President Trump returned to the friendly set of Sean Hannity's Fox News program Wednesday, only this time the environment was extra friendly because Hannity took his show on the road to Middletown, Pa., where Trump delivered a speech about tax policy, and conducted the interview in front of a cheering crowd.
The interview was about as soft as you would expect. After all, Hannity a) appeared in a Trump campaign ad, b) remains an informal adviser to the president, and c) is not a journalist, by his own admission.
Yet the interview was not even the softest one Trump has been given as president. (Trump does a lot of interviews with non-journalists.) Below, I have compiled a completely unscientific ranking of the commander in chief's 10 most pillowy, cushiony interviews.
The point, in case it's not obvious, is that Trump generally avoids tough questions.
10. David Brody, Christian Broadcasting Network (Jan. 30)
BRODY: The media — I know we only have a limited amount of time. You could talk for an hour and a half about the media.
TRUMP: You mean fake news?
BRODY: Well, if that is what you — it's your call.
TRUMP: Oh, much of it is fake news. I mean much of the media makes up stories. It's amazing, I speak to people, great people, people that voted for me. And they get it better than most people get it. But much of the media is distorted and fake. And you can see it.
9. “Fox & Friends” (Feb. 28)
STEVE DOOCY: By the way, thank you very much for the shout-out you gave at your press conference about 10 days ago.
TRUMP: That's true, I did. And you treated me — you have treated me very fairly, and I appreciate it. I like your . . .
DOOCY: Did you take much heat for that from the other networks?
TRUMP: No, not really. I think they know it's true. You know, they know what's fair and not. But you have treated me very fairly. And I've been a friend of your show for a long time. Remember those call-ins, right?
DOOCY: For years.
TRUMP: Maybe without those call-ins, somebody else is sitting here.
8. Mike Huckabee, Trinity Broadcasting Network (Oct. 7)
HUCKABEE: Mr. President, let me get right to the most important question I'm going to ask you today: Tell me, how good is your press secretary?
TRUMP: Well, I think she's perhaps one of the most talented I've ever known. She's, uh — and, actually, first of all, your daughter's a great person.
7. Ainsley Earhardt, Fox News (June 23)
TRUMP: When [former FBI director James B. Comey] found out that I — that there may be tapes out there, whether it's governmental tapes or anything else — and who knows? I think his story may have changed. I mean, you'll have to take a look at that because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events. And my story didn't change. My story was always a straight story. My story was always the truth. But you'll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed. But I did not tape.
EARHARDT: That was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in those hearings
TRUMP: Well, uh, it wasn't — it wasn't very stupid. I can tell you that.
6. Sean Hannity, Fox News (Jan. 26)
HANNITY: The media — a little bit of a contentious start, if you will, with them. They want to — I've seen now the New York Times, CNN, NBC — they've used the word “liar” to describe you, as it relates if you're talking about crowd size or the border . . .
TRUMP: They're very hostile. These are very hostile people. These are very angry people.
HANNITY: But they also colluded against you in the campaign.
HANNITY: And my question to you is . . .
TRUMP: Well, they're very dishonest people. The media is very dishonest. I've been saying it. I say it openly.
HANNITY: I said journalism's dead, so we agree.
5. Pat Robertson, Christian Broadcasting Network (July 12)
ROBERTSON: Well, Mr. President, I am so glad to see you. I'm so proud of everything you're doing.
TRUMP: Thank you.
4. “Rick & Bubba Show,” syndicated radio (Sept. 25)
RICK BURGESS: What I'm about to do right now, if it's not classy, just say, “Burgess, I can't do that for you.” But, if we could have you say, “This is Donald Trump, president of the United States, and you're listening to the 'Rick & Bubba Show,' " we'd appreciate it. But, if you don't think you should do that, we understand.
TRUMP: I will. I should definitely not do it, but I will do it. Are you ready? This is Donald Trump, president of the United States. I love the state of Alabama. And you're listening to the “Rick & Bubba Show.” And enjoy it. And if they ever switch allegiance, please do not run this, whatever it is.
3. Sean Hannity, Fox News (Oct. 11)
HANNITY: It's my second interview since you've been president. You guys want to start with good news? Do you want some good news?
TRUMP: Go ahead.
HANNITY: You don't get a lot of good news in the media.
TRUMP: Well, you don't get so much.
HANNITY: The market’s up 25 percent since you were — won. You tweeted this out, but nobody in the media brings it up. So, I said, you know what? I'm going to bring it up tonight. $5.2 trillion in wealth created. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 16 years. We have the best labor participation rate in seven years and the best — the lowest number of people on food stamps in seven years.
TRUMP: That's right.
TRUMP: … really well. I'm loving it. I'm doing a job for the people, and people are seeing that.
2. Pete Hegseth, Fox News (June 25)
HEGSETH: You've faced resistance on the entirety of your agenda. Who's been your biggest opponent? Has it been Democrats resisting? Has it been fake news media? Has it been deep-state leaks? What's — when you think about it, what holds it up?
TRUMP: Well, you know, when I ran, I talked about the rigged system because I saw I was winning states, and I wasn't getting the delegates that I should be getting. And, you know, I would look at this; I'd say what kind of a system? Well, the whole system is very — there's a lot of bad things going on, a lot of very bad things going on.
1. Jim Gray, Westwood One Sports Radio (Feb. 5)
GRAY: You plan to pardon Tom Brady?
TRUMP: Well, Tom is always pardoned, you know that. Tom doesn’t need a pardon. His game pardons him — and his talent. He’s a great champion. So, I think his game really pardons him. And, frankly, I don’t think he’s somebody that has to be pardoned.