When Trump took office, he made it clear that he was a Fox News man. Since Melania was often spending evenings with her boyfriend, the president, before retiring to his sleeping coffin, would dress in barely-there clothing and watch the news station in the presidential bedroom. The cable news channel had been easy on the president, all except a few newsmen: Shep Smith (who left, probably after growing tired of fighting with his colleagues and their Trump adoration) and Chris Wallace, who might currently serve as the only person remotely close to an actual journalist working at the news station.
So the fact that the president agreed to be interviewed by Wallace was a head-scratcher of epic proportions. Wallace hasn’t been critical of the president; he’s been honest, and in doing so, some might’ve confused his honesty with an agenda. But Wallace, son of Mike Wallace, is a newsman through and through, so his interview with the president was must-watch TV.
From the beginning of the interview, Wallace was on the president’s flat, untanned ass. Wallace challenged the president, a coronavirus denier, about the number of fatalities in the past few days and why wrongly suggesting that this was a matter of increased testing is dumb as shit.
The Washington Post noted the lengthy exchange between the president and Wallace and it’s worth reading out loud to your coworkers:
TRUMP: But when you talk about mortality risks, I think it’s the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.
WALLACE: It’s not true, sir. We had — we had 900 deaths on a single day —
TRUMP: We will take a look —
WALLACE: — just this week —
TRUMP: (To White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany:) Can you please get me the mortality rates?
TRUMP: Kayleigh’s right here. I heard we have one of the lowest, maybe the lowest mortality rate anywhere in the world.
TRUMP: Number one low mortality fatality rates. I hope you show the scenario because it shows what fake news is all about —
WALLACE: Okay, Okay. I don’t think I’m fake news but I will — we’ll put —
TRUMP: Yeah, you are —
WALLACE: — put our staff on —
TRUMP: You said we had the worst mortality rate in the world —
WALLACE: I said you had —
TRUMP: — and we have the best.
Wallace didn’t claim the United States had the worst mortality rate, but Trump didn’t prove his point either; he never does. What the interview exposed is that even when called on his lies, Trump just loud talks his points until the interviewer is forced to move on.
“Look, he signed a charter with Bernie Sanders,” Trump said, the Post notes. “I will get that one just like I was right on the mortality rate.”
A Wallace voiceover stated: “The White House has never sent us evidence that the Bernie-Biden platform calls for defunding or abolishing police because there is none. It calls for increased funding for police departments that meet certain standards. Biden has called for redirecting some police funding for related programs like mental health counseling.”
Biden has called for redirecting funding for police, but Republicans have twisted this into defunding the police, which is what they do.
From the Post:
The confidence Trump displayed in his false claims was truly something to behold. (“Ready?” “I will get that one just like I was right on the mortality rate.”) The question has often been whether he truly believes his own hype or is just committed to the lie. Either way, Wallace laid it bare.
In between these rare live fact checks was arguably an even worse moment for Trump.
Trump has downplayed the coronavirus threat from the very beginning, but rarely has his dismissiveness been revealed so plainly. Trump continued to press Wallace on the metric he argues is most important, and he challenged Wallace to show a chart on deaths. Wallace noted that we’re seeing around a thousand per day, at which point Trump reverted to another fallback: blaming China.
“They should’ve never let it escape; they should’ve never let it out,” Trump said. “But it is what it is.”
More than 140,000 deaths is what Trump calls “it is what it is.”
Trump continued to stumble through a series of questions—including a quite simple one in which Wallace asked Trump about his belief that schools are teaching kids to hate America.
This was Trump’s response: “Now they want to change 1492, Columbus discovered America,” Trump said. “You know, we grew up, you grew up, we all did, that’s what we learned. Now they want to make it the 1619 Project. Where did that come from? What does it represent? I don’t even know.”
Trump was, of course, referencing the New York Times and Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project, “which has been a lightning rod in conservative circles for its portrayal of slavery’s role in our country’s origins. Wallace quickly noted, ‘It’s slavery,’ not redefining when our nation was founded,” the Post reports.
“That’s what they’re saying, but they don’t even know,” Trump said. “They just want to make a change.”
It didn’t take long for Trump’s racist ways to show up when asked about efforts to rename military bases named after Confederate soldiers.
Wallace was trying to explain that even military officials were OK with renaming the bases before Trump interjected: “I don’t care what the military says,” Trump said, Business Insider reports. “I’m supposed to make the decision.”
The president then claimed that the North Carolina community where Fort Bragg is stationed would oppose such a change.
“Go to that community where Fort Bragg is, in a great state, I love that state, go to the community, say how do you like the idea of renaming Fort Bragg, and then what are we going to name it?” Trump asked.
And then the president walked up to the plate and proceeded to knock the racist ball right out of the racist park. “We’re going to name it after the Reverend Al Sharpton?” Trump continued, evoking the name of the civil rights activist. “What are you going to name it, Chris, tell me what you’re going to name it?”
Bitch, we are going to name it whatever the fuck we want but bringing the MSNBC contributor and Baptist minister into this conversation without provocation is racist as fuck!
Sharpton did respond, noting that, like the president, he was never in the military—except he didn’t have to fake a medical excuse.
“But I would like to school him,” Sharpton said, the Daily Beast reports. “I was never in the military and usually you’d name the military bases after military people.”
And why did Sharpton’s name fall so easily off the president’s tongue? “I think that it was failed sarcasm,” Sharpton said. “And I think it was because I’m usually the one that stands up to him on these issues.”
Also, Trump is racist. Nothing new here.
But the best part of the interview had to be Wallace challenging Trump on Biden’s mental acuity while praising his cognitive test. The test that Trump claimed he aced is so simple, it’s basically used to make sure a person is alive.
“It’s not the hardest test,” Wallace said, noting that one question asks for the test taker to point out an elephant.
Trump agreed that some questions are simple but added that the test gets harder the deeper you go, and he sounded like a third-grader who just got caught lying about riding a hovercraft to school.
“But I’ll bet you couldn’t even answer the last five questions. I’ll bet you couldn’t. They get very hard, the last five questions.”
Wallace shot back: “Well, one of them was to count back from 100 by seven.” He began counting: “Ninety-three.”
But the scary part of the interview, the part that may come to haunt us all is that Trump wouldn’t commit to leaving office should he lose the election.
“I have to see,” he told Wallace, the Los Angeles Times reports. “I’m not going to just say ‘yes.’ I’m not going to say ‘no,’ and I didn’t last time, either.”
But Biden wasn’t here for Trump’s fuckshit.
“The American people will decide this election,” the Biden campaign said in a statement. “And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”