In his first sit-down television interview at the White House, with ABC News, President Donald Trump offered more of his stock-in-trade bombast, defending his most controversial policy proposals and issuing reprises of past eyebrow-raising remarks.
"We're going to have extreme vetting in all cases, and I mean extreme, and we're not letting people in if we think there's even a little chance of some problem," Trump said, referring to his expected executive order to deny visas to persons from seven Muslim-majority countries. "We are excluding certain countries, but for other countries we are having extreme vetting."
Trump reiterated his call the U.S. should have plundered Iraq's oil reserves when it invaded the country in 2003 — a notion he floated during the presidential campaign and again this week at a speech at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, raising fears the president still thinks Iraq is ripe for pillaging.
"We should've taken the oil," Trump said in the Wednesday interview. "And if we took the oil you wouldn't have ISIS. And we would have had wealth. We have spent right now $6 trillion in the Middle East. And our country is falling apart."
Taking Iraq's oil would be a grave violation of international law, specifically the Hague Convention of 1907 and 1949 Geneva Convention, which prohibits signatories from pillaging territories under private or military control for material gain.
The president also defended a baseless lie that millions of undocumented immigrants voted for his opponent Hillary Clinton in the general election. When ABC News' David Muir asked him if spreading the lies undermined his credibility, Trump responded by citing one of his favorite lines — that his assertions were endorsed by "many" nameless people.
"Not at all, because many people feel the same way that I do," Trump said, denying that any of the purportedly fraudulent votes were for him. "Believe me. Those were Hillary votes."