Yesterday, Axios and HBO ran a 45-minute interview between Axios' Jonathn Swan and the President of the United States filmed last Tuesday. I haven't seen it, and I'm not sure I can stomach the whole thing after watching some excerpts. Fortunately, other people watched it for me.
Greg Sargent cites it as an example of "how to interview a serial liar and narcissist who is unfit to be president:"
Again and again, Swan practically pleaded with Trump to demonstrate a shred of basic humanity about the mounting toll under his presidency, and to display a glimmer of recognition of responsibility for it. Again and again, Trump failed this most basic test.
Even during the very occasional moments in which Trump did show a glimmer of awareness of the human toll, he immediately marred it with absurd blame-shifting to governors, who were screaming about the dangers for weeks early on while Trump dithered.
Trump simply doesn’t view the coronavirus as something to be defeated. Making this more destructive, Trump and his propagandists are working to keep the actual real-world failures of his response cosseted away in a place where they cannot be subjected to outside criticism — or corrected.
I would only add that Trump’s true position here, laid bare, is that this is the best we can do. Whether this is due to narcissism and the inability to hear criticism and self-correct, or whether it’s due to naked malevolence, that may be the biggest revelation here of all.
Inae Oh highlights "the 3 worst moments from Trump's newest Axios interview:"
In a heated back and forth, Trump and Swan sparred over the best statistics to assess the United States’ response to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump falsely asserted that US deaths from the virus are “lower” than anywhere in the world, rifling through a disorganized stack of printed charts to somehow back the absurd claim. “Lower than the world? In what?” Swan asked.
Glancing at the charts Trump was referencing, Swan said, “You’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of the population.”
“You can’t do that,” an outraged Trump replied.
After a brief explanation of the statistical importance of comparing coronavirus numbers in proportion to a country’s population, Trump then pivoted and suggested that South Korea has been falsely reporting its numbers in order to give the appearance of a more effective response. “You don’t know that,” Trump said when Swan mentioned South Korea’s low number of deaths from coronavirus. “You think they’re faking their statistics, South Korea?”
“Uh, I won’t get into that because I have a very good relationship with the country but you don’t know that.”
About accused sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, he said "I wish her well," and don't even get Maggie Haberman started on what he said about John Lewis:
“I never met John Lewis, actually,” Mr. Trump said. “He didn’t come to my inauguration. He didn’t come to my State of the Union speeches, and that’s OK. That’s his right.”
When asked to reflect on Mr. Lewis’s contributions to the civil rights movement, Mr. Trump instead talked up his own record.
“Again, nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have,” he said. “He should have come. I think he made a big mistake.”
Mr. Trump declined to say whether he found Mr. Lewis’s life story “impressive.” He seemed indifferent to renaming the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., after the congressman.
Does he even know who John Lewis was? Does he know anything at all?