US President Donald Trump has given a rare, one-on-one interview about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic (spoiler: he’s doing a godawful job) and there’s one particular moment where he gets caught so far off-guard by statistics that he unravels into an incoherent mess on camera.
When Australia-born Axios National Political Correspondent Jonathan Swan tried to bring up the grim fact that, according to hard stats, the United States is suffering quite seriously from the coronavirus pandemic and not doing nearly enough to fix the situation, Trump tried to deflect as usual.
“We test more… take a look… the top one, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump said, taking about COVID-19 testing rates.
.@jonathanvswan: “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.”@realdonaldtrump: “You can’t do that.”
Swan: “Why can’t I do that?” pic.twitter.com/MStySfkV39
— Axios (@axios) August 4, 2020
However unlike many of Trump’s previous interactions with journos, Swan didn’t let him get away with it and instead hit back.
“If hospital rates were going down and deaths were going down, I’d say ‘terrific’, you’d deserve to be praised for testing, but they’re all going up!” Swan replied.
“If you watch the news or read the papers, they usually talk about ‘new cases, new cases, new cases’,” Trump said.
To this, an astonished Swan replied: “I’m talking about death.”
The whole country – and the rest of the world (hi!) – seem to have watched on in collective astonishment.
i’m pretty sure i saw this scene in an outtake from Spinal Tap https://t.co/VkyjFoBbVG
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) August 4, 2020
in the 3.5 years of this bullshit, this is the first time I've ever seen anyone actually talk to him like he was a dog trying to eat a plastic bag. Glad someone finally has some chutzpah but too fucking late. https://t.co/Hr6wh3fXfB
— enter sadman (@Diet_Hellboy) August 4, 2020
It’s like an episode of Veep but real. https://t.co/xAIgtDK4yd
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) August 4, 2020
what strikes me watching this is how— despite the near constant rebuttals and pressing by @jonathanvswan — there were still dozens and dozens of wild lies that slid past unacknowledged because the lies per sentence ratio was basically unnavigable https://t.co/yHrxskKqjX
— Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) August 4, 2020
It’s fascinating and unnerving to see Trump when he’s not able to coast on his charisma alone. This guy is overseeing the lives of 330 million people during a pandemic and his pride is getting in the way of interpreting simple graphs.
The death toll in the US stands at over 158,000 cases. It’s not rocket science to admit the situation is dire. You can catch the full interview here.
Somebody… anybody… Barron (?) please come and collect your lost and confused