MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images Donald Trump
President Donald Trump is threatening to air his own footage of an upcoming 60 Minutes interview that he "cut short" earlier this week, complaining on Twitter that the questions were “biased.”
Trump, in the final days of his campaign against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, is focusing on how he said CBS News' correspondent Lesley Stahl is treating him versus Biden — even as the former vice president presses a message about the novel coronavirus pandemic.
White House sources, meanwhile, say the interview did not end in fireworks and they criticized Stahl's interviewing style.
One White House source told the Post: “The interview was not that bad. It wasn’t a bad interview. She just had a tone he didn’t like.”
Trump, who relishes fighting with the press, also tweeted a short clip of Stahl, 78, not wearing a mask, which a person at CBS News familiar with the interview tells PEOPLE was taken immediately following the interview, while she spoke to her producers.
All of them had tested negative for the coronavirus disease COVID-19 before entering the White House, the source says.
The network source also says the White House had agreed they were taping the interview “for archival purposes only.”
Trump suggested otherwise on his Twitter while attacking what he deemed “fake news,” or critical news coverage he dislikes.
(Trump has recently favored friendly interviews with conservative commentators such as Sean Hannity, though an interview he did with the website Axios in the summer made headlines for his flippant tone when pressed about coronavirus victims.)
“I am pleased to inform you that, for the sake of accuracy in reporting, I am considering posting my interview with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes, PRIOR TO AIRTIME! This will be done so that everybody can get a glimpse of what a FAKE and BIASED interview is all about,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “Everyone should compare this terrible Electoral Intrusion with the recent interviews of Sleepy Joe Biden!”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Wednesday there was a "high probability" Trump will post the footage before CBS News does, CNN reported.
On Fox Business on Wednesday, Meadows said that Trump "didn't walk out" and he challenged "the characterization of that."
"He spent over 45 minutes with Lesley Stahl," Meadows said. "I've looked at every single minute of the interview ... we have tape of every single minute."
He went on to criticize Stahl — who has a history of probing interviews with politicians, entrepreneurs and others — as coming across "more as an opinion journalist."
A senior White House official echoed Meadows comments, tells PEOPLE that Trump spoke with Stahl for “more than 40 minutes” before the interview ended.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Donald Trump
CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell said on the Tuesday broadcast that the interview ended after Trump had it “cut short.”
Trump was asked about his handling on the COVID-19 pandemic, his inflammatory rhetoric towards Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, his decision to promote unsafe public gatherings at his campaign rallies amid the pandemic, as well as his attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading health official on infectious disease, according to the Post.
After leaving his Stahl sit-down, Trump did not return for a scheduled segment in which he was supposed to do a “walk-and-talk” style interview alongside Pence, CNN reported.The senior White House official familiar with the interview accused Stahl of being “very antagonistic and seemed ill-prepared in a wide ranging interview,” when asked about the interview by PEOPLE.
CBS declined to comment on the record, beyond what O’Donnell said on the nightly news Tuesday — though it seems likely Trump's frustration will feature into the eventual 60 Minutes segment on Sunday.
The episode will also include an interview with Biden.
60 Minutes airs Sundays (7:30 p.m. ET) on CBS.