WASHINGTON (Gray Media) – Gray Television’s primetime election special, “Full Court Press: Election Countdown” hosted by Chief National Political Analyst Greta Van Susteren, includes interviews with President Donald Trump and former Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a member of Joe Biden’s White House transition team.
The show will also feature a panel of Michigan voters and a story by Investigate TV’s Lee Zurik on the lack of oversight relating to online political ads.
“Full Court Press: Election Countdown” airs Thursday, Sept. 17 and Friday, Sept. 18 during primetime on Gray TV’s ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliated stations. For information on channel listings and showtimes, please visit FullCourtGreta.com.
This election special coincides with the one-year anniversary of Gray TV’s “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren,” which airs in over 83% of the United States and Gray’s 94 markets nationwide, including in New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. The show airs in syndication on 157 stations.
The interview highlights are below.
The full transcript of the President Trump interview can be found here.
Selected video segments of the Trump interview can be found here. Please courtesy “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” / Gray TV when using.
“I think we did a great job with coronavirus, except at public relations," Trump said on his administration’s COVID response. “They spent so much time working. Look, we would have lost two and a half million people, as I’ve said. We’re at 185,000, and it’s too much. One person is too much. Because it never should have been allowed to happen by China. They should have never allowed it out. They stopped it from going into China, but they didn’t stop it from going into us.”
He commented on the response from the media and Democrats to his administration’s handling of the pandemic.
“We did a great job except public relations-wise, my people got outplayed," he said. “Just like you said before, Nancy Pelosi said this or that, no matter what you do, if you say, ‘We did this,’ they say, ‘Well, it wasn’t good enough.’ If you say, ‘We did that...’ This is standard fare for the Democrats. They say it wasn’t good enough.”
“We did a phenomenal job on coronavirus, a phenomenal job," he said. “Ventilators, vaccines, wait until you see, we almost have the vaccine. A Biden campaign, a Biden administration wouldn’t have had it for three or four years, okay? You know that. They couldn’t get anything through the FDA. But take a look at the swine flu. They had the swine flu, which was much easier than what we had, much lesser. The swine flu, it was a total disaster. And the person that said it was the man that headed it up. It was so bad, they gave up, they totally gave up. Now they’re telling us how to run things. It doesn’t work that way.”
“We have vaccines coming in a matter of moments. I mean, literally, it’s very close,” Trump said on the COVID vaccine. “We did a phenomenal job on coronavirus, a phenomenal job. Ventilators, vaccines, wait until you see, we almost have the vaccine. A Biden campaign, a Biden administration wouldn’t have had it for three or four years, okay? You know that. They couldn’t get anything through the FDA.”
Trump commented on the response to Bob Woodward’s book “Rage."
“It’s totally a mischaracterization, and it just keeps going on and on and on and nothing," he said. “I don’t want people to panic. So I’m not going to stand out there and say, ‘Oh, everyone’s going to die. Everyone’s going to die.’ The leader of a country, it’s so ridiculous. Winston Churchill. When he stood in buildings, he was saying how wonderful everything was and be brave and fight and be smart. And don’t panic. In the meantime, bombs were being dropped down on London.”
“So what I said was exactly perfect," he said. "And the news goes around this Woodward, who frankly, I mean, I watched him, he’s sort of exhausted. I look at him, I think he’s been very discredited over this. The people that read it, the people that understand it, they’re saying exactly the right thing. I also said last night, I said previously, let my actions speak. Because I closed down the border into China, which was heavily infected. Everybody told me don’t do it. It was way too early.”
Trump responded to whether there should be consequences for China.
“I’m not doing much with China right now. I’m not happy with China," he said. “What they did is incredible to the world. Not only to us, 188 countries all over the world. We made a great trade deal with China. It’s already proven to be a great trade deal. The farmers are doing better than they’ve ever done, the manufacturers. But I consider that very small, relative to what happened to us, and what happened to Europe and what happened to the world.”
Trump responded to a recent ABC poll said that 67% of people say they’re skeptical of how Trump handled COVID.
“Well, first of all, I think we’re going to get a lot of Democrats voting for us, because of law and order, because they’re tired of seeing what they’re seeing," he said. “Every Democrat city, or most of them, if you look at the top 25, even the top 50, they’re practically all Democrats cities that are having this horrible time with law and order. The Republican cities are doing very well, because the Democrats have no clue when it comes to law and order. What they’ve done with no cash bail, and so many other things they’ve done is the least of it. And they’re unsafe.”
Trump also responded to the state of the economy.
“I think our third quarter is going to be incredible. And that’s going to be very good before the election because people see I know how to handle the economy like nobody else,” he said. “I had it, I opened it up. It became the best we’ve ever had. And then we closed it. We had to. By closing it, we saved two and a half million lives, in my opinion. Two and a half million lives. If we would have gone herd... And I’m fine with herd at a certain level, but not then, we would have had two and a half million people dead. According to many people. I would say that your average. Could have been two million, it could have been a million and a half, but a lot different than the numbers we have right now.”
“John Bolton is incompetent, okay? But here’s what he did: He released classified information, highly classified information and confidential information, all different categories,” Trump said when asked about John Bolton. "John Bolton should never have been allowed to do that. You know, the young sailor that sent a picture home to his mother and other people? They go to jail for a long period of time. You can’t do that. And that was not nearly as vital, as important, as John Bolton. John Bolton is an incompetent person and I’m telling you, all this maniac wanted to do is go to war. Let’s go to war, let’s go to war. He was crazy. But I used him for my own purpose, but ultimately we had to get rid of him.
