Trump defends gun control, climate change positions in wide-ranging interview
Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump defended his positions on climate change, gun control and even his tweeting and eating habits during a rare, wide-ranging interview with British television personality Piers Morgan.
Although portions of the ITV interview, conducted this past week in Davos, Switzerland, had been released, the entire exchange aired Sunday night in the U.K.
In a previously unseen excerpt, Morgan asked Trump what was being done to stop shootings in the U.S. in the wake of this past week’s high school shooting in Kentucky in which two 15-year-old students died and more than 18 others were wounded.
When Morgan said accused Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had bought 55 guns legally in the year prior to the October shooting that killed 58 people, Trump responded, “Well, we do have gun control laws and this sick person –- he was a sicko. I mean that’s the big problem –- they’re sick people. If he didn’t have a gun, he would have had a bomb, or would have something else.”
When Morgan repeated that Paddock had bought 55 guns, Trump said: “The point is, he would have had 55 bombs. He would have had 55 of something else.”
“I’m a Second Amendment person. I think you need it for security,” Trump said. “You’ve had so many attacks, where there was only a gun -– a bad person’s gun -– going in this direction and if you had one on the other side. In fact, that’s a very big example. And if they had the bullets going in the opposite direction, you would have saved a lot of lives.”
When asked about his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord and whether he believes climate change exists, Trump answered, “There is a cooling and there’s a heating — I mean, look, it used to not be climate change. It used to be global warming,” Trump said. “That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt. They were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records, okay? They’re at a record level.
A NASA report from last March said satellite images showed Arctic and Antarctic wintertime sea ice at record lows.
“I’ll tell you what I believe in,” Trump continued. “I believe in clean air. I believe in crystal clear, beautiful water. I believe in just having good cleanliness and all.”
Trump added, “We could go back into the Paris Accord, but it would have to be a completely different deal. As usual, they took advantage of the United States. We were in a terrible deal.”
Later, when Morgan asked Trump to respond to how he’s portrayed — as Morgan put it — as either someone delivering on his promises or a “raging, tweeting, wrecking ball who’s destroying the country and terrifying the entire planet,” Trump replied, “I plead not guilty. I think I shook things up. The country had to be shaken up.”
On whether his tweeting habits distracted from his message, Trump said he doesn’t call it tweeting but instead “social media” — what he said is “a modern-day form of communication” he uses to counter “fake news.”
“And are you actually lying in bed with your phone, working out how to wind everybody up?” Morgan asked.
“Well, perhaps sometimes in bed and perhaps sometimes at breakfast or lunch or whatever,” Trump responded. “But generally speaking, during the early morning or during the evening, I can do that. But if I’m very busy during the day I’ll sometimes just dictate out something really quickly and I’ll give it to one of my people to put it on.”
Morgan also asked Trump about his health following his recent physical.
“Everyone was being led to believe that you were insane and physically incredibly unfit,” Morgan said. “It turned out from your recent medical that you are 30 for 30 on your cognitive tests.”
“Which most people are not going to do too well,” Trump said.
When Morgan noted Trump had called himself a “stable genius,” Trump answered, “Yep. I am a stable genius.”
Shifting to the president’s diet, Morgan noted: “We do see lots of pictures of you with burgers and Cokes and stuff.”
Trump responded: “Don’t want to change it. Nope — don’t want to change that, no.
“They build that up. I eat fine food,” Trump continued. “I eat really the finest — some of the finest chefs in the world. I eat healthy food. I also have some of that food on occasion. Sometimes it makes sense. Actually, when you’re campaigning, there’s a lot of sense to it because it’s you know, boom boom boom. But, uh, no I think I eat actually quite well.”
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