Ian Patrick, FISM News
A recently released interview from July 28th with President Trump dropped on HBO, and it is, as interviewer Jonathan Swan said in a later MSNBC interview, “one of the most shocking exchanges I’ve ever had with him.”
Below is a brief recap of said exchange, and the full 40-minute video is available to watch by clicking this link.
The Coronavirus, Death Rates, and Case Rates
Swan started the interview asking the President about his administration’s reaction to the coronavirus, citing his “positive thinking” philosophy of visualizing something and making it happen. When asked if this mindset is helpful for the Coronavirus pandemic, Trump responds by saying “you have to have a positive outlook, otherwise you have nothing.”
Trump recalls his travel bans on China and Europe. He states that more lives may have been lost had he not done so, and compares suffering between the U.S. and other countries. When asked about how Trump portrays the virus as “under control” when thousands of Americans are dying, Trump says “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.”
When asked about the availability of same-day testing, Trump says he doesn’t want to promise a date for that yet. Unprompted by Swan, Trump also goes on to display different charts and statistics on death rates. In a confusing interaction, Trump sticks to his discussion on death rates by cases when Swan asks him about death rates by population. Trump stays on his own topic of reporting the number of deaths in the U.S. proportionately compared to deaths in other countries, affirming that deaths are going down.
Afghanistan and Putin
Swan switches topics to ask President Trump about the bounties against U.S. soldiers allegedly paid to the Taliban by Russia. Trump claims that the intelligence report “never reached” him and says a July 23rd phone call to Putin was about different matters. Swan asks Trump why he did not challenge Putin who, according to the former head of forces in Afghanistan, was supplying weapons to the Taliban. Trump had no comment on this statement but pivoted the conversation to pulling troops out of Afghanistan. Swan asked how many troops would be there on election day, to which Trump said: “probably anywhere from four to five thousand.” He further described his commitment to eliminating ISIS, capping the discussion by saying: “The decision to … get into the Middle East was the single biggest mistake made in the history of our country. That’s my opinion.”
Election Results and Mail-In Voting
Swan then asks Trump about his remark that he might not accept the election results no matter what happens, referring to a recent interview with Chris Wallace wherein he says he “will have to see” if he will accept the results. Trump doesn’t respond yes or no, but instead talks about the danger of corruption in main-in voting. Swan challenged Trump on almost every point he made, but Trump did not budge in his response.
Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein
Swan mentions Ghislaine Maxwell, who was arrested for her ties to child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, and brings up President Trump’s statement of wishing her well during a briefing. Trump responds by saying he doesn’t know everything that is going on with Maxwell, but doubles down saying “Yeah, I wish her well. I’d wish you well. I’d wish a lot of people well.”
Portland Protests and Deployment of Federal Soldiers
Swan asks Trump about a specific video of soldiers beating a navy veteran (WARNING: Violence and Language). Trump moves the topic to Antifa and the rioters who “were beating the hell out of the city.” He later says: “If we didn’t have people [law enforcement] … you’d have that federal courthouse … burned to the ground right now.” Swan clarifies his question for the President, asking if he agrees with the investigation of police members detaining protestors with no given reason. Trump responds “no” and says that Antifa is the group that needs investigation. Quickly, Trump pivots to give an example of fake news with the story of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. Wheeler was with the protestors for one night, but Trump remarks that NBC news (specifically Lester Holt’s program) portrayed Wheeler to look like a hero. The President says that Wheeler had five bodyguards with him the whole time, using that as an example of the danger in that crowd.
Swan comments on the violence saying it has gotten worse. While he spouts the increased number of buildings and businesses damaged, Trump tells him of the increased number of arrests and the 10 Year Rule: defined by the President as “you touch our courthouse, you go to jail for 10 years.”
Black Lives Matter, African American Progression, and John Lewis
At the end of the interview, Swan asks Trump about why he hasn’t interacted with the Black Lives Matter movement, and what their message means. Trump comments that he would meet with somebody from BLM, but “nobody’s asked for a meeting.”
Trump says that we were “becoming a more unified country because of success,” talking about his relationship with the African American community. Swan asks the President about whether he thinks cops treat black people differently than white people, to which he responds “I certainly hope not.” Swan looks for a calculated response from Trump concerning data saying “black people are two and one-half times more likely to be killed by police than white people.” Reacting to this number, Trump says “it speaks to something that to me is unacceptable.” When asked what he would do about it, Trump responds by listing what his administration has already done including criminal justice reform and funding for historically black colleges. Trump bolsters himself saying he’s done more for the black community than any o except for Abraham Lincoln, to which Swan asks how Trump did more than Lyndon B. Johnson who passed the Civil Rights Act. Trump asks “how has that worked out?” and says that “under my administration, African Americans were doing better than they had ever done in the history of this country.”
Swan moves to ask, “how will history remember John Lewis?” and whether or not Trump finds him and his story “impressive.” Trump remarks that he did not know Lewis and that he did not go to any of his inauguration and State of the Union speeches. On the impressiveness of Lewis, Trump says “he was a person that devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart to Civil Rights, but there were many others also.”
In the final part of the interview, Swan mentions a petition to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama after Lewis. Swan if Trump would support that, to which he says he “would have no objection to it.”
Editorial Note: We highly recommend watching the video for full context.
Sourced from Axios, MSNBC, Fox News, and Zane Sparling from Twitter