S.V. Dáte had waited five long years to ask Donald Trump one question: “Mr President, after three and a half years [of Trump’s presidency], do you regret at all, all the lying you’ve done to the American people?”
Confronted with Dáte’s question at Thursday’s White House briefing, Trump responded with a question of his own. “All the what?,” he said.
Dáte: “All the lying, all the dishonesties.”
Trump: “That who has done?”
“You have done,” said Dáte, who is the Huffington Post’s White House correspondent. “Tens of thousan–”, he began to say, before Trump cut him off and called on another journalist, who asked a question about payroll tax.
In July, the Washington Post reported that Trump had told more than 20,000 “false or misleading claims” over the course of his presidency.
Wow. A reporter (I'm not sure who he is) asks Trump, "after three and a half years, do you regret all the lying you've done to the American people?" Trump quickly moves on to the next question. pic.twitter.com/DHn3UvXHnN
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 13, 2020
Speaking to the Guardian, Dáte said that he asked the question because it was the first time that he had had the chance.
“I don’t know why he called on me, because I’ve tried to ask him before [in March] and he’s cut me off mid-question. Maybe he didn’t recognise me this time,” he said. “You know, he has this group of folks that he normally asks questions of.”
It was Dáte’s turn on White House in press pool, and so he had a prominent seat. “I had always thought that if he ever did call on me, this is the one thing that is really central to his presidency,” he said.
For five years I've been wanting to ask him that.
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) August 13, 2020
Trump’s lying was the “singular piece of his presidency that will be remembered in 10 years”.
Dáte wasn’t surprised by Trump’s response to the question – ignoring it was always going to be the most likely reaction, he thought.
Asked whether he thought he would be allowed in next time, Dáte said, “Yes, absolutely.”
With the burning question posed, what would he ask if he had another chance?
Given that Trump had failed to respond, it would be: “‘Mr President, you didn’t answer last time. Could you address why you’ve told …’ whatever the number will be by then,” said Dáte.