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Trump Says About COVID Fatalities, 'They Are Dying. That's True. It Is What It Is.'

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Trump Says About COVID Fatalities, 'They Are Dying. That's True. It Is What It Is.'

2020-08-05 11:15:01

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump and Jonathan Swan (Image source:  Screenshot)

Incredibly, as badly as Donald Trump's interview with Chris Wallace went, he sat down for yet another interview. Not with a Sean Hannity, but with another interviewer who was destined to give him real questions — an interviewer who was not willing to let him slide. So for the second interview in a row, he did nothing to help his cause. He did badly. It was a P.R. nightmare as he gave a flippant answer about the deaths due to the coronavirus.

Interviewer Jonathan Swan of Axios asked Trump how he can say the coronavirus pandemic is under control when around 1,000 people in this country are dying from the virus every day.

"They are dying. That's true. It is what it is. ... It's under control as much as you can control it," answered the president.

When it came to the subject of testing, he said, "There are those that say you can test too much. You know that?"  This led Swan to question, "Who says that?"

"Read the manuals. Read the books," answered the president. Swan asked the question everyone was asking: "What books?"

Trump answered that "when I took over, we didn't even have a test." This is a ridiculous response, as there was no novel coronavirus during the Obama administration. They had nothing to create a test for.

Trump used printed charts and graphs that he thought would explain that he is doing what he needs to do and that the death toll is right on target to where it should be.

"Right here, the United States is lowest in ... numerous categories ... ah, we're lower than the world," Trump pushed out.

Swan challenged, "Lower than the world? In what?" He then realized what math Trump was using. "Oh, you're doing death as a proportion of cases," he said. "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. ... Look at South Korea: 50 million population, 300 deaths."

Trump suggested that South Korea is faking its numbers. When he was challenged on that assumption, he returned to his graphs and charts. "Here's one right here. You take the number of cases. No, look. We're last. Meaning we're fighting," he said.

"I mean, 1,000 Americans die a day," Swan explained. "If hospital rates were going down and deaths were going down, I'd say terrific, you deserve to be praised for testing. But they're all going up!"

Later the conversation switched to the contradiction between him saying he reads all intelligence reports and saying he was never informed about intelligence that Russia had offered bounties on the heads of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. 

"I read a lot. I comprehend extraordinarily well. Probably better than anybody you've interviewed in a long time," he said, not clearing up the contradiction.

He failed to properly answer questions on mail-in voting, his well wishes for Ghislaine Maxwell, and federal law enforcement beating a Navy veteran with a baton in Portland.

Incredibly, the interview ended with the same incredulous answers it started with. Just as he gave the tone-deaf response that the COVID-19 fatalities situation "is what it is," he could not bring himself to say one good word about the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).

This inevitably involved a discussion of racism. "Why do you think Black men are two and a half times more likely to be killed by police than white men?" asked Swan.

"I do know this: that police have killed many white people also," answered Trump.

Trump moved on to claim he's done "more for the Black community than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, whether you like it or not."

Swan asked, "You believe you did more than Lyndon Johnson, who passed the Civil Rights Act?"

"How has it worked out?" Trump asked. "If you take a look at what Lyndon Johnson did, how has it worked out?"

With a final chance to say one nice thing about the late congressman, Swan asked Trump, "How do you think history will remember John Lewis?" It could have been the easiest question he was asked.

"I really don't know. I don't know. I don't know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration," he said.

"Taking your relationship with him out of it, do you find his story impressive, what he's done for this country?" Swan pressed.

Trump answered, "He was a person that devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart to civil rights. But there were many others also."


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