Former President Donald Trump, who is vying for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. In an interview with Kristen Welker, Trump spoke about his criminal charges, the possibility of him selecting a female running mate, his stance on the Republicans’ abortion policies, and more.
Trump, who has been indicted four times, currently faces 91 criminal charges related to attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state of Georgia, illegal retention of classified documents, defrauding banks and insurers, and falsifying business records to hide hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had a sexual encounter with Trump prior to the 2016 election race.
The former President has continuously claimed his innocence and has pleaded “not guilty” in court. Trump has also continued to allege that the 2020 election was rigged.
Despite his legal troubles, Trump is hoping to be the 2024 GOP presidential nominee, where he is facing off against candidates like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his own former Vice President Mike Pence.
During his sit-down interview with Welker, the businessman covered a number of controversial topics. See the highlights, below.
Trump discusses the possibility of pardoning himself if he’s elected
Trump says that he chose not to pardon himself before leaving the Oval Office, saying he “had no interest in ever thinking about it.”
“The last thing I’d ever do is give myself a pardon,” Trump told Welker. “The last day I could have had a pardon done that would have saved me all of these lawyers and all of these fake charges.”
Trump added that it’s “very unlikely” he’ll pardon himself in the future if he gets elected because he believes he has done nothing wrong.
Trump did not listen to lawyers who said he lost the election
Former President Trump admitted that he challenged the 2020 election, despite top administration officials and lawyers advising him that there was no evidence of fraud. Asked why he ignored them, he said: “I didn’t respect them as lawyers.” He added that he did not listen to campaign attorneys because those lawyers were “RINOs,” which stands for Republicans in Name Only.
Trump, however, did abide by the suggestions given to him from other outside attorneys. But the ultimate decision was his. “I listened to myself. I saw what happened… my instincts are a big part of it, that’s been the thing that’s gotten me to where I am, he said.
Trump denies involvement in Biden impeachment efforts
Trump denied any involvement in efforts to impeach President Joe Biden, which was announced on Sept.12 by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy said that Republicans had drawn evidence pointing to a “culture of corruption” in the Biden family, and were investigating whether President Biden benefitted from his son, Hunter Biden’s business deals abroad.
Trump said that he had not spoken to McCarthy about the current impeachment inquiry, noting: “I don’t talk to him like that.” He added that McCarthy would not have taken that decision based on him.
Trump says he needed 22,000 more votes to win the election, but is still adamant the race was rigged
Trump said that he needed about 22,000 more votes in order to win the 2020 election, but he fell short of admitting that he lost. “I say I won the election,” he told Welker, when she asked if he was acknowledging that he didn’t win.
Trump speaks out against abortion bans with no exceptions
The former President also spoke out against abortion bans that had no exceptions for the health of the mother, or in cases of sexual assault.
“Other than certain parts of the country, you can’t — you’re not going to win on this issue,” Trump said, signaling that Republican legislators would not get popular support for passing broad abortion bans. “But you will win on this issue when you come up with the right number of weeks.”
Trump did not specify the exact scope of abortion regulations he would support but said he would work on a number that both sides would agree with.
Trump is open to picking a female running mate
Trump, who remains focused on winning the Republican presidential nomination, said he still has not picked a running mate. The former President revealed that he will “pick the best person,” but likes the idea of choosing a woman.
Welker pointed out South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who fully endorsed Trump during a September rally, as a potential candidate for Vice President. Trump called the governor “fantastic.”
“Certainly she’d be one of the people I’d consider, or for something else maybe. But we have a lot of people. We have a lot of great people in the Republican Party,” Trump said. If picked, Noem seems likely to accept, according to an interview with Newsmax on Sept. 7.
Trump says he could resolve conflicts between Russia and Ukraine
The former President also said that he could resolve conflicts between Russia and Ukraine. “I would get him [Putin] into a room. I’d get Zelensky into a room. Then I’d bring them together. And I’d have a deal worked out… It would have been a lot easier before it started. Essentially for four years, I kept them from doing anything,” he claimed. Trump did not share his exact strategy for getting the countries to make a “fair deal.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin previously spoke highly of Trump’s claims that he could resolve issues between the countries rapidly, saying that he could not “help but feel happy about it.” When asked about what he made of Putin’s support, Trump said he “like[s] that he said that.”
Trump’s actions on Jan. 6
Welker asked the former President about his actions on Jan. 6th, when thousands of rioters took over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. protesting against Trump’s election loss. During the attack on the Capitol, Trump told demonstrators to “go home,” adding that they were special and loved.
Trump has faced staunch criticism for his remarks toward the rioters and is charged with conspiring to block the election certification process in Congress, among other election-related charges. Former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham previously claimed, in an interview with CNN’s News Day, that the former President was “gleefully” watching the rioters via a television in the White House, rewinding the footage and watching their actions over and over again.
During his Meet the Press interview, Trump declined to comment on what he was doing during the early hours of Jan. 6, and did not say whether he called military or law enforcement. When asked whether he would pardon figures who were at the attack on the Capitol, like Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, Trump said that he would look into it.