The Truth About Donald Trump's Relationship With Lesley Stahl

Lesley Stahl of CBS News' 60 Minutes sat down with President Donald Trump at the White House on Oct. 20, 2020, to conduct a solo interview. After about 45 minutes, Trump abruptly left the interview and refused to come back for the scheduled joint interview with Vice President Mike Pence, saying they had enough material to work with.

Trump threatened to leak the interview ahead of its scheduled time and, sure enough, he did it. On Oct. 22, 2020, Trump posted the interview on Facebook. Despite Trump's leak, CBS aired their interview at its appointed time on Oct. 25, 2020. After Trump left, Pence sat down with Stahl and offered answers that seemed evasive, according to The New York Times. So Stahl told Pence what she really thought of both him and Trump. "This was not a rally, this was not just a campaign speech to the public — this was supposed to be an interview, and the same with the president," Stahl said to Pence. "And I feel that you both have insulted '60 Minutes' and me by not answering any of our questions," she added, per NYT.

While Stahl got brutally honest here, this isn't the first time she has spoken out about Trump. Meanwhile, Trump himself has said scathing things about the veteran journalist, proving that Stahl and Trump aren't exactly on good terms.

Donald Trump and Lesley Stahl don't see eye-to-eye

Donald Trump showed frustration towards journalist Lesley Stahl during their 60 Minutes interview, during which the two had some choice dialogue. Trump said that Stahl inappropriately brought up topics and disliked that she began the interview by promising "tough questions." "That's no way to talk. That's no way to talk," Trump said.

After the interview, Trump shared a clip on Twitter of Stahl talking with her team. Trump added: "Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes not wearing a mask in the White House after her interview with me. Much more to come." CBS responded with a statement that this was moments after the interview and that Stahl had entered the White House wearing a mask.

According to The New York Times, Stahl has interviewed Trump twice before, since he became president, so the two have a history. In fact, in May 2018, Stahl told journalists about an ominous conversation she had with Trump. Stahl asked him why he discredits journalists and the media. Stahl told the audience what Trump told her: 'You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you,'" per CNBC. Stahl paused and said to the journalists: "So, put that in your head for a minute. Yeah."

It's safe to say Stahl and Trump aren't each other's biggest fans.

Lesley Stahl tried to hold Trump accountable

Lesley Stahl, who has been a correspondent with 60 Minutes since 1991, was upset after President Donald Trump's abrupt exit from their interview. When Vice President Mike Pence arrived, she accused the VP and Trump of giving answers that sounded more like campaign speeches rather than organic, in-the-moment responses. "There is this kind of anticipation that people in power are held accountable and that they answer questions from the public — not from me, from the public. And I feel that you didn't do that, and I'm upset," Stahl lamented to Pence, according to Politico.

Stahl's comment pointed to the fact that, since Trump and Pence hold positions of leadership, people have a right to get clear answers from them. She took the same approach during the interview with Trump, delivering a curt response when the president complained that Democratic nominee Joe Biden supposedly doesn't get asked tough questions. Stahl quipped, according to CBS' transcript, "Okay, but forget him for a minute. You're President."

The topic of accountability also came up on Twitter, when viewers responded to the fractured encounter between Stahl and Trump.

Twitter responds to the feud between Trump and Stahl

When President Donald Trump tweeted a video clip of Lesley Stahl not wearing a mask, Twitter had a few thoughts. Many of the comments followed the same line of thinking that Stahl used during the interview, pointing out that since Trump is president, he bears the ultimate responsibility. "Lesley isn't the President, so she isn't responsible for setting the example. You were and you FAILED," someone tweeted. Another person added, "Is Lesley Stahl the president of the USA? No, she isn't. I don't care what she does. But I do care what example the president of the USA sets."

Despite the censure on Twitter, Trump wasn't done tweeting about Stahl. On Oct. 22, 2020, he dished out another barb, writing of the interview, "Watch her constant interruptions & anger. Compare my full, flowing and 'magnificently brilliant' answers to their 'Q's'."

Stahl had her own words to say about the whole interaction. In the notes on CBS' transcript, Stahl explained, "[The interview] began politely, but ended regrettably, contentiously." Not quite the warm reviews from either party.