- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 22, 2020

President Trump didn’t hesitate to provide a succinct response when challenged by reporter Lesley Stahl to define his base of support: “People that love our country.”

The CBS “60 Minutes” mainstay was the talk of social media Thursday when Mr. Trump released an unedited version of his interview prior to its scheduled Sunday release.

At issue was a series of contentious exchanges, which culminated with Ms. Stahl claiming to Vice President Mike Pence that both men “insulted ‘60 Minutes’ by not answering any of our questions.”

“Can you categorize your supporters? Can you?” Ms. Stahl asked at one point.

“Yeah, I think I can,” Mr. Trump replied. “People that love our country. And people that don’t want to see stores get looted and burned down and people who don’t want to see riots. They don’t want to see anarchists. Yeah, I think I can. These are people that love our country and they don’t like to see policemen get shot and not be able to defend themselves.”

CBS blasted Mr. Trump’s decision to release the interview as an “unprecedented” move.

“60 MINUTES, the most-watched news program on television, is widely respected for bringing its hallmark fairness, deep reporting and informative context to viewers each week,” CBS asserted. “Few journalists have the presidential interview experience Lesley Stahl has delivered over her decades as one of the premier correspondents in America and we look forward to audiences seeing her third interview with President Trump and subsequent interview with Vice President Pence this weekend.”

Mr. Trump concluded his statements regarding his supporters by focusing on months of riots linked with the Black Lives Matter activists and left-wing members of Antifa.

“[My supporters] don’t like to see rioting in the middle of 5th Avenue or in the middle of other streets in Portland or other places and they like it when their president gets the endorsement of virtually every police group and, frankly, almost everybody having to do with law and order — positive law and order,” Mr. Trump said. “But you know what they are? They’re people that love our country more than anything else. And they like to see our country thrive.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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