President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE in an interview with "60 Minutes" clarified that he does not actually want to lock up former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden ahead of pace Trump set for days away from White House: CNN The Senate is setting a dangerous precedent with Iron Dome funding Obama says change may be coming 'too rapidly' for many MORE, Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Methane fee faces negotiations White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege The No Surprises Act: a bill long overdue MORE or Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerMichigan's governor should follow Pennsylvania's on school choice expansions Michigan orders 'all-hands-on-deck' response to water crisis Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Altria — Michigan leaves majority-Black city with lead-contaminated taps for three years MORE (D) despite chants from his supporters to do just that.
The president on Thursday posted raw footage of his interview with veteran journalist Lesley Stahl in which he grows increasingly agitated by her questions before abruptly ending the sit-down.
In one exchange, Stahl presses Trump on the "lock her up" chants directed at Whitmer and others that are a feature of his campaign rallies.
"You encourage it," Stahl said of the chants, referencing how they were at first directed at 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE.
"I don’t encourage it. If I mention her name about something, they go crazy," Trump said.
The president typically stands by while his crowds call for his opponents to be jailed, but in recent days he has signaled clearer support.
He told supporters in Florida last week that he agreed "100 percent" with a "lock her up" chant about Clinton, he told campaign staff Biden "should be in jail" and the president added "lock 'em all up" last weekend when the crowd directed the refrain at Whitmer, the target of an alleged kidnapping plot.
"You don’t want to lock up Gov. Whitmer?" Stahl asked.
"When did I say lock her up? ... When did I say lock up the governor?" Trump responded. "I didn’t say lock up the governor. Why would I lock her up?"
"Of course I don’t want to lock her up. Why would I lock her up?" he added shortly after calling her restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus "disgraceful."
After Trump spent portions of the interview complaining that journalists are not being tough enough on Biden over unproven corruption allegations involving his son Hunter Biden, Stahl asked if Trump wants to "lock up the Bidens."
"No, I don’t want to lock them up, but they certainly should be looked at," Trump said.
Asked about locking up Obama, whom Trump has baselessly accused of treason, the president said, "I don’t want to lock him up, but he spied on my campaign. Obama and Biden spied on my campaign."
"That’s never been verified," Stahl interjected.
"It’s been totally verified," Trump responded.
Democrats, critics and outside experts have frequently raised concerns about Trump's rhetoric toward his opponents. Whitmer's office and Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar, Klobuchar lead charge seeking Congressional Gold Medal for Prince Dozens of Democrats call for spending bill to pass 'climate test' House progressives call on Biden to end all new fossil fuel permitting MORE (D-Minn.) have said they receive an increase in threats whenever Trump targets them at his rallies.
The president has made little effort to discourage his supporters from calling for his political supporters to be jailed, though, and Trump himself added fuel this week when he urged Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMeadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on Bannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ MORE to launch an investigation into Hunter Biden just two weeks before Election Day.