LONDON – Piers Morgan’s 6,000-word account of his interview with President Donald Trump hit newsstands in the United Kingdom Sunday morning, but it’s not until the 68th paragraph that Morgan gets around to quoting the president.
“It’s good to see you, Piers,” he said.
The 30-minute interview in the Daily Mail produced a multitude of Trumpisms — or as Morgan himself put it, “lengthy hyperbolic boasts about how great he is and how well he’s doing.”
Morgan’s story is filled with small talk, asides and descriptions of Air Force One swivel chairs. But Trump did address a broad range of subjects in the interview, which will also be broadcast on British television Monday.
► On Roe v. Wade: Trump said he understands why women would be concerned about whether his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, would be the deciding vote on whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 45-year-old decision legalizing abortion.
“I do understand, but I also understand that you know, that’s a 50/50 question in this country,” he said.
But he also insisted there’s a “very good chance” that the issue won’t come up during his tenure on the court.
“Someday in the distant future there could be a vote,” he said. “A case has to get up there. It could be a long time before a case ever gets up there.”
► On meeting Queen Elizabeth II: Trump had already heaped praise on the 92-year-old monarch in another tabloid before the meeting, but he said the Windsor Castle tea lived up to expectations. “It was a very easy talk,” he said. “We had a great, a great feeling.”
One topic of conversation: Brexit, the process for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
“She said it’s a very — and she’s right — it’s a very complex problem, I think nobody had any idea how complex that was going to be,” he said.
THERESA MAY: Trump told me to ‘sue the EU’ over Brexit
Pressed for details, Trump demurred, citing royal protocol.
“You just don’t talk about that conversation with the Queen, right?” he said. “Let me tell you what I can talk about – she is an incredible woman, she is so sharp, she is so beautiful.”
► On his upcoming summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin: Trump said the Russian president is “probably” a ruthless person. “But I could name others also.”
He repeated his position that better relations with Russia would be good for the United States.
“I think we could probably get along very well. Somebody said are you friends or enemies? I said well it’s too early to say but right now I say we’re competitors.”
► On family separations at the border: Trump insisted that he didn’t start the policy of separating children from their parents after crossing the border.
“That wasn’t my policy,” he interrupted, “Obama had the same exact policy. In fact, they were showing pictures of kids separated from their parents and they say, isn’t this terrible. And it was pictures of 2014.”
Fact check: False. The pictures of children during the Obama administration were almost all unaccompanied minors – immigrant children who crossed the border without an adult.
FACT CHECK: Did the Obama administration separate families?
Trump’s new “zero tolerance” policy calls for parents suspected of crossing the border illegally to face criminal charges – which has required border agents to separate them from their children.
Despite his executive order seeking to end separations, Trump defended the practice as a deterrent.
“Well, all I did was go by the law,” he said. “But you know the parents are put in jail essentially, you know they came in illegally. Now when people come in illegally they have their kids, there are consequences to that, but I still didn’t like the idea of separation.”
► On his Twitter habit: The president said he types many of his tweets himself, but also dictates the 280-character dispatches to aides – telling them to ““put this exact statement out.”
“I’m very exacting. From the comma, to everything,” he said.
Trump said he likes the “immediacy” and the “power” of the medium.
“You’re watching and then, like two seconds later, ‘We have breaking news, Donald Trump, President Trump has just been….'” he said. “It’s tremendous. You get the word out, you can really protect yourself from the lies.’
►On the protests in London: Huge crowds protested Trump’s visit to the U.K. last week with a parade that included a 20-foot “Trump Baby” balloon.
Trump previously said the protests made him feel “unwelcome” in London. But he told Morgan the protesters weren’t all anti-Trump.
“Some of them are protesting in my favor, you know that?” he said. “There are many, many protests in my favor.”