Thursday, October 22, 2020


So here's President Trump's Lesley Stahl interview, if you want to subject yourself to it.

Right-wingers think it's awesome, while Democrats believe Trump hurt himself by acknowledging that he hopes the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare. My impression -- although I haven't watched the whole thing -- is that Trump alternates self-pity and abuse. He comes off as an abusive spouse, treating Stahl with no respect.

Having said that, I'll add that Stahl doesn't do a great job. Trump speaks mostly in well-worn talking points -- I don't think he says anything that he hasn't said a dozen times before -- but Stahl doesn't challenge him on the facts, doesn't follow up, and wanders from subject to subject.

Some examples from the rough transcript at
Lesley Stahl: Let me ask you what you think your um, the biggest domestic priority is for you right now.

Donald Trump: Um, well, ultimately, let, let me, and I'll tell you, it was happening. We created the greatest economy in the history of our country. And the other side was trying --

Lesley Stahl: You know -- you know that's not true.

Donald Trump: It is totally true.

Lesley Stahl: No.

Donald Trump :Best unemployment numbers, best employment numbers. 106 million people working. Highest stock market price. You wouldn't say that to Biden, what you just said to me if he had it, if he had it, you would never say that to Biden. We had the best stock market price ever. And we're getting close to that price again. We had the best, everything was the best. Our companies were doing better than they've ever done before. You cannot even think about talking about that.

Lesley Stahl: Well, I don't, I'm not gonna fact check you. You know, I'm not gonna do that.
Did they have an agreement? No real-time fact-checking? It sure seems that way.
Donald Trump: I think we've done a great job with COVID. And we've hired --

Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but the numbers are going up.

Donald Trump: Excuse me, 11.4 million people. Why, because the last report was a little bit, just a little bit off. And this is for that?

Lesley Stahl: No, sir. Excuse me, cases are up in about 40 states.

Donald Trump: Okay. You know why cases are up also? Because we do more testing. If we didn't do testing, cases would be way down.

Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but why are you saying they're not up? You know well, pe -- You're saying things that people [Crosstalk]

Donald Trump: Uh, no, no. What I'm saying to you, Lesley is the following. We do more testing than any country in the world by far. Second is India with 1.5 billion people. We do more testing. If we did half the testing, we'd have half the cases. If we did no testing, like many countries, we would have very few cases. Because we do such much testing, the fake news media loves to say cases are up. The fact is we've done a very, very good job.

Lesley Stahl: Cases are [Crosstalk]

Donald Trump: We have done -- That's right, because we're doing so much testing.

Lesley Stahl: But cases -- Will you at least say cases are up?

Donald Trump: Yes, cases are up because we are doing tremendous testing. And we're finding where there's a problem. Testing is a good thing, but it's also very misleading.
At this point I'm screaming at the monitor, "Ask him why hospitalizations are up! And can't a person who has the virus but hasn't been tested give it to other people? Is that what he wants? More people walking around who don't know they're infectious?"

Eventually Trump says:
Donald Trump: We have turned a corner. We understand the disease. We understand the elderly, and we're taking of them at a level like nobody's ever taken care of the elderly, especially the elderly with diabetes problems, heart problems. We are taking care of them like nobody's ever taken care of 'em. We also understand youth. 99.9% -- As an example, Baron had it. And it was gone in no time. It was just [Inaudible] he had it. It was gone, hardly even knew he even had it. So, we are taking care of our people. But uh, we've done a great job with the ventilators, with the equipment, with stocking governors that were not stocked. We've made a lot of governors look very good that shouldn't look good. And that's okay with me.
Stahl gives up:
Lesley Stahl: Okay. Let me, let me ask you something about suburban women.
And we're off on that tangent.

It's all like this. In Stahl's defense, she may be planning in her final piece to edit in the facts that rebut what Trump is saying here. So maybe this is interview is intended just to get Trump on the record, not to challenge him.

But if she lets him hold forth in the final edit with all these excuses, then the piece will be a failure. It doesn't look very strong in raw form.

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