ABC Grills Trump With Tough Questions, Provided Softballs for Dem Candidates in 2007

George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday lectured potential Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, indignantly telling him that he was only after "the facts." Four years ago, however, Good Morning America had few tough questions for the 2008 Democratic contenders.

At one point during the nine minute interview, Stephanopoulos pressed Trump 16 straight times on the so-called birther issue. The host demanded, "You said that you sent investigators to Hawaii and you said quote, 'They cannot believe what they're finding.' What have they found?" The ABC journalist repeated this particular question four times.

Stephanopoulos did hit Trump from the right a number of times, pushing, "Today, the head of the Club for Growth, a major group inside the Republican Party, has said you're just another liberal..." However, by March 26,2007, GMA had already devoted a 26 minute infomercial to then-candidate Hillary Clinton. Host Robin Roberts allowed Clinton to speak for 18 of those 26 minutes.

 

Rather than allowing Trump to talk unimpeded, as Mrs. Clinton experienced, Stephanopoulos constantly interrupted. At one point, during a discussion of the birth certificate, the businessman complained, "George, they have co-opted you." He then defined "they" as "Obama and his minions."

Much of Trump's critique of journalists did not make the on-air interview. But a transcript on ABCNews.com shows that Trump also reminded, "Did you look at Tony Rezko?  Did you look at [former Obama business associate] Tony Rezko?...I don't think you look at [Obama] properly."

So, while conservatives may have appreciated Stephanopoulos' probing on Trump and abortion, the morning show certainly didn't provide the same scrutiny to Democrats in 2007. (Another GMA town hall, on July 16, 2007, donated an additional 38 minutes to then-candidate John Edwards.)

A partial transcript of the April 19 segment, which aired at 7:04am EDT, follows:


DONALD TRUMP: There’s a real question about the birth certificate.  There’s a real question about the- his own- his own citizenship.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:  There- there is- there is no question. He's got a certificate of live birth that is recognized by the State Department.

TRUMP: George, George, I know exactly what you're getting at.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The facts!

TRUMP: But for some reason- no, they’re not the facts.  He doesn’t have a birth certificate or he hasn’t provided.  He’s given a certificate of live birth.  It’s a much different instrument.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A certificate of live birth meets the standard in the State Department for anyone's citizenship.

TRUMP: George-

STEPHANOPOULOS: There were contemporaneous reports in two newspapers.

TRUMP: George, they have co-opted you.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  Given the- no, those are the facts sir.

TRUMP: George, they’ve co-opted you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Who’s they?

TRUMP: It’s not- obviously, Obama and his minions.  They have co-opted you.  A certificate of live birth is not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination as a birth certificate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s what the State Department recognizes as the standard birth certificate. In 1961, two Honolulu newspapers.

TRUMP: Let him show the birth certificate. And by the way, this is not, this is not a big focus of my campaign.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You don’t believe it’s why you’ve gone to the top of the polls?

TRUMP: My big focus is China and OPEC and all of these countries that are just absolutely destroying the United States. This is not a big focus.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  But, Mr. Trump, you say it’s not a big focus of yours as long as you continue to raise questions-

TRUMP: George, you make it a big focus. Let's see what happens. Let's see what happens. But a certificate of live birth and a birth certificate are very different things.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You said that you sent investigators to Hawaii and you said quote, "They cannot believe what they’re finding." What have they found?

TRUMP: We're going to see what happens.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What have they found?

TRUMP: It's none of your business right now. We're going to see what happens.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Have they found anything?

TRUMP: We're going to see what happens.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What have they done?

TRUMP: We're going to see what happens.

STEPHANOPOULOS: When?

TRUMP: George, next question, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You refuse to accept that the President was born in the United States.

TRUMP: I hope he was.  I’m not looking-- if I should run and if I decide to go.  And I end up getting the nomination, I don’t want to use this as an issue.  I hope that by that time it’s totally solved.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Today, the head of the Club for Growth, a major group inside the Republican Party, has said you're just another liberal, focusing on-

TRUMP: A liberal?

STEPHANOPOULOS: A liberal.

TRUMP: Me? A liberal? When somebody calls me a liberal, that is something I don’t think I’ve ever been called before.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, in your book, the America We Deserve you wrote, "I’m a conservative on most issues, but a liberal on this one."  You were talking about health care.

TRUMP: I want people to be taken care of.  But not with Obamacare.  Obamacare is a total disaster.  Also, we’re in a much different time.  We used to think, 12-14 years ago, we used to think we had a wealthy nation, we could take care of people.  The fact is, we’re in a much different time now.  The world has changed a lot.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you no longer support universal health care?

TRUMP: I support health care for people.  I want people well taken care of.  But I also want health care that we can afford as a country.  We have a different country today. We can't afford things that we could afford or thought we could have afforded.
                                           
STEPHANOPOULOS: In that same book, you called for a net worth tax.  14.25 percent on people worth $10 million and more.  You still support that tax?

TRUMP: Well, at a time, it would have paid off the deficit.  I mean, you wouldn’t have a deficit, at that time.  Unfortunately, the world has changed, today you can’t do it.  Today, and I’m very strongly against tax increases.  And the reason I’m-

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you’re no longer for that tax?

TRUMP: No, no.  I’m no longer for that tax, no.

STEPHANOPOULOS: At that time, you were also pro-choice.  Now you say you’re against abortion.  When did you change your mind on that?

TRUMP: I would say, you know, a while ago.  Quite a while ago.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why?

TRUMP: Because a number of cases, but in one particular case, I had a friend and I have a friend.  And he would- did not want a child and his wife didn’t want a child.  And they were going to abort.  And they didn’t do it for very complicated reasons.  And now they have the child.  And it’s the apple of his eye.  And he said, "Thank God."  He changed also, by the way.  "Thank God, I didn’t do it."  And I’ve seen that, and I’ve seen other things.  And I am pro-life.


 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org