From expelling an aide for coughing to insisting he is treated worse than assassinated US Civil War leader Abraham Lincoln to the possible existence of UFOs, President Donald Trump dropped a number of notable lines in his extended interview with ABC News.
The president hosted the American cable network’s chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos, for two days to document his life inside the White House.
The hour-length special, which aired on Sunday evening, shed some light on the president’s thinking as he prepares to formally launch his 2020 re-election campaign in Florida on Tuesday.
Coughing aide kicked out
When Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, coughed in the background of the Oval Office interview, Mr Trump became visibly upset and asked his top aide to leave the room.
“Let’s do that over, he’s coughing in the middle of my answer,” Mr Trump said. “I don’t like that, you know. I don’t like that.”
“If you’re going to cough, please leave the room,” the president added, pointing and shaking his head in disapproval. “You just can’t, you just can’t cough.”
The exchange happened as Mr Trump defended his decision not to turn over his “fantastic financial statement” to the US Senate, adding that he “might” reveal it someday.
Denies firing pollsters after leak
The Trump campaign has fired several of its hired pollsters after leaks showed Mr Trump losing to Democrats next year in several key battleground states, according to US media.
In the interview, Mr Trump denied there were any unflattering popularity figures, maintaining that his team’s internal polls “show I’m winning everywhere”.
He dismissed leaked opinion surveys showing Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden leading in swing states such as Michigan and Wisconsin. Mr Trump stated that “those polls don’t exist”.
On Monday, he returned to the theme on Twitter, saying: “Only Fake Polls show us behind the Motley Crew” – a reference to the crowded Democratic presidential field.
Trump and Lincoln
Mr Trump argued that no president has ever been as mistreated as himself, including Abe Lincoln, who was shot dead.
“If you can believe it, Abraham Lincoln was treated supposedly very badly,” he said. “But nobody’s been treated badly like me.”
Mr Trump, who calls himself a student of history, has previously drawn comparisons with the 16th president. During a rally last September in Montana, Mr Trump said Lincoln’s legendary Gettysburg Address “was excoriated by the fake news”.
And during his first election campaign, Mr Trump claimed: “With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office.”
Trump on UFOs
Mr Trump smiled and shrugged when ABC asked about reports of Navy pilots seeing unidentified flying objects.
“They do say, I mean, I’ve seen and I’ve read and I’ve heard, and I did have one very brief meeting on it,” said the president. “But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs.
“Do I believe it? Not particularly.”
When ABC asked him if the US president would be made aware if there was evidence of extraterrestrials, Mr Trump did not directly answer the question.
He said: “Well, I think my great pilots, our great pilots would know. And some of them really see things that are a little bit different than in the past, so we’re going to see, but we’ll watch it.”
With election season nearing, the Republican president indicated he would launch a new plan to revamp the nation’s healthcare system.
“Obamacare has been a disaster,” Mr Trump told ABC as he was driven in the presidential limousine dubbed The Beast.
He promised that the plan for “phenomenal healthcare” will be unveiled “in about two months, maybe less”.
Mr Trump last week teased details at an unrelated White House event, saying: “Nobody knows what it is. It’s going to be a big surprise, but it’s going to be a very pleasant one.”
New Air Force One design
Mr Trump unveiled a redesign of the presidential jet known as Air Force One, adding that he had personally overseen its facelift.
“There’s your new Air Force One,” he said, holding up the blueprints for the new red-white-and-blue patterned plane. “I’m doing that for other presidents, not for me.”
The aircraft are not due to be delivered until 2024.
Critics have likened the new design to planes used by Trump Shuttle, an airline owned by Mr Trump from 1989-92.