Coronavirus

Trump argues in interview with Swan over US Covid-19 cases and deaths

Axios' Jonathan Swan interviewed Donald Trump, during which they had a remarkable clash over the coronavirus situation in the United States.

Trump argues in interview with Swan over US Covid-19 cases and deaths
NICHOLAS KAMM AFP

President Donald Trump and Axios interviewer Jonathan Swan had a remarkable clash over the coronavirus statistics in an interview aired by HBO on Monday evening.

President Trump, clutching a sheaf of papers, was determined to argue that the numbers suggest that the US is doing well in its response to the coronavirus.

The US, which has around 4.25% of the world's population, has 4.7 million of the world's 18.3 million cases - just over 25% - and 155k of 694 deaths - just over 22%.

Trump defends US Covid-19 statistics

Trump says the US is "lower in numerous categories, lower than the world", as interviewer Swan looks puzzled. "What does that mean?" he queries. "Lower than Europe," Trump continues. "In what? In what?" comes the reply.

Being handed the graph Trump had been looking at Swan realises what the President is attempting to argue: "Oh you're doing death as a proportion of cases, I'm talking about death as a proportion of population. That's where the US is really bad. Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc."

Trump replies: "You can't do that," leaving Swan completely bemused: "Why can't I do that?"

Trump looks to favourable coronavirus figures

The President then attempts to explain why Swan should be going by the the cases, but his argument is mostly incoherent, repeating that it is necessary to "go by the cases", rather than explaining why that is important.

Trump claims pandemic "under control"

Later in the interview, Trump said he though the situation was "under control", leading Swan to ask: "How? A thousand Americans are dying a day." Trump replied: "They are dying, that's true. It is what it is."

Trump went on to say that everything was being done that could be done, and that the pandemic was under control, "as much as you can control it."

Full Trump interview on Axios

Watch the full episode, in which President Trump also declined to praise the late Rep. John Lewis, saying he made a "big mistake" by not coming to his inauguration and repeated his scaremongering over election fraud, saying "lots of things can happen" with voting by mail.