Former President Donald Trump continued his slashing attacks on Joe Biden and his administration in his first sit-down interview with a TV network since leaving office – where he said the crisis at the border could 'destroy' the country.
Trump continued his post-presidency efforts to act as the de facto opposition to Biden, while simultaneously tearing into the media he has regularly scorned as 'fake news.'
'They're playing it down as much as they can play it down. It's a horrible situation, could destroy our country,' Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity, who occasionally advised Trump during his presidency and served as a regular booster on air.
'It's a horrible situation, could destroy our country,' President Donald Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity when asked about the border crisis
In advance excerpt of their sit-down, Trump said 'tens of thousands' of people were crossing the border – and claimed the situation could have been avoided had Biden stuck with his own immigration crackdown.
'People are pouring in. But you'll see something as the months go by like you've never seen before. Already it's like you've never seen before. There's never been anything like what's happened at our border,' Trump told Hannity.
'People are coming in by the tens of thousands. They're walking in. They – we had – all they had to do was leave it alone,' he said.
'Imagine if you're president, and you have: These are Trump's cages overflowing with kids in the middle of a pandemic with a high positivity of covid,' Hannity asked Trump, referencing the 'kids in cages' attacks on Trump's child separation policy during his administration.
'I would argue if it was a daycare center people you'd be shut down and charged with child abuse,' Hannity said of the U.S. system of detaining unaccompanied children, which is proscribed by laws requiring child detainees be moved quickly to the care of Health and Human Services within 72 hours of being captured.
Trump's comments to Hannity come after Biden has struggled to contain the border crisis, with Republicans hammering him for his decision not to yet plan a border visit and accusing his policies of driving the spike.
Trump's sit-down with Hannity was his first with a TV network since leaving office
Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis golfing on Sunday morning at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. Trump has used his time since leaving office to golf and try to maintain his grip on Republican politics
Trump also sat for an interview with daugther-in-law Lara Trump
Biden faced a backlash on the left after the administration announced Friday that a Trump-era cap of 15,000 refugees for the fiscal year was justified. 'We're going to increase the number,' Biden told reporters a day later on Saturday.
Trump's interview with Hannity was his first major interview since leaving the White House just days after the Jan. 6th Capitol riot. He has used the preceding weeks to play golf, host fundraisers, and bring top Republican leaders in Congress to Mar-a-Lago. He has continued to try to put a MAGA-stamp on the GOP by cranking out endorsements of pro-Trump lawmakers.
He was previously interviewed by his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump.
The former president also met recently with Stephen Miller, who helped forge his 'zero tolerance' immigration crackdown and drafted many of his immigration speeches. Trump repeatedly made references to immigrant 'caravans' in the run-up to the 2018 congressional elections.
Hannity joined Trump on stage for his final rally of the 2018 cycle, echoing some of Trump's attacks on the mainstream media. ''By the way, all those people in the back are fake news,' Hannity quipped. Immediately after the Jan. 6th riot, he said Trump supporters don't commit acts of violence. ''I'd like to know who the agitators were,' he told viewers on his prime-time show.
The number of migrants apprehended at the border in March hit a 15-year high in March, with 170,000 crossings according to preliminary Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.
Trump told Hannity they should run on the MAGA agenda. 'If they want to win, yes. We've expanded the Republican Party. If you want to win and win big, you have to do that. You have to do it.'
'Should anybody that wants to run for the House or the Senate, should they take this Make America Great agenda and fight for those things that you fought for the four years you were president,' Hannity had asked him.