.”
“Well, I have to be. I have no choice because otherwise you couldn’t survive it,” Trump said.
Trump has devoted a lopsided number of interviews to the channel, and called in to two of its shows, Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo and Hannity on Thursday. The president is scheduled to make his first on-camera appearance on Friday night on Tucker Carlson Tonight, where Dr. Marc Siegel will conduct and interview and medical evaluation.
Trump also criticized Fox News Sunday Chris Wallace for the way he moderated the first presidential debate. The president said that he won, and when it came to his repeated interruptions of Joe Biden, he claimed it actually might have spared him.
“I’d rather let him speak because he’s mentally gone, and occasionally he’d get off track and start talking about the birds and the bees,” Trump said.
Trump also signaled a reversal on the talks for another COVID-19 relief bill. Earlier this week, he said that he was calling off negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi until after the election. He told Limbaugh, “I would like to see a bigger stimulus package than either the Democrats or Republicans are offering.”
He also used an expletive when talking about Iran, telling Limbaugh, “They have been put on notice. If you f— around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are going to do to you, things to you that have never been done before.”