Jonathan Swan was nobody’s favorite journalist when he interviewed Donald Trump back in 2018, but the news-breaking Axios reporter is the toast of Twitter today thanks to his most recent chat with the president. Why? Because he actually asked follow-up questions and, you know, challenged Trump’s relentless onslaught of lies, bloviations, and mischaracterizations. When you do that, it turns out, the president shows his ass (and looks really stupid while doing so).
When Trump claims he’ll have adequate tests for all Americans “soon,” Swan presses him to provide a date, which Trump eventually admits he can’t do. When Trump claims “many people are saying” one can “test too much,” Swan asks “who is saying this” and “where are they saying it?” Trump, as you probably guessed, has no real answers.
When Trump rattles off the skewed stats fed to him by his administration, Swan responds with more relevant ways of reading the data, thus resulting in bizarre exchanges where Trump says Swan “can’t do that.” Trump’s only recourse when faced with actual facts is to say the numbers are fake, though in doing so he implicates countries with which he says he has good relationships.
When you ask Trump about John Lewis and Ghislane Maxwell in the same interview, he says nicer things about the alleged pedophile and child sex trafficker than he does the civil rights icon, who committed the grand sin of not attending his inauguration.
It’s remarkable how that works. But it’s also understandable how few people can actually do it. Trump is a bulldozer, a master at plowing forward without saying anything, often while pivoting from the topic at hand to whatever talking point he saw on Fox News. The mental drain of trying to comprehend him is fierce, and we saw the struggle time and again on Swan’s face, which has since turned into a meme.
And then, of course, it got weird.
You can watch the interview in full below.
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