“Well, it’s been mean. It’s been — you’ve dealt with horrible people,” Trump replied, adding: “You deal with people that are very deceptive.”

Trump, who participated in five campaign rallies Monday, sounded noticeably hoarse throughout his phone interview Tuesday, and seemed relatively despondent compared with his previous appearances on his preferred cable morning news show.

Reflecting further on his time in office, Trump said that his friends “used to call me Donald, [but] now they call me president,” and he argued that the United States itself was more “difficult to deal with” than America’s international adversaries.