Home U.S. News Trump, During Tucker Carlson Interview, Belittles Republican Rivals

Trump, During Tucker Carlson Interview, Belittles Republican Rivals

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Trump, During Tucker Carlson Interview, Belittles Republican Rivals

Instead of being subjected to the rigors of a debate, former President Donald J. Trump enjoyed an hour on Wednesday night in which he was able to deliver mostly stream-of-consciousness commentary on politics and the state of the nation, drifting from topics such as the death of Jeffrey Epstein and the challenges of low water pressure to what President Biden’s legs look like on the beach and what he called the “trivia” of the charges lodged against him in four criminal indictments.

His decision to sit out the debate and instead do a pretaped interview with the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson was a tactical one by Mr. Trump, who is leading the Republican primary polls by wide margins. Rather than appearing onstage with people competing with him but largely refusing to criticize him, Mr. Trump was able to use the leading and sympathetic questioning by Mr. Carlson to boast about what he saw as his accomplishments, belittle his rivals and attack President Biden in an unchallenged format.

Early in the 46-minute episode of Mr. Carlson’s show, posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Mr. Carlson asked Mr. Trump why he chose not to join the other candidates at the first primary debate of the election cycle, hosted by Fox News. Mr. Trump replied by attacking Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, and Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey and Mr. Trump’s onetime friend, whom he called a “savage maniac.”

Mr. Trump maintained that authoritarians around the globe were afraid of tangling with him. He again described the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021, as having a spirit of “love” and “unity.”

Mr. Carlson, who raised the topic of Mr. Epstein, asked more than once whether Mr. Trump might be killed by his opponents — Mr. Trump did not answer directly — and pressed Mr. Trump about whether the United States was in danger of falling into civil war.

“I don’t know,” Mr. Trump said. “There’s a level of passion that I’ve never seen. There’s a level of hatred that I’ve never seen and that’s probably a bad combination.”

Asked how he was enduring the four indictments he has faced since March, Mr. Trump responded, “I do get credit for holding up quite well, I must tell you.”

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