Trump lets it slip that he 'didn't win the election' during an interview with historians in which he also falsely claimed 'the election was rigged'
Trump spoke about his presidency to a group of historians on a Zoom call in July.
He said he "didn't win the election" twice in the interview before saying it was "rigged and lost."
He has otherwise maintained that the 2020 election was illegitimate.
Former President Donald Trump may have had a Freudian slip during a July Zoom interview with a group of historians.
Trump indicated that he "lost" the 2020 presidential election toward the end of a nearly 30-minute monologue that touched on what he viewed as his most notable accomplishments, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, NATO, trade relations with foreign countries, and the leaders of Russia, China and North Korea.
Trump's election-related comments began with a story of how he pressured the South Korean government, which hosts tens of thousands of US military personnel, to cover more of the costs of its defense.
"I said, what we'll do is we'll pay approximately $1.2 billion," Trump told the group of historians, according to the video, which The Atlantic published on Monday. He added: "And then, for next year, you'll pay $5 billion a year."
"'No, no, no,'" Trump said, impersonating South Korean President Moon Jae-In. "I said, 'Yes, you will.' And we just about had an agreement — and then the election came."
Trump went on to say twice that he did not win the 2020 president election — despite his frequent, false claims to the contrary.
"By not winning the election, he was the happiest man — I would say, in order, China was — no, Iran was the happiest," Trump said. "He was going to pay $5 billion, $5 billion a year. But when I didn't win the election, he had to be the happiest — I would rate, probably, South Korea third or fourth happiest."
After a brief digression during which Trump mentioned Europe's now canceled Nord Stream 2 pipeline, he again referred to the 2020 election, this time adding that it was "rigged."
"So we had a deal, would have happened, all set," he said. "And then when the election was rigged and lost, what happened is that the deal went away."
Trump has consistently asserted, without evidence, that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, beginning when he said in the early morning of November 4, 2020: "Frankly, we did win this election."
Trump's refusal to accept defeat prompted the "Stop the Steal" movement, which culminated in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol and Trump's second impeachment.
He has maintained since then that the 2020 election was illegitimate, saying the "real insurrection" happened on November 3, 2020, rather than on January 6, 2021.
Trump for months has openly flirted with the idea of running for president again in 2024, though he has not declared himself a candidate.
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