We’ll Do It Live: Trump on Axios Edition, With Charts

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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21 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    I would like to point out that Swan, a non-American figured out how to interview Trump. Swan interrupts at every bizarre statement, lie, grandiose feeling of prosecution and asks for clarification. He is not quite as good as Isaac Chotiner in terms of getting people to hang themselves but Chotiner is never going to be allowed near Trump.

    American journalists for reasons that are opaque to me seem incapable of doing this kind of interview style or even asking good follow-up questions.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Somebody once remarked that British journalists tend to be more aggressive with politicians because they went to the same schools as them and aren’t that impressed. I’m not quite sure if this is entirely true but I’ve noticed that the British press and media was more willing to lay it into Margaret Thatcher at the height of her popularity than the America media was willing to go into Reagan. There is more savage comedic energy against Trump than any other President in my lifetime but it still isn’t the same level of comedic assault that a British politician would get.

      The American press simply doesn’t know how to deal with bad politicians. They don’t want to upset any portion of the American population, so as long as politician as plurality support they tend to be good. Going to the same schools and living in the same places doesn’t seem to damper any of the mysticism.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        I mean our journalists seem have done this too largely. I think that there is more tolerance in the British system for partisanship, mockery, and disrespect in many ways. Parliament can be quite loud and rambunctious and filled with insults. There is a general feeling in the United States that politics should be non-partisan and high minded and all about coming together for Team America.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          Well of course the Brits are utterly (and healthily) savage with their politicians- British politicians are just especially venal civil servants; it’s not like they’re heads of state.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            I don’t know if they are especially venal compared to the Republican Party. Boris Johnson is a buffoon but he is inherently better than Trump. Most Tories are pretty venal but nothing compared to the GOP and the Long Con.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
              Ignored
              says:

              I think what Trump meant was the fact that the British have a monarch to direct their warm fuzzies too means that very few British politicians become messiah like figures. That might have been true in the past but it seems to be changing with Corbyn, etc.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        I think our journalists are just lazy and don’t want to risk burning access just for a brutal interview.

        Swan will never be allowed near Trump again, and a lot of other politicians (on both sides of the aisle) will see this and avoid taking his calls. The fact that there are a lot of ‘tame’ journalists out there means said politicians won’t have to worry about not being able to get camera time outside of a press conference.Report

  2. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    What stuck out for me is how childish his prep materials were.
    Like how his staff breaks everything down to grade school size bar charts and bite sized ideas.

    The overwhelming sense is just how stupid this man is. Not stupid compared to Presidents and Prime Ministers, but stupid compared to the average internet commenter.
    And stupidity alloyed with malevolence; Stupid people can be innocent and sweet natured, but here the stupidity is based on a malevolence that refuses to see anyone but himself as fully human.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      “Jonathon, it’s very simple. Look at this picture. The big tasty chocolate bar is the US. That’s us. The other countries are small bars that frankly don’t taste so good.”

      I enjoyed the way he said “we’re last, which means we’re first” which reminded me of Sarah Cooper’s lip sync of his “I tested positively, which means negative” nonsense. Oh man the historians are gonna have fun writing books about this guy. But I still think the best and most interesting explanatory accounts of the Trump presidency will be written by psychologists.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      There are lots of mini-Trumps out there but very few make it to POTUS. Most do not even hold positions at companies as ostensilbly large as Trump’s “empire.” But there are hundreds if not thousands of people who are not very smart but inherit or marry into a successful business started by grandparents, parents, or in-laws. By the time this person takes over, the business can nearly run on autopilot or all of the real responsibilities are handled by underlings.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Some of the most dangerous people in the world can be very stupid because they just power through everything. Smart people might pause themselves and wonder whether they should do this in this way. Stupid people can just go straight ahead and do what they want without scruples.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        The property you refer to as powering through runs orthogonal to intelligence. We have words for it: ambition, sociopathy, malignant narcissism (!!)…. All things equal, a smart sociopath is more dangerous than a stupid one.

        I’m not sure where the idea that *being smart* tempers the expression of base impulses came from, but it seems to be held as an article of faith by liberals.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          I think that by tying it to “liberals”, you’re making a mistake. It’s tied to the “Élite”.

          Given that so many of the Élite are liberals, it’s an easy mistake to make, mind… but it’s not necessarily something that liberals do.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          Take Trump’s recent decision to just outright ignore the Courts on DACA. A more intelligent person might think that outright defying the Courts is something that comes across badly even if they want to do it. Trump’s stupidity means that he just decided to ignore the Supreme Court on this.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
            Ignored
            says:

            A more intelligent person might think that outright defying the Courts is something that comes across badly even if they want to do it.

            Likewise a very smart person might think that defying the court comes off well (to his/her base). Bill Barr is regarded as very intelligent, I think, by everyone’s standards, and he openly defies norms and laws.

            But back to Trump. His mentor in shady dealings was lawyer Roy Cohn who famously said don’t tell me what the law is, tell me who the judge is. Disregard for the law has made Trump who and what he is (President of the US :). Is he stupid to continue to do so?Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              Which is the most important point.

              Behind this lawless sociopath stands a small army of lawyers, Congresspeople and Senators, governors, and court justices who will eagerly aid and abet his every move.

              And behind them stand tens of millions of citizens who will eagerly vote this, more and much more of this.

              In a normal functioning republican democracy, this interview would have been shattering, and every media outlet and institution in the country would be clamoring for his resignation.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                In a normal functioning republican democracy the call by the co-founder of the Federalist Society to impeach the President (again no less) would have led to mass resignations by staff who don’t want to be anywhere near this implosion.

                I’m waiting . . .Report

  3. Avatar Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    Coming on the heal of Chris Wallace at Fox essentially calling the President a liar, I bet he was a bit flustered. Wallace was somewhat more demur and dismissive, but even he seems to have hit his limit. And fox won’t be denied access to the WH anytime soon. So some Americans who can get into his orbit can do this too.

    That said its clear from just the WH press briefings that the President and his staff just don’t like to be questioned or contradicted in real time. They don’t prep for it, and after the second or third challenge they loose the ability that prior press offices in prior administrations to move back to message. Its why the President keeps calling reporters Nasty instead of actually answering them.Report

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