Donald Trump Jr. made a rare appearance Tuesday morning on CBS, where the anchors asked him what he’s doing to bring “healing rhetoric” into the national discourse.
But rather than dialing down the rhetoric, Trump Jr. dialed it up, using the question as an opportunity to level an attack on the mainstream media.
The hosts, seemingly caught off guard, soon changed the subject to the president’s son’s political ambitions.
Trump Jr. began with an attack on the Washington Post for referring to the ISIS founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as “an austere religious scholar.” He said the newspaper needs “adults in the room.”
When CBS’s anchors interjected, asking again if he’ll start using “healing rhetoric,” Trump Jr. instead hit the media harder — going after the tendnecy to celebrate trans athletes whom he said he are taking away opportunities for women.
The CBS hosts then pivoted away from the topic altogether and began asking Trump about his political ambitions.
Here’s a transcript of the exchange:
KING: “Don, let’s talk about ‘Triggered.’”
DOKOUPIL: “Yeah, the book is called ‘Triggered.’ Flames on the cover. You’re sending it to your favorite liberals. You have a website set up for that. I have to ask you on the question of this, of course. The thing that everyone seems to agree on in this country is the temperature is too high. People on all sides of political persuasion, they say that. Do you agree that the temperature is too high in this country, that we’re too divided? And if so, what are you doing to heal the divide? Because it seems like you’re doing the opposite.”
TRUMP JR.: “I’d love to see it get back to a place of normalcy. I don’t know that that exists today. When I look at what’s going on, when I look at sort of the media bias, when I look at those things, it makes it very hard for my father it do his job. For example, last weekend, al-Baghdadi, the leader and founder of ISIS — no, it’s important point to make, though, because you can’t say we should get back to normal when ‘The Washington Post’ is calling the leader of ISIS, the guy that lit people on fire in cages, who throws homosexuals off a building, as an austere religious scholar. You know, you need some grown-ups in the room there, too. That’s not working.”
DOKOUPIL: “I’m asking if you’re interested in any kind of healing rhetoric that might bring the country closer —“
TRUMP JR.: “I have taken a lot of these points, and Gayle, I know you read it. I could have taken the points a lot further and fired for effect, but I didn’t. You brought up a couple of those issues. I sort of made my point, I’m good with that. I think we’re all pretty much live and let live, so is my father. But today, you know, sort of the woke goalpost, they keep moving. The example I use in the book is obviously, as it relates to trans women in sports. Identify how you want, I think it’s wonderful. I don’t care. When you start saying, ‘Okay, I’m a man, I’ve become a woman, I’m winning national championships,’ setting weightlifting world records, you know, displacing women who worked their entire lives to get to a point in their careers, I think that’s wrong. That’s the point.”
KING: “Yeah —“
TRUMP JR.: “The goalposts never stopped moving.”
DOKOUPIL: “Are you interested in running for political office yourself?”
TRUMP JR.: “I’m interested in winning 2020 for my father right now.”