Donald Trump's demeanour in the past few months has been unhinged to say the least but his latest television interview might be the closest thing to a parody that we've ever seen.
While speaking to reporter Jonathan Swan of Axios, in an interview which was recorded at the end of July but wasn't broadcast on HBO until last night, Trump appeared to be doing his best impression of a character from The Thick of It as the interview descended into something resembling a mockumentary.
The president was almost like putty-in-the-hands of the Australian reporter who we should add is not a television host or comedian but Axios's national political corresponden, yet what he delivered would be worthy of a segment on Saturday Night Live.
There were almost too many moments from the interview which defied belief and will probably go down as the worst interview on Trump's presidency so far, and this is just a few weeks after the whole cognitive test debacle. With that in mind here are a few highlights from their chat, which should become some of the most embarrassing moments of the president's time in office.
Swan started the interview by asking Trump about his so-called 'positive thinking' approach to the pandemic, which is still growing at an alarming rate in the United States and causing widespread unrest despite Trump claiming that it is under control.
This prompted Trump to compare the outbreak in other countries, who still have a smaller case and death totals than the US.
Look, look, nobody knew what this thing was all about. This has never happened before. 1917, but it was totally different, it was a flu in that case. But 1917 – there’s never been anything like this. And by the way, if you watch the fake news on television, they don’t even talk about it, but there are 188 other countries right now that are suffering. Some, proportionately, far greater than we are.
Right now, right now, Spain is having a big spike. And there are tremendous problems in the world. You look at Moscow, look at what’s going on with Moscow. Look at Brazil. Look at these countries, what’s going on. This was sent to us by China, one way or the other, and we’re never going to forget it. Believe me, we’re never going to forget it. And we were beating China at every single point. We were beating them on trade. We were making progress like nobody’s ever made progress. They had, before the pandemic, they had the worst year, Jonathan, that they’d had in 67 years. You know that. With the tariffs and everything else I did.
Trump then tried to brag that he has managed to save 'millions of lives by banning China' from coming into the US which led to Swan fact-checking the president in real time.
Then all of a sudden, the game changed. And I had to close it down. I closed down the greatest economy ever in history. And then, I closed it down. And now we’re opening it. And we saved, by the way, by closing it, we saved millions of lives.
If we would have gone to herd [immunity], and we knew very little about the disease, if we would have gone herd, we would have lost millions of people. Millions of people. One person’s too much. We’re at 140,000 people. One person is too much. We’re at 140,000. We would have lost millions of people. And those people that really understand it, really understand it, they said it’s incredible, the job that we’ve done.
Who says that?
Again, the ban, banning China from coming in-
But it was already in here. It was already here. By the time you banned China, it came through Europe.
Trump blamed the poor attendance on 120 Black Lives Matter protesters who were outside the venue.
But the question is, Mr President, by June we knew. Things were bad. And you know, the last time I was with you was the day before your Tulsa rally. And you were saying, big huge crowd, it was indoors. These people, they listen to you.
Excuse me, Jonathan. We had a 19,000-seat stadium. First of all we had 12,000 people, not 6,000, which you reported and other people reported. But you couldn’t even get in.
Why would you have wanted that?
You had 120 Black Lives Matter people there.
Trump then became very defensive when he thought Swan was criticising the number of people that he can draw to one of his rallies.
Swan explained that he wasn't and actually put Trump in his place about the responsibility he has over the health and well being of his followers.
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 to 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,’ these are people – many of them are older people, Mr President. It’s giving them a false sense of security.
Trump then tried to point the finger at the governors who apparently didn't do their jobs properly before he then began to complain, again, about tests.
This then created another farcical moment where the two argued about manuals.
You know, there are those that say you can test too much. You do know that.
Who says that?
Oh, just read the manuals. Read the books.
Manuals? What manuals?
Read the books. Read the books.
Trying to make the best out of a bad situation, Trump tried to claim that the US is the best at testing in the world and that's why they have so many coronavirus cases.
The point is, because we are so much better at testing than any other country in the world, we show more cases.
The figure I look at is death. And death is going up now. It’s 1,000 a day.
If you look at death – take a look at some of these charts.
Trump also complained that when he became president in 2017 that there wasn't a test for coronavirus, a disease that wasn't discovered until late 2019.
No ad needed. This is devastating for Trump. Just play this. https://t.co/CdVaKQhwNR
Mercifully, that was the end of their conversation about coronavirus but Trump wasn't done putting his foot in it such as wishing Ghislaine Maxwell, the ex-girlfriend of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, well, which he has done before and did again.
A truly incredible moment saw Trump brand mail-in votes, something that he is adamantly against for the upcoming election, as a 'new phenomenon' despite Swan pointing out that it has been around since the Civil War.
.@realdonaldtrump: “We have a new phenomenon — mail-in voting.”
@jonathanvswan: “It’s been here since the Civil Wa… https://t.co/VaDekr7sUE
Perhaps the most shocking and unforgivable moment of the entire interview was when Trump was asked about the civil rights activist John Lewis, who had recently passed away, and if he found him impressive.
Rather than compliment Lewis, the president actually criticised him for not coming to his inauguration and brazenly claimed that he has done more for Black Americans than any other president.
Swan: Do you find John Lewis impressive?
Trump: I can't say one way or the other... but, no, he didn't come to my… https://t.co/LjgfbcHk67