Former President Donald Trump waged war against Republicans who voted for his 2021 impeachment — but he pledged not to take the same payback tactic against his political enemies if reelected to the White House in 2024.
"I wouldn't do that because I want to bring our country forward," he said on the Hugh Hewitt radio program . "I would be entitled to a revenge tour, if you want to know the truth, but I wouldn't do that. I would want to strengthen our border, get inflation down, build our economy up."
Trump's comments come as the race for the 2024 Republican nomination has yet to move into full swing. At least 17 Republicans are considering a run , though former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is the only other person besides Trump who has made it clear she'll enter the race.
The former president spoke with Hewitt for over 30 minutes on Thursday, and the conservative host asked him whether he planned to seek revenge against his opponents if reelected. In 2022, Axios reported that Trump planned to overhaul the federal government to more easily oust disloyal career employees, whom he often refers to as the "deep state."
"Some worry that if you are reelected president you will use your powers to seek revenge on the people that have been after you since 2016 and 2015," Hewitt said Thursday. "What do you say to those people who say that you would abuse the office if reelected?"
Trump pointed to a "devastating" Columbia Journalism Review series released this week called " The Press Versus the President. " It critiqued news outlets for "serious flaws" in their reporting trying to prove that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to alter the results of the 2016 election.
"I was a victim," he told Hewitt. "And everyone knows it but now they really know it."
The Washington Post and New York Times both received Pulitzer Prizes for national reporting in 2018 for their stories on Russian interference in the 2016 election, though several of the Washington Post pieces later contained retractions or corrections and no federal investigations yielded evidence of collusion. The New York Times told the Columbia Journalism Review that it stood by its reporting.
Trump said he planned to sue to have the outlets return their Pulitzer Prizes, calling the Washington Post the "Washington Compost." In October 2021 ,Trump asked the Pulitzers to rescind the prizes, but the organization turned him down last year following an independent review.
"The Pulitzer Prize is supposed to be for great reporting, for accurate reporting, congratulations," Trump told Hewitt. "Well, they got it exactly wrong."
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