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President Trump Criticizes a Retired Four-Star Navy Admiral for Not Finding Bin Laden ‘Sooner’ in Wide-Ranging New Interview

3 minute read

President Trump addressed the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the recent court decision reinstating CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta‘s press pass, his own claims about the media and many other subjects in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday.

Wallace pressed the President on his references to the mainstream media as the “enemy of the people.”

“I’m only saying it very differently than anyone’s ever said it before,” the President told Wallace, before reiterating claims that much of the mainstream coverage of his presidency is false.

Responding to Trump’s “fake news” claims, Wallace brought up Retired Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. Wallace quoted McRaven as calling Trump’s denunciations of the media the “greatest threat to democracy” he’s seen.

“He’s a Hillary Clinton backer, and an Obama backer,” the President responded. “And frankly, wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama Bin Laden a lot sooner than that?”

After the interview, Wallace supplemented the President’s words by saying McRaven never endorsed a 2016 presidential candidate, though in a hacked email John Podesta discussed him as a possible Clinton running mate.

In the interview, Trump also fielded questions on his response to the killing of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Turkey. Contrary to the Saudi government’s claims, according to a report from the Washington Post, the CIA has concluded that the assassination was carried out under the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The President still refused to come down firmly on the Saudi Crown Prince, who has told him that he had no knowledge of the killing.

“He told me that he had nothing to do with it,” the President insisted. “He told me that maybe, I would say, five times.”

“But what if he’s lying?” Wallace countered. “Do you just live with it because you need him?”

“Well, will anybody really know?” the president responded. “But he did have certainly people that were reasonably close to him… that were probably involved.”

Trump also brushed off the recent court ruling that ordered him to reinstate CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass after it was revoked on Nov. 7, following a testy exchange.

“It’s not a big deal,” Trump said. “If he misbehaves we’ll throw him out, or we’ll stop the news conference… No one believes in the first amendment more than I do, and if I think that someone is acting out of sorts, I will leave.”

Trump also expressed regret over not following the presidential tradition of visiting Arlington National Cemetery to honor Veterans Day.

“In retrospect, I should have, and I did last year,” Trump said, before stating that he had just been at the American cemetery in Paris. “I really probably assumed that was fine. And I was extremely busy because of affairs of state, doing other things.”

The President is evidently pleased with his own job in conducting those affairs, despite controversies, the Mueller investigation and his party’s recent loss of control over the House of Representatives in the November midterm elections.

“I hate to do it, but I will do it,” President Trump said. “I would give myself an A+. Is that enough? Can I go higher than that?”

Correction, Nov. 19:

The original version of this story misstated the name of Robert Mueller. It is spelled Mueller, not Muller.

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Write to Alejandro de la Garza at alejandro.delagarza@time.com