President Donald Trump doubled down on some of his controversial and unproven statements on March 22.
Trump was asked by Time about his assertion that 3 million noncitizen immigrants voted in the presidential election in 2016, and defended it:
Well now if you take a look at the votes, when I say that, I mean mostly they register wrong, in other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly, and/or illegally. And they then vote. You have tremendous numbers of people. In fact I’m forming a committee on it.
When Time told Trump there is no evidence, he deferred to the committee he said he would form:
We’ll see after the committee. I have people say it was more than that. We will see after we have. But there will be, we are forming a committee. And we are going to do a study on it, a very serious problem.
Trump was also asked about his assertion during the GOP primary that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas' father was connected to Lee Harvey Oswald, the assumed assassin of former President John F. Kennedy.
Trump, who referred to Cruz as "Lyin' Ted" for months, insisted the information was in a newspaper:
Well that was in a newspaper. No, no, I like Ted Cruz, he’s a friend of mine. But that was in the newspaper. I wasn’t, I didn’t say that. I was referring to a newspaper. A Ted Cruz article referred to a newspaper story with, had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald, having breakfast.
The newspaper in question was gossip tabloid The National Enquirer, which is owned by American Media whose CEO, David Pecker, is a friend of Trump's, noted the Los Angeles Times in May 2016.
The Washington Post took aim at his answer on March 22: "Trump has repeatedly ignored the fact that the article was denied and deemed false even before he ever mentioned it on the campaign trail."
Trump was also asked about his assertion that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated 9/11, and he referred to the press again: "Well if you look at the reporter, he wrote the story in The Washington Post."
The Washington Post fired back a fact check:
This is yet another Four-Pinocchio claim that we have checked over and over. Trump claimed he saw on television thousands of Muslims cheer the collapse of the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11 attacks.
There is no TV footage, no newspaper coverage, just scattered, unconfirmed reports of five or six people -- not necessarily Muslim, probably teenagers -- celebrating.
There was a small reference buried deep in an article in The Post. When the reporter said it did not support Trump’s claim, Trump mocked his disability.
Trump was asked about a March 22 editorial in The Wall Street Journal that slammed him for making false statements, and the president told Time about his recent political rallies:
The country believes me. Hey. I went to Kentucky two nights ago, we had 25,000 people in a massive basketball arena. There wasn’t a seat, they had to send away people. I went to Tennessee four nights ago. We had a packed house, they had to send away thousands of people. You saw that, right. Did you see that? ... The country’s not buying it, it is fake media. And The Wall Street Journal is a part of it.
The president also told Time how bad things were when he took office:
But I inherited a mess, I inherited a mess in so many ways. I inherited a mess in the Middle East, and a mess with North Korea. I inherited a mess with jobs, despite the statistics, you know, my statistics are even better, but they are not the real statistics because you have millions of people that can’t get a job, OK.
The Washington Post noted: "The economy was not a mess when Trump became president. The stock market was booming and the unemployment rate was below 5 percent."
Time asked Trump questions regarding his credibility, and he concluded his answer with: "Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know. Say hello to everybody OK?"