Trump abruptly ends interview after NPR journalist grills him on GOP's Big Lie

Trump hangs up on NPR journalist when questioned about 2020 election conspiracy

By Jon Skolnik

Staff Writer

Published January 12, 2022 11:15AM (EST)

Former U.S. President Donald Trump (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Former U.S. President Donald Trump (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Donald Trump abruptly hung up on an NPR reporter while being questioned about his steadfast belief that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen," insisting that Republicans should doubt President Joe Biden's electoral victory. 

Trump's rage-quit came in a Wednesday interview with NPR journalist Steve Inskeep, who pressed Trump on why he was still pushing his voter fraud claims amid overwhelming evidence that the election was free and fair. Trump called it "an advantage" to continue waging his election conspiracy, saying that "otherwise," the Democrats are "going to do it [steal the election] again in '22 and '24."

RELATED: Trump trashes GOP senator as "woke" for acknowledging that 2020 election was "fair"

"If I can just move on to ask, are you telling Republicans in 2022 that they must press your case on the past election in order to get your endorsement?" Inskeep later asked the former president. "Is that an absolute?" 

"They are going to do whatever they want to do—whatever they have to do, they're going to do. But the ones that are smart—the ones that know, you take a look at," Trump responded. "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."

Inskeep then attempted to pivot to a different question about a January 6 court hearing held on Wednesday, but Trump interrupted, still answering the last question: "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," Trump added, before hanging up. 

During the nine-minute interview, originally scheduled for fifteen minutes, Trump spoke on a narrow range of different subjects, including vaccination, the 2020 election, and his Republican opponents. 

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Asked about the vaccines, Trump said that Biden's vaccine-or-test mandate, currently being scrutinized by the Supreme Court, is "hurting our country."

"A lot of Americans aren't standing for it, and it's hurting our country," he claimed. "The vaccines, I recommend taking them, but I think that has to be an individual choice. I mean, it's got to be individual, but I recommend taking them."

In another point of the interview, Trump baselessly claimed that the election results in Detroit were "out of balance," even though Michigan Republicans found no evidence of outcome-altering voter fraud in the entire state. 

RELATED: "No evidence" of fraud: Michigan GOP committee rejects Trump's "ludicrous" claims

"Go into Detroit and just ask yourself, is it true that there are more votes than there are voters?" Trump asked without providing a modicum of evidence. "Look at Pennsylvania. Look at Philadelphia. Is it true that there were far more votes than there were voters?"

"It is not true," Inskeep responded. 

Later, Trump implied that Biden's win couldn't have been possible based on the turnout of the president's campaign events. 

"How come Biden couldn't attract 20 people for a crowd?" Trump asked. "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 that, Steve. Nobody believes that."

Biden's inauguration was the third most watched in presidential history, just behind former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.

By Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik was a former staff writer at Salon.

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Donald Trump Npr Steve Inskeep