Axios’ Jonathan Swan Breaks Down His Shocking Interview With Trump: I Wasn’t Trying to ‘Score a Point or Gotcha’


Axios’ Jonathan Swan broke down some of the most stunning moments from his interview with Donald Trump, explaining how he got the president to reveal more than his “good sales message” on his Covid-19 response and other pressing issues.

“You have a lot of experience interviewing him,” CNN’s Brianna Keilar said to Swan. “You sat across from him for almost an hour. Does he not understand how the virus and testing works, or is he just spinning this, or is it both?”

“I can’t X-ray his mind or his heart,” Swan said. “Why this is so important is he’s focused on this overall number of tests. It’s the wrong metric to look at — It’s completely the wrong metric to look at. The reason so many tests have had to be done is because the virus spread like wildfire, undetected through the country because the government was slow to test and contact trace at the beginning.”

“To me, yes, it’s a good sales message,” Swan added. “We’ve done 60 million tests but it’s sort of besides the point.”

Swan’s interview with Trump was filled with lots of noteworthy commentary and questionable statements. Trump defended his campaign’s Tulsa rally by touting Fox’s cable news ratings, railed against John Lewis not attending his inauguration and State of the Union addresses, and doubled down on wishing Ghislaine Maxwell well, among others.

“You addressed the beginning of your interview this philosophy he has of positive thinking,” Keilar asked. “And you were challenging him to think about the limitations of where that might be when he is, for instance, looking at these charts and drawing a conclusion.”

“I wasn’t trying to score a point or gotcha,” Swan said. “What I was trying to get him to do was grapple with the question of why? Why is it that America with its incredibly sophisticated and advanced science and medicine, the leader of the free world, is doing so much worse than so many other advanced countries on a death as a proportion of population basis?”

“I was challenging him on the fact that he presented the rosiest picture to the American public consistently since this virus first arrived in America, telling them each month that it’s under control with only brief reversions to a more grim reality,” Swan later noted.

Near the end of his interview with Keilar, Swan gave credit to Trump for participating in the almost 40-minute back-and-forth. Swan also said his team has an invitation out for presumptive democratic nominee Joe Biden and he hopes Biden “will do the same thing.”

Watch above, via CNN.

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