POLITICS
05/08/2020 11:06 PM AEST

Jonathan Swan Names The Most ‘Stunning’ Moment Of His Wild Trump Interview

"He is not confronting reality when it comes to the virus," the Axios journalist said.

US President Donald Trump’s HBO interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios contained a number of jaw-dropping moments.

Trump bluntly dismissed the late Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon, while offering well-wishes for Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime associate of child sex predator Jeffrey Epstein, who is in custody and facing her own charges

But Swan said on MSNBC on Tuesday that the moment that stood out to him was the wild back-and-forth they had on the coronavirus pandemic. 

“He is not confronting reality when it comes to the virus,” Swan said. “And he is reaching for data points that are good for publicity or sound good, but are not actually the best metrics for revealing what’s going on in this country.” 

Trump argued that the US had the best coronavirus numbers in the world because of the extensive testing, despite nearly 160,000 deaths, and repeated his claim that there can be too much testing. 

“You know there are those that say, you can test too much,” Trump said. “You do know that.”

“Who says that?” Swan asked. 

“Oh, just read the manuals,” Trump said. “Read the books.” 

Speaking on MSNBC on Tuesday, Swan said Trump never named the books or manuals, and added that there’s “no credible public health expert who is suggesting that there is a danger to testing too much.”

He also said Trump’s claim that the United States is doing the most testing isn’t particularly meaningful in context.  

“The reason the US has had to do all these tests is because the virus spread undetected like wildfire through this country in February, March, April, and it took a very long time to get the testing working and effective,” Swan pointed out. “And we’re still not there with these delays, so people are walking around for, in some cases 10, 11 days, spreading the virus.”

Swan said public health experts agree that, without a vaccine, the best way to control the virus is with aggressive and rapid testing as well as isolation, contact tracing and quarantining. 

“The fact that he’s ... still expressing ambivalence over the value of testing is stunning,” he said.