Former President Donald Trump abruptly ended an interview with NPR on Tuesday after being pressed about his repeated lies about the 2020 presidential election.
During the interview, which aired on NPR's "Morning Edition" on Wednesday, Trump seemed to become irritated when host Steve Inskeep asked him about recent comments by Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., who said that the 2020 election was fair and that Trump “did not win.”
"Rounds is wrong on that," Trump said. "Totally wrong."
Inskeep asked Trump why many Republicans in the U.S. Senate are not standing behind him and his disproven claim that his loss was attributable to voter fraud.
"Because Mitch McConnell is a loser," Trump replied, referring to the Senate minority leader. "This is a long way from over."
Trump bragged that he got more votes than any sitting president, and wondered aloud how Joe Biden could have beaten him.
“How come Biden couldn’t attract 20 people for a crowd? How come when he went to speak in different locations, nobody came to watch, but all of a sudden he got 80 million votes? Nobody believes that, Steve," Trump said. "Nobody believes that.”
“If you’ll forgive me," Inskeep replied, "maybe because the election was about you.”
The former president — whose endorsement is seen as key in many Republican midterm races — was asked if he’ll refuse to endorse any GOP candidates who dispute his lies about the 2020 election, and whether peddling his baseless claims is "an absolute."
Trump suggested that "the ones that are smart" will continue to press the election fraud issue.
"People have no idea how big this issue is, and they don't want it to happen again," he said. "And the only way it's not going to happen again is you have to solve the problem of the presidential rigged election."
Trump then thanked Inskeep and hung up before the host could ask a question related to a legal case involving the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
According to NPR, the interview was scheduled for 15 minutes, but lasted just over nine.
Earlier in the interview, Trump addressed the Biden administration's vaccine mandates, saying he recommends being inoculated against COVID-19, but that it should be by choice.
"The mandate is really hurting our country," Trump said. "A lot of Americans aren't standing for it, and it's hurting our country.
"The vaccines, I recommend taking them, but I think that has to be an individual choice," he continued. "I mean, it's got to be individual, but I recommend taking them."
In a separate interview that aired on One America News Network on Tuesday night, Trump criticized Republicans who have wavered on the issue.
“I’ve had the booster," he said. "I watched a couple of politicians be interviewed, and one of the questions was ‘Did you get the booster?’ — because they had the vaccine — and they’re answering like, in other words, the answer is ‘yes’ but they don’t want to say it. Because they’re gutless.
“You gotta say it, whether you had it or not. Say it,” he added. “But the fact is that I think the vaccines saved tens of millions throughout the world. I’ve had absolutely no side effects."