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Pressed for evidence on election theories, Trump literally hangs up

NPR pressed Donald Trump on some of his more ridiculous lies about his election defeat. It did not go well.

After their terms in the White House, most presidents gladly cede the national stage. Some work on their memoirs, others focus on their libraries. Some build low-income housing, others take up painting.

As is true in so many ways, however, Donald Trump has blazed a unique trail since losing his bid for a second term. Unlike most modern former presidents, the failed Republican can't seem to stop talking.

That said, he's selective about his interactions. Trump likes to issue written statements, for example, in which he need not worry about confronting those who'll challenge him. He likes political rallies, where he can bask in the support of his followers. He likes to sit down for interviews with conservative media personalities, in which he can, well, bask in the support of his followers.

What the former president does not like to do is subject himself to real questions from journalists who have no interest in advancing his agenda. It's why it came as a pleasant surprise when Trump agreed to talk to NPR's Steve Inskeep yesterday for 15 minutes.

Alas, the interview didn't quite last that long.

The host, naturally, did what conservative media personalities would not: Inskeep pressed Trump to back up his ridiculous election conspiracy theories. It quickly became obvious that the former president could not.

When pressed, it was excuse after excuse — it was "too early" to claim fraud, his attorney was no good, things just seem suspicious. But it all comes back to the same place: He has no evidence of widespread fraud that caused him to lose the election. The tone of the interview changed. Trump then hurried off the phone as he was starting to be asked about the attack on the Capitol, inspired by election lies.

Why did the sham audit in Arizona fail to bolster his claims? "Because they're RINOs," Trump said.

Why do so many Senate Republicans acknowledge the fact that he lost? "Because Mitch McConnell is a loser," Trump said.

Where's the evidence of irregularities in Michigan? "You take a look at Detroit," Trump said, indifferent to the fact that Detroit's votes have already been scrutinized, and telling people to go look somewhere is not proof.

It wasn't long before the Republican, rather than defend obvious lies, decided to cut his losses. "Steve, thank you very much, I appreciate it," Trump said before hanging up on the NPR host.

It was abrupt, but it was not a surprise. The former president isn't accustomed to experiencing this much reality all at once, and it clearly made Trump uncomfortable.

Those waiting for him to do another real interview with an independent news organization may be waiting for a long while.