Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Trump: "Under The Circumstances Right Now, I Think It's Under Control"
Axios: "How? 1,000 Americans Are Dying A Day"
Trump: "They Are Dying. That's True. It Is What It Is."

Axios's Jonathan Swan's interview with Donald Trump aired last night (video):

Swan: I've covered you for a long time. I've gone to your rallies. I've talked to your people. They love you. They listen to you. They listen to every word you say, they hang on your every word. They don't listen to me or the media or Fauci. They think we're fake news. They want to get their advice from you. And so, when they hear you say, everything's under control, don't worry about wearing masks. I mean, these are people, many of them are older people, Mr. President.

Trump: Well, what's your definition of control?

Swan: It's giving them a false sense of security.

Trump: Yeah. Under the circumstances right now, I think it's under control. I'll tell you what-

Swan: How? 1,000 Americans are dying a day.

Trump: They are dying. That's true. And 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. This is a horrible plague that beset us.

Swan: You really think this is as much as we can control it? 1,000 deaths a day?

Trump: Well, I'll tell you, I'd like to know if somebody… First of all, we have done a great job. We've gotten the governors everything they needed, they didn't do their job. Many of them didn't and some of them did. Someday we'll sit down. We'll talk about the successful ones, the good ones. Look at that smile. The good ones and the bad. We had good and bad. And we had a lot in the middle, but we had some incredible governors. I could tell you right now who the great ones are and who the not so great ones are, but the governors do it. We gave them massive amounts of material.

Swan: Mr. President, you changed your message this week, in terms of you canceled the Jacksonville convention, you said, "Wear a mask." You're saying that, "It's going to get worse before it gets better." It's not something you'd like to say, I know. And you said that. The big question-

Trump: By the way, not get worse like the original flow. You understand that.

Swan: Well, I hope not. It's a 1,000-

Trump: But If you look, Arizona's going down. Texas is going down, and Florida is going down.

Swan: If I could just finish my question. The question is, even some of your own aides wonder whether you would stick to that message until Election Day, whether in a week or two, you won't say, "Right, we've got to reopen again. We can't do this stuff anymore." That you'll get bored of talking about the virus and go back to that sort of cheerleading.

Trump: No, I'm not going to get bored. I never get bored of talking about this, it's too big a thing.

Swan: So will you stick to that message?

Trump: And again, it should have been stopped by China, and it wasn't.

Swan: But now it's here and you're the President.

Trump: We have it here.

Swan: [Inaudible]

Trump: No, I think I'm very consistent. No, this is a very serious thing. We have 140,000 people at this moment.

Swan: More than that. [Deaths were over 158,000]

Trump: This is a very, very serious situation. And what you have to do, is handle it the best it can be handled. And again, I'm working with the governors. I got them tremendous amounts of equipment that they would have never gotten. Jonathan, they wouldn't have equipment now, if I didn't get.

Swan: When can you commit, by what date, that every American will have access to the same day testing that you get here in the White House?

Trump: Well, we have great testing. We're doing and many other people do-

Swan: By what date?

Trump: Let me explain the testing. We have tested more people than any other country, than all of Europe put together times two. We have tested more people than anybody ever thought of. India has 1.4 billion people. They've done 11 million tests. We've done 55, it'll be close to 60 million tests. And there are those that say, you can test too much. You do- And there are those that say you can test too much. You do know that.

Swan: Who says that?

Trump: Oh, just read the manuals, read the books.

Swan: Manuals?

Trump: Read the books. Read the books.

Swan: What books?

Trump: What testing does-

Swan: Wait a minute. I'm sorry.

Trump: Let me explain. What testing does, it shows cases. It shows where there may be cases. Other countries test… you know when they test? They test when somebody is sick. That's when they test. And I'm not saying they're right or wrong. Nobody has done it like we've done it. We've gotten absolutely no credit for it. But we've come up with so many different tests. The only thing that we have now is some people have to wait longer than we'd like them to. We want it-

Swan: That's a big problem.

Trump: We want point to point. We want to have a five minute to a 15 minute test.

Swan: Right. When do you think-

Trump: And we have… and like many others-

Swan: Every American-

Trump: And, from what I understand, we're close to 50% where it's point to point tests. We are making thousands of instruments, thousands of tests right now, tens of thousands that can be distributed to various parts of the country. But you have to understand. And we've even sent some of them to other countries where they had a big problem. Jonathan, almost 50%, in fact, I think the number might be over, is immediate testing. The other is tough. You take a test. You have to send it to a laboratory. Let's say that takes a day. Let's say it's a day.

