Donald Trump and Piers Morgan.
Donald Trump has granted only one face-to-face interview during his first official visit to the United Kingdom and it was with Piers Morgan, the former Celebrity Apprentice winner and self-proclaimed “good friend” of Trump’s. Their discussion aired Wednesday morning on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and it was, predictably, full of notable moments, some bizarre, some news making, and all listed below.
Morgan gave Trump the chance to clarify remarks that got him in trouble even before his trip began. In an interview with The Sun last week, Trump said he didn’t know Meghan Markle was “nasty” during the 2016 election. He told Morgan that he was referring to Markle’s nasty comments, not calling her nasty. He also said Prince Harry did not try to fight him over the remark.
Following his meeting Tuesday with Prince Charles, a longtime environmentalist, Trump remains unconvinced that climate change is an urgent issue. As he told Morgan, “I believe that there’s a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways.” He also cited historic weather patterns to suggest that an uptick in extreme weather events is nothing to worry about. Then he deflected responsibility for dealing with climate change, blaming China, India and Russia for having “not very good air and not very good water.”
While talking about Winston Churchill, Trump referenced Hitler “going through countries like cheese.” That’s one way to put it!
When Morgan pushed Trump to find similarities between him and Winston Churchill, he came up with this gem: “Churchill didn’t have to worry so much about the nuclear.” As Brian McKeon, former deputy under secretary of defense, pointed on Twitter, that’s not true.
Hours before this interview, Trump told reporters that everything, including the National Health Service, is on the table as the U.S. and U.K. broker a post-Brexit trade deal. Clearly, someone told Trump that’s a terrible idea. In the interview with Morgan, Trump did a U-turn.
It’s little secret by now that Trump faked a disability to stay out of the Vietnam War, but he tried to rewrite history after Morgan asked him if he would have liked to serve. “I would not have minded that at all; I would have been honored,” he said.
“I think I make up for it now,” he added.
One of the few moments of contention in the interview came when Morgan challenged Trump on banning transgender service members, though he purports to be an LGBT-friendly president. Trump did not relent, citing the “large amounts of drugs” that transitioning troops take and the six-figure price tags for their surgeries.
But his numbers were wildly inflated and his explanation didn’t address one reality of his policy: the military now bans people who’ve already transitioned from joining.
“I’m not even sure it happened,” Trump said about the the U.S.S. John S. McCain being hidden from him during a recent trip to Japan. The Navy has confirmed that it happened.