Fox News aired an interview between host Tucker Carlson and President Trump on Wednesday night. At one point, the topic of conversation turned to Trump’s chaos-inducing tweet on March 4 accusing his predecessor, Barack Obama, of “wire tapping” Trump Tower.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
It’s a serious charge and the White House has been pushed daily to explain why the sitting president of the United States believes he was being spied on. Shockingly, there does not appear to be any “evidence”—in the traditional, literal sense of the word—to back Trump’s claims. To his credit, Carlson asked Trump where he got his information. The answer and the two-plus minute back-and-forth pretty much sums it up: Trump made it up. More specifically, “I’ve been reading about things,” Trump replied. Trump proceeded to explain how he read a New York Times story once, dated the day of his inauguration, and that what really cinched it for him was, wait for it, a segment on Fox News with Bret Baier the day before his tweet.
“If you watched Bret Baier and what he was saying and what he was talking about and how he mentioned the word ‘wiretap,’ you would feel very confident that you could mention the name,” Trump explained to Carlson. “I watched your friend Bret Baier the day previous where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening, and wiretapping. I said, wait a minute, there’s a lot of wiretapping being talked about.”
It is hard to fully describe how clownish the president of the United States looks during this portion of the interview. The interview is worth watching for the full extent of Trump's utter disregard for the truth, but a partial transcript is below.
Carlson: So on March 4th, 6:35 in the morning, you’re down in Florida, and you tweet, the former administration wiretapped me, surveilled me, at Trump Tower during the last election. How did you find out? You said, I just found out. How did you learn that?
Trump: Well, I’ve been reading about things. I read in, I think it was Jan. 20th, a New York Times article where they were talking about wiretapping. There was an article. I think they used that exact term. I read other things. I watched your friend Bret Baier the day previous where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening, and wiretapping. I said, wait a minute, there’s a lot of wiretapping being talked about. I’ve been seeing a lot of things. Now, for the most part, I’m not going to discuss it, because we have it before the committee and we will be submitting things before the committee very soon that hasn’t been submitted as of yet. But it’s potentially a very serious situation.
Carlson: Why not wait to tweet about it until you can prove it? Don’t you devalue your words when you can’t provide evidence?
Trump: Well, because the New York Times wrote about it. Not that I respect the New York Times. I call it the failing New York Times. But they did write on Jan. 20th using the word wiretap. Other people have come out with…
Carlson: Right, but you’re the president. You have the ability to gather all the evidence you want.
Trump: I do. I do. But I think that frankly we have a lot right now. And I think if you watch—if you watched the Bret Baier and what he was saying and what he was talking about and how he mentioned the word “wiretap,” you would feel very confident that you could mention the name. He mentioned it. And other people have mentioned it. But if you take a look at some of the things written about wiretapping and eavesdropping… and don’t forget I say wiretapping, those words were in quotes. That really covers—because wiretapping is pretty old-fashioned stuff—but that really covers surveillance and many other things. And nobody ever talks about the fact that it was in quotes, but that’s a very important thing. But wire tape covers a lot of different things. I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.