Swan: Right. It's difficult.

Trump: So, it's three, or four, or five days.

Swan: I understand.

Trump: There is nothing you can do about that.

Swan: But when do you think you will have it for everyone? What day?

Trump: I think that you will have that relatively soon. I mean-

Swan: What does that mean?

Trump: You already have half.

Swan: Yeah.

Trump: I would much rather get back to you.

Swan: Okay. That's fine.

Trump: Because I don't want to have you write in one month, I didn't make it.

Swan: That's fine.

Trump: I missed it by a day.

Swan: Yeah. I get it.

Trump: And it's a headline.

Swan: Mr. President, I want to talk about the federal intervention.

Trump: Excuse me. One thing I would say about testing.

Swan: Yeah. Yeah.

Trump: Because we test so much, we show cases. So, we show many, many cases. We show tremendous number of cases. I know you're smiling when I say that, but I'm telling you.

Swan: Well, I mean, I've heard you say this.

Trump: I know. Other countries don't test like we do. So, they don't show case.

Swan: Just a couple points on that. I wasn't going to continue on the testing, but you said it. So, we're testing so much because it's spread so far in America. And, when you-

Trump: We're testing so much because we had the ability to test.

Swan: Okay.

Trump: Because we came up with test-

Swan: But South Korea-

Trump: Jonathan, we didn't even have a test. When I took over, we didn't even have a test. Now, in all fairness-

Swan: Why would you have a test?

Trump: There was no test for this-

Swan: The virus didn't exist.

Trump: Excuse me. I was going to say-

Swan: Okay.

Trump: There was no test for this. We didn't have a test because there was no test.

Swan: Of course.

Trump: And, in a very short order, we got one test. We got another test.

Swan: It was broken, the first one.

Trump: We got another. Many of those tests are now obsolete because it's called science.

Swan: Right.

Trump: And, all of a sudden, something is better. But, because we tested so many people, 55, 60 million people, very soon, we get cases. You test. Some kid has even just a little runny nose. It's a case. And then, you report many cases. So, we look like we have more cases than massive countries like China, which by the way, doesn't report, as you know.

Swan: Well, I don't put any stock in China's figures.

Trump: No. No. The point is-

Swan: Yeah.

Trump: The point is, because we are so much better at testing than any other country in the world, we show more cases.

Swan: The figure I look at is death. And death is going up now.

Trump: Okay. No, no.

Swan: It's a thousand a day.

Trump: If you look at death-

Swan: Yeah. It's going up again.

Trump: Let's look. Let's look.

Swan: Daily death.

Trump: Take a look at some of these charts.

Swan: I'd love to.

Trump: We're going to look.

Swan: Let's look.

Trump: And, if you look at death per-

Swan: Yeah. It's started to go up again.

Trump: Here is one. Well, right here, United States is lowest in numerous categories. We're lower than the world.

Swan: Lower than the world?

Trump: We're lower than Europe.

Swan: What does that mean? In what? In what?

Trump: Look. Take a look. Right there. Here is case death.

Swan: 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, et cetera.

Trump: You can't do that.

Swan: Why can't I do that?

Trump: You have to go by where… look. Here is the United States. You have to go by the cases. The cases are there.

Swan: Why not as a proportion of population?

Trump: What it says is, when you have somebody where there's a case-

Swan: Oh, okay.

Trump: The people that live from those cases.

Swan: Oh. It's surely a relevant statistic to say, if the U.S. has X population and X percentage of death of that population versus South Korea-

Trump: No. Because you have to go by the cases.

Swan: Well, look at South Korea, for example. 51 million population, 300 deaths. It's like, it's crazy compared to-

Trump: You don't know that.

Swan: I do.

Trump: You don't know that.

Swan: You think they're faking their statistics, South Korea? An advanced country?

Trump: I won't get into that because I have a very good relationship with the country.

Swan: Yeah.

Trump: But you don't know that. And they have spikes. Look, here's one of-

Swan: Germany, low 9,000.

Trump: Here's one. Here's one right here, United States.

Swan: Let me look.

Trump: You take the number of cases.

Swan: Okay.

Trump: Now look, we're last meaning we're first.

Swan: Last? I don't know what we're first in.

Trump: We have the best.

Swan: As a what?

Trump: Take a look again. It's cases.

Swan: Okay. I'll just… okay.

Trump: And we have cases because of the testing.

Swan: I mean, a thousand Americans die a day. But I understand. I understand on the cases, it's different.

