WASHINGTON D.C. — (08-04-20) — You won’t believe the interview between President Donald Trump and Axios TV‘s Jonathan Swan. In my 13 years as political reporter, I have never seen anything like this in my life.
Here are a few highlights from the interview and watch the complete interview below.
1. Defending the Tulsa rally (at the 5:10)
Swan opened the interview talking about the coronavirus pandemic and specifically recalled how he spoke with Trump the day before the Tulsa rally. Jonathan stayed on point pressed Trump on the wisdom of holding a rally in a city that was reporting spikes of he coronavirus infections.
The president defended the rally, saying how many people were there, and made a point of bring up the ratings for his speech.
Trump also said he thinks thing are under control and that’s when Swan struck back at told him that “Mr. President, there are 1000 Americans dying every day. Jonathan asked..”How is it under control when 1000 Americans are dying every day and Trump said, “They are dying, that’s true, it is what it is. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague that beset us.”
2. Covid-19 testing (starting at 9:25)
Jonathan then asked specifically about coronavirus testing and when the president can commit to every American getting the same kind of same-day testing as he and his staff receive daily.
Trump continued to boast U.S. testing cases and claimed, “And there are those that say you can test too much. You do know that.”
A stunned Swan asked, “Who says that?”
“Read the manuals, read the books,” Trump said.
“Manuals? what manuals?” Swan asked. “What books?”
3. “You can’t do that.” (starting at 13:00)
At one point Swan told Trump that deaths are going up. The president immediately brought up his famous charts that he doesn’t even look like he believes in, to try and correct Swan tha the U.S. is “lower than the world.”
Swan looked over the chart and with amazement said, “Oh, you’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population. That’s where the U.S. is really bad. Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc.”
The president responded by saying, “You can’t do that.”
“Why can’t I do that?” asked Swan.
The president looking confused because he is being challenged on his comments for the first time. Not even Chris Wallace challenged Trump in this fashion.
“You’re not reporting it correctly, Jonathan,” said Trump.
“I think I am,” responded Swan, as Trump took out another chart to push his claims.
Watch President Trump AXIOS Complete Interview Below
4. The alleged Russian bounties (starting at 16:30)
This was the exchange that Axios previewed last week that shocked a lot of people. The president said “many people” called the Russian bounty reports fake news and said he never brought this up in his recent call with Vladimir Putin.
He claimed it didn’t reach his desk. Swan pointed out how the former commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan has publicly said Russia’s supplying weapons to the Taliban. “Isn’t that enough to challenge Putin over the killings of U.S. soldiers?”
Trump started by saying, “We supplied weapons when they were fighting Russia too.”
“That’s a different era,” Swan responded.
5. “I honestly don’t understand…” (starting at 22:25)
Swan asked Trump about accepting the election results if he looses to former vice president Joe Biden on November 3rd. That’s when the president went into his mail-in voting talking points.
“I honestly don’t understand this topic with you,” said Swan. “The Republican party has an extremely well-funded vote-by-mail program.”
Holding up a piece of paper, Swan added, “Your campaign puts out emails telling people to vote by mail. Your daughter-in-law Lara Trump, she did robocalls in California saying it’s safe and secure, mail-in voting. The Republican won! That was an all-mail-in race!”
Trump responded in confusion by saying “many court cases where we’re trying to end it” and invoked World War I and World War II to say people didn’t do mail-in voting then.
“We’ve had mail-in voting since the Civil War,” said Swan.
6. “I don’t know John Lewis.” (starting at 35:24)
Swan ended the interview by asking the president to comment on what the legacy of civil rights legend John Lewis will be.
“I don’t know. I really don’t know. I don’t know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration. I never met John Lewis, actually,’ the president said.
The president couldn’t say whether he found Lewis impressive, instead going back to how Lewis did not go to his inauguration or State of the Union speeches.
Swan tried to get Trump to comment on Lewis’ legacy instead of their personal relationship. Trump said, “He was a person who devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart to civil rights, but there were many others also.” He added that he wouldn’t have any objection to the Edmund Pettus Bridge being renamed for Lewis.
Grab a drink, kick your feet up and be prepared for president Donald Trump’s performance in his toughest interview ever recorded.
Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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