If there’s a shared national interest this year, it’s over the issue of credibility.
Facets of the media, members of President Trump’s administration and politicians have all faced swift backlash over falsehoods and half-truths. The president himself has been placed under much scrutiny, as both he and his administration clash frequently with his opposition over what is and is not true.
TIME’s Michael Scherer interviewed Trump on the topic of credibility.
Scherer asked Trump about various claims he made during the 2016 campaign as well as on his own Twitter account during the beginning stages of his presidency. After answering each of Scherer’s questions, Trump said: “Hey look, in the mean time, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know. Say hello to everybody, OK?”
The tone of the interview was set by Trump’s accusation that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign. Though a spokesman for Obama denied the unverified claim, the Trump administration called for an investigation into the matter.
The House Intelligence Committee had requested that proof of wiretapping be submitted before a hearing — the Justice Department asked for more time to gather evidence shortly after the request.
During a “FOX & Friends” segment some weeks after, conservative commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano suggested that the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British intelligence agency, would have played a part in helping Obama gather the content of Trump’s conversations.
Shortly after this interview, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeated Napolitano’s idea to the media. By the next morning, the White House had apologized to GCHQ after the agency denied any involvement.
Readers of Trump’s statement in TIME reacted in shock:
"I can't be doing so badly, because I'm president and you're not." He actually said it. pic.twitter.com/XCRv2BeFXq
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) March 23, 2017
“..if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” -Lincoln
"I can’t be doing so badly, bc I’m president, and you’re not." – Trump
— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard) March 23, 2017
An article based on the interview and the wiretapping claims will run in the April edition of the magazine.