“You could have one, two, three or four Supreme Court justices for the next president,” Trump said when asked about the Supreme Court and Joe Biden. "And we have conservative, good solid people. I made a list. He can’t make a list because he’s got a bunch of radicals that would go onto the Supreme Court. He would have radical left people. And he can’t put that out because you couldn’t be president if people saw that list.
“If people saw his real list, because Joe isn’t running it,” he said. “The radical left...Joe is gone, let’s face it. You know, we’re all trying to be nice. I don’t have to be nice anymore because you made up a phony military report where I said bad things on the graves of soldiers with many people around. You’re crazy, you know what it’s called, disinformation.”
“And you understand that word, they make up a story and then they go with it. So I don’t have to be nice. Joe is shot. He’s mentally shot,” he said.
“For me, this is personal,” Klobuchar said when asked about the Woodward book and Trump downplaying the COVID threat. “My husband got sick in March and now I find out in February that the president of the United States behind closed doors is telling people it’s deadly. I am not the only person in America thinking like this. There are tons of them, many who paid the ultimate price where they had a family member who died.”
Klobuchar also responded to whether she believes polls are accurate.
“As we make this case of Democrats winning, we have exhibit A, that’s 2018, where all these governors won, Democratic candidates in Wisconsin, in states like Illinois, in the congressional races in Iowa, three of four Democrats,” she said. “There was a major shift around the country. So I think that those polls got better. The pollsters learn things.”
“You have states that have been consistently stronger than people thought for Joe Biden, like Arizona, like North Carolina. So there’s just clearly a national wave going on for a very good reason,” she said.
Klobuchar commented on whether Minnesota is now a battleground state.
“What the people of Minnesota care about is, they work hard, they want a government that works for them,” she said. “This government, this president, isn’t working for them. And I think one of the reasons that Republicans keep saying this, despite the polls, I get why they said it. I would to if I were them early on, is they want to play offense somewhere. So they’re like, ‘Oh, look at the bright, shiny objects of Minnesota and New Hampshire.’ But in fact, the polls keep telling the truth. And I think by the end, you’re going to see the focus on some other states.”
“Well, he offers them what he offers all of us, which is a better future, a safer and more secure country,” Buttigieg said on whether Biden can get Sanders voters. “Remember, there’s already a strong American majority that believes we should empower workers, that believes in science, that knows the current president has failed to protect us from COVID, that understands that the current economic devastation is a direct result of the failure in leadership that we’ve seen. All of that points in a very clear direction, which is a change in leadership. America’s just not better off than we were four years ago.”
Buttigieg commented on Republicans who may not like Trump’s tweets but think he has delivered on his promises.
“Well, if you come for the tax cuts for the wealthy, you’re going to have to stay for the hundreds of thousands of deaths from failed leadership on pandemic,” he said. “Look, the president said he was going to get us all at health care, didn’t happen. The president said that carnage and chaos in the cities, as he described it would come to an end, it got much, much worse on his watch.”
“But perhaps most importantly, our economy, which, remember, he inherited a growing economy, is now in desperate shape because of these manifest failures,” he said.
Buttigieg also responded to whether Biden is strong on the economy:
“You can either vote for continued unsteady, chaotic leadership from a president whose only economic promise he managed to keep was about cutting taxes for the rich and his wealthy friends, or you can elect somebody who actually understands the middle class because he grew up in it and who’s going to do what he’s been doing throughout his career, which is to put working Americans first,” he said.
Ben Frantz, a Biden Supporter from Lansing, Michigan, is the Vice President of Local 652 United Auto Workers.
“I’ll be voting for Joe Biden … I just don’t like the climate of the country,” he said. “I don’t like where we’re moving. And Biden’s been in politics a very long time. He’s been on a team, per se, for a very long time. So let’s see what he can do if he’s running the team.”
Lauren Gentges is a Trump Supporter from Clarkston, Michigan.
“I decided that I 100% want to vote for Trump … I find integrity really important,” she said. "And his long list of accomplishments is a testament to what he can continue doing. Just lots of statistics of unemployment and policy changes that have helped not only small businesses, but families, stay-at-home moms, all of it. And I really feel like he’s working for us small people, so to speak, not just those that are in his inner circle, personally.
About Greta Van Susteren:
Greta Van Susteren is the Chief National Political Analyst for Gray Media and host of Full Court Press. Ms. Van Susteren is a veteran of Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN. Her prime-time Fox News Channel Show, “On the Record,” was number 1 in its time slot for 14 1⁄2 years. Before joining Fox News, she hosted CNN’s prime-time news and analysis program, “The Point with Greta Van Susteren,” and co-hosted the network’s daily legal analysis show, “Burden of Proof.” Her legal analysis for CNN’s coverage of Election 2000 earned her the American Bar Association’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Journalism. She continues to host the weekly 30-minute program “Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren” on Voice of America, which broadcasts exclusively outside of the United States.
About “Full Court Press” and Gray Television:
“Full Court Press” is a Sunday political show broadcast on all Gray Television markets and syndicated in leading cities including New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles covering 80% of the country. Gray Television currently owns and/or operates television stations and leading digital properties in 94 television markets, including the number-one-rated television station in 68 markets and the first or second highest-rated television station in 87 markets. Gray’s television stations cover approximately 24 percent of US television households and broadcast approximately 400 separate programming streams, including nearly 150 affiliates of the CBS/NBC/ABC/FOX networks. Gray Television also owns video program production, marketing, and digital businesses including Raycom Sports, Tupelo-Raycom, and RTM Studios, the producer of PowerNation programs and content. For further information, please visit www.gray.tv.