Last night Nigel Farage delivered the shortest hour-long interview in TV history. GB News had cleared 60 minutes of the schedules for Donald Trump’s bombshell appearance, but viewers soon realised that Farage had spent relatively little facetime with the former president.
Did he get half an hour to record their interview? It may have been less. Farage bulked out the material with snatches of personal analysis and Zoom calls with American pundits. And he kept advertising the content with excitable slogans delivered in his shrill Auntie Mildred tones.
‘No subject was off-limits. And goodness gracious me, he wasn’t holding back.’
The location was the Mar-a-Lago golf course, and Trump appeared on a fake antique chair in a small octagonal space. It looked like Mozart’s music-room. Cream walls, gilt reliefs, miniature columns with gold finials. The ornamental pastiche was rather tasteful if you like your Habsburg emperors.
Farage asked him about the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. ‘The most embarrassing moment in our country’s history,’ said Trump.
The 2020 election? ‘Rigged,’ he decreed, thanks to the pandemic which massively increased postal voting.
‘They used Covid to rob and rig and steal an election. They sent out millions of ballots and no one knows where they went.’ This was bad, he went on, ‘bad for democracy, very, very bad for democracy… These mail-in ballots are a disaster. An open invitation to cheat.’
He said the chaotic rally at the Capitol on January 6th was caused by Democratic mismanagement. Trump had offered 10,000 National Guard officers as a precaution.
‘[Nancy] Pelosi turned it down. That would have stopped it.’
He re-stated his liking for Boris Johnson but he criticised the UK’s embrace of renewable energy. Trump loathes wind.
‘Wind is ridiculous and I think it’s a horrible thing for Scotland because I own great properties there.’ He referred to an ‘ugly’ wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen and he pointed out that all turbines are perishable.
‘They start to rust and wear out and look terrible… Every ten years you have to replace those monsters.’ He blamed environmentalists. ‘I think they hate the world.’
Farage brought up a well-known environmentalist, Prince Charles, and he invited Trump to denounce him as a pretentious duffer. Had their bilateral meeting been ‘somewhat boring’, he asked. But Trump is royalty and he knows better than to insult a fellow prince. ‘I like Charles… I was not bored at all. I think Charles is a wonderful person.’
They turned to Harry and the explosive charges went off. Trump is more subtle than his detractors realise and he approached the subject tactfully with a British audience in mind. He framed the situation as Victim Harry and Captor Meghan.
‘Harry’s been used horribly and some day he will regret it – he probably does already.’
That’s all he said about their marriage but it contains two insights.
‘He will regret it’ is a hint that Meghan intends to feed Harry to the sharks when it suits her. Many in Britain believe that this tragic outcome is inevitable. In his second phrase, Trump suggests that Harry himself is waking up to the truth.
Trump was once a rich young playboy so he probably understands how Harry’s mind works. And he added a classic Trump flourish for the benefit of anyone who doubts his prowess as a clairvoyant.
‘A lot of people are saying I’m good at the prediction business.’
He offered more crystal-ball moments. On Taiwan, he blamed Joe Biden for leaving America’s ally vulnerable.
‘There were no planes flying over Taiwan and the name wasn’t even mentioned when I was president.’ In his view, a Chinese strike is not imminent.
‘They’ll wait until after the [winter] Olympics.’
Finally, the big one. Will he run in 2024? He didn’t quite declare his candidacy on GB News but he gave a strong hint.
‘If you love the country you have no choice.’
Referring to next year’s mid-terms he added, ‘We’re going to have a very big ’22. And an even bigger ’24.’
Farage got his scoop. Trump will stand.