Trump: No, but you're not reporting it correctly, Jonathan.

Swan: I think I am, but-

Trump: If you take a look at this other chart… look, this is our testing. I believe this is the testing. Yeah.

Swan: Yeah. We do more tests.

Trump: No, wait a minute. Well, don't we get credit for that? And, because we do more tests, we have more cases. In other words, we test more. We have… now, take a look. The top one, that's a good thing not a bad thing. But the top… Jonathan-

Swan: If hospitals rates were going down and deaths were going down, I'd say, terrific. You deserve to be praised for testing.

Trump: Well, they don't even-

Swan: But they are all going up.

Trump: Well, they very rarely talk-

Swan: Plus, 60,000 Americans are in hospital, 1,000 dying a day.

Trump: If you watch the news or read the papers, they usually talk about new cases, new cases, new cases.

Swan: I'm talking about death.

Trump: Well, you look at death.

Swan: It's going up.

Trump: Death is way down from where it was.

Swan: It's 1,000 a day.

Trump: Death-

Swan: It was two and a half thousand. It went down to 500. Now, it's going up again.

Trump: Death… excuse me. Where it was is much higher than where it is right now.

Swan: It went down and then it went up again.

Trump: It spiked, but now it's going down again.

Swan: It's going up.

Trump: It's gone down in Arizona. It's going down in Florida.

Swan: Nationally it's going up.

Trump: It's going down in Texas. Take a look at this. These are the tests.

Swan: It's going down in Florida?

Trump: Yeah. It leveled out and it's going down. That's my report, as of yesterday.

Swan: Anyway, Mr. President, if I could change subjects.

Trump: It is going down in Arizona. It is going down in Texas.

Swan: Arizona it is. Arizona it is. Texas has big problems.

Trump: And it is spiked. It spiked and is now going down in Florida. It's evened out and going down in Florida.

Swan: I'll have to see those figures.

Trump: But you have to look at this. This is the number of tests compared to the rest of the world.

Swan: I don't deny your figures. You've done more tests by far than the rest of the world. I don't deny that.

Trump: Right. And, because we've done more tests, we have more cases. Now, you can take them back. Check it out in your office.

Swan: Mr. President, different subject, it's been widely reported that the U.S. has intelligence indicating that Russia paid bounties or offered to pay bounties to Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers.

Trump: Right. Right.

Swan: You had a phone call with Vladimir Putin on July 23rd. Did you bring up this issue?

Trump: No. That was a phone call to discuss other things. And frankly, that's an issue that many people said was fake news.

Swan: Who said it was fake news?

Trump: I think a lot of people. If you look at some of the wonderful folks from the Bush Administration, some of them, not any friends of mine, were saying that it's a fake issue. But a lot of people said, it's a fake issue.

Swan: There was dispute within intelligence.

Trump: But we had a call. We had a call talking about nuclear proliferation.

Swan: Right.

Trump: Which is a very big subject where they would like to do something. And so would I. We discussed numbers things. We did not discuss that. No.

Swan: And you've never discussed it with him.

Trump: I have never discussed it with him. No. I would. I'd have no problem with it.

Swan: But you don't believe the intelligence.

Trump: But you know it never got to-

Swan: It's because you don't believe the intelligence. That's why.

Trump: It's interesting. Nobody ever brings up China. They always bring Russia, Russia, Russia. If we can do something with Russia in terms of nuclear proliferation, which is a very big problem.

Swan: Right.

Trump: Bigger problem than global warming.

Swan: Right.

Trump: A much bigger problem than global warming in terms of the real world, that would be a great thing. No. It never reached my desk.

Swan: Okay.

Trump: You know why? Because intelligence, they didn't think it was real.

Swan: It was in your written brief though about it.

Trump: They didn't think it was worthy. I wouldn't mind. If it reached my desk, I would have done something about it. It never reached my desk because-

Swan: Do you read your written brief?

Trump: I do.

Swan: Do you?

Trump: I read it a lot.

Swan: Really?

Trump: I read a lot. They like to say I don't read. I read a lot.

Swan: You read your daily intelligence brief?

Trump: I comprehend extraordinarily well, probably better than anybody that you've interviewed in a long time. I read a lot. I spend a lot of time at meetings. Usually it's once a day or at least two or three times a week, intelligence meetings.

Swan: Because this was apparently in your-

Trump: Talking about India, talking about the problems with China.

Swan: Right.

Trump: Talking about so many different elements of the world. The world is a very angry place ...

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