Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner conducted her first interview with President Trump, which aired today during her daily 1 p.m. Fox News program Outnumbered Overtime.
Faulkner broke some news in that first sit down.
Faulkner asked Trump about Wednesday’s New York Times report which states that AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, had entered into an agreement with prosecutors, and disclosed that Trump campaign payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels were meant to protect the 2016 campaign.
The president claimed that his former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen was responsible for any campaign finance law violations but also said Cohen “probably was not guilty” of even civil violations related to the payments to the two women.
“Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did,” Trump said during the interview.
Faulkner was lauded for pressing Trump on why exactly he hired Cohen in the first place. The president mentioned that Cohen had done a favor for him in the past. When Faulkner asked what exactly that favor was, Trump said Cohen was on a condo committee with Trump regarding the Trump World Tower, which stands across from the U.N. in New York. Cohen was “a very big supporter” of his and he seemed like a nice guy, per President Trump.
Faulkner later asked the president about his search for the next White House Chief of Staff.
“Well, I want somebody that’s strong, but I want somebody that thinks like I do. It’s my vision — it is my vision after all. At the same time, I’m open to ideas,” he said.
Trump also talked extensively about trade and his relationship with China.
But the Fox News anchor was criticized for some of her questioning at the conclusion of what was a pretty lengthy interview. During the last couple minutes, she complimented the president on his energy, his midterm campaigning, and his general work ethic. She remarked that she hopes she’ll be able “to come back at some point,” and said, “God bless you and your family, Mr. President.”
FAULKNER: All right, I’m being told I have to wrap with you, and I wanted to do a few rapid fire. So, can I just do one?
TRUMP: Just one.
FAULKNER: What do you love about being president?
TRUMP: I love getting things done for the people. It’s a nasty job because I get hit so hard, so unfairly by so many and I mean really unfairly. When you look at what we’ve done with with taxes, what we’ve done with regulations, what we’ve done with China and national defense and so many other things — including the environment, did you see last year, we were the only country that had fewer emissions, despite the success of —
FAULKNER: Your critics would say things differently.
TRUMP: Oh no because – hey, the Paris Accord –
FAULKNER: So when you get up in the morning, and you say, I get to go do this, what you love
TRUMP: Let me tell you, the Paris Accord s not working out too well for Paris. Take a look at what’s happened over there.
FAULKNER: France is struggling on a whole (inaudible) —
TRUMP: Because of the Paris Accord, that whole country is burning down, OK? So — and I was the one that kept us out of the Paris Accord. If I was in the Paris Accord, we would be paying trillions of dollars, trillions of dollars for nothing, and I wouldn’t do that. And my people love the job I’m doing.
FAULKNER: Yes, you have such energy for this.
TRUMP: Do I have a choice?
FAULKNER: Well, yes you do, actually. You do, not every president would have worked six and seven out on a campaign trail —
TRUMP: You know I work hard, but —
FAULKNER: Some don’t. Which you do.
TRUMP: You know what, I like to say I work hard, but hopefully I work smart, because I know a lot of people, they work — you have to work smart too, and we’re doing great. The country is doing great and we’re respected again.
FAULKNER: All right, I’m being told we have to wrap, but I’m hoping to come back at some point.
TRUMP: I would love that.
FAULKNER: And you and I traded a lot of papers and it’s been a good conversation, thank you, sir.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
FAULKNER: In the oval office a few moments ago, very fun, I got to see a little bit of things here. So thank you, I appreciate it.
TRUMP: Thank you, great having you.
FAULKNER: God bless you and your family, Mr. President.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
This didn’t go over well with some in the media.
“What do you love about being President?”
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) December 13, 2018
“What do you love about being president?” — Harris Faulkner to Trump.
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) December 13, 2018
these chyrons are just…well, they’re something pic.twitter.com/8t5vJ09e4c
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) December 13, 2018
She adds, “You have such energy for this,” congratulates him for working hard.
— Jason Schwartz (@JasonSchwartz) December 13, 2018
“That was not an interview,” S.E. Cupp said on Brianna Keilar‘s 1 p.m. CNN program. “It was an infomercial allowing the president to provide his evidence. ‘See, look what this paper says, and look what this person says.’ To ask the president how he feels about his good approval numbers. I mean, I watched the whole interview. It wasn’t journalism. That was an infomercial.”
Not everyone was critical of Faulkner’s performance:
Great Interview @HARRISFAULKNER so proud of you
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) December 13, 2018