President Donald Trump said he was going to be “not at all controversial” and “very, very conservative” in his answers at a solo press conference in New Delhi today, but he still found some time to riff on Harvey Weinstein’s connections to the Democratic Party, attack recent comments made by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and accuse a sitting congressman of leaking sensitive intelligence.
At the press conference, which came near the end of Trump’s two-day state visit to India, the president was asked about tweets calling for Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse themselves from all future “Trump-related matters” that come before the Supreme Court.
Sotomayor recently wrote in a dissenting opinion that the Court has a habit of granting the Trump administration emergency relief when they ask for it, even if it’s not really an emergency.
"Her statement was so inappropriate,” Trump said. “When you're a justice of the Supreme Court — and it's almost what she's trying to do is take the people who do feel a different way and get them to vote the way she would like them to vote.” Later, Trump said she was trying to “shame” people into voting her way.
Trump also accused Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, of leaking details from the recent briefing lawmakers received about Russia’s potential interference in the 2020 election on behalf of Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The reports have since gotten pushback from national security officials, who have said the staffer who gave the briefing overstated the intelligence.
It's unclear who leaked the details of the briefing, but that didn’t stop Trump. “Schiff leaked it, in my opinion. And he shouldn’t be leaking things like that; that’s a terrible thing to do,” Trump said. “Bernie is probably winning, he’s got a head of steam and it seems like [The Democrats] don’t want him, for obvious reasons, so they put out a thing that Russia’s backing him. This is what they do…I get the game better than anybody.”
Trump was also asked if he thought “justice was served” in Harvey Weinstein’s trial and conviction. “I was never a fan of Harvey Weinstein. In fact he said he was going to work hard to defeat me,” Trump responded. “How did that work out, by the way?”
“I will say, the people who liked him were the Democrats,” he added. “Michelle Obama loved him. Loved him. Hillary Clinton loved him. And he gave tremendous money to the Democrats, and I guess my question is, will the Democrats give that money back?”
Later, when asked what message he had for women who were still afraid to come forward about their assaults, Trump — who has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least two dozen women, including several who claim that he raped them — said Weinstein’s conviction was a “great thing, a great victory, and sends a very strong message.”
One topic Trump avoided was India’s new citizenship law, which grants citizenship to undocumented immigrants provided they are not Muslim. The law is backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has spurred protests throughout the country for its specific exclusion of Islam.
After saying that Modi’s government had “really worked hard on religious freedom,” Trump was asked a second time. "I don't want to discuss that and hopefully they're going to make the right decision for the people," he said.
Cover: U.S.President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)