Aug 3, 2020

Donald Trump Interview Transcript With Jonathan Swan of Axios on HBO

Donald Trump Interview Transcript With Axios on HBO
RevBlogTranscriptsDonald Trump TranscriptsDonald Trump Interview Transcript With Jonathan Swan of Axios on HBO

President Donald Trump was interviewed by Jonathan Swan on Axios on HBO on August 3. He talked about the coronavirus response, the federal election, and more. Read the transcript here.

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Jonathan Swan: (00:52)
Thank you so much for having us. We’re over here, Mr. President. Thank you. Kelly.

President Donald J. Trump: (01:07)
Okay.

Jonathan Swan: (01:09)
Mr. President, thank you for joining us.

President Donald J. Trump: (01:10)
Thank you very much.

Jonathan Swan: (01:11)
We appreciate you taking the time, and we appreciate your commitment to answer our questions.

President Donald J. Trump: (01:16)
Sure.

Jonathan Swan: (01:16)
We really appreciate that. Over the years, I’ve heard you talk about your adherence to a philosophy called positive thinking. Is this the mantra that if you believe something, if you visualize it, then it will happen?

President Donald J. Trump: (01:29)
To an extent. I also think in terms of the downside. I do. I’ve been given a lot of credit for positive thinking, but I also think about downside because only a fool doesn’t.

Jonathan Swan: (01:40)
To what extent do you think that that positive thinking mindset is suitable to handling the worst pandemic that we’ve seen in a century?

President Donald J. Trump: (01:49)
I think you have to have a positive outlook. Otherwise, you would have nothing without a positive outlook. I think we’ve done an incredible job, between the ventilators and stopping very infected people from China coming in, meaning putting the ban on China, which frankly nobody wanted me to do, practically nobody because it was very early in January. Then putting the ban on Europe, not an easy thing to do. When you put a ban on Europe, that’s a big thing. We would have probably lost hundreds of thousands of lives more had I not done that.

President Donald J. Trump: (02:18)
And all of the experts, every one of them, not one of them wanted to do it. They thought it was too severe. Three months later, they’re all saying, I’m glad you did it.

Jonathan Swan: (02:27)
The criticism of you that is most prominent, is about the communication. It’s the public health experts saying that it needs to be based in reality. And they’re saying that the wishful thinking and the salesmanship is just not suitable in a time when the pandemic has killed 145,000 Americans. And I understand what you’re saying, that people need to hear positive thinking, but for the past five months it’s been, the virus is totally under control, and the cases have been going up and the deaths have been going up.

President Donald J. Trump: (02:59)
Look, look.

Jonathan Swan: (03:00)
But you’ve been saying it’s under control.

President Donald J. Trump: (03:01)
Nobody knew what this thing was all about. This has never happened before. 1917, but it was a totally different, it was a flu in that case. Okay? But other than 1917, there’s never been anything like this. And by the way, if you watch the fake news on television, they don’t even talk about it. But you know, there are 188 of the countries right now that are suffering, some proportionately far greater than we are. Okay? As bad as we are.

Jonathan Swan: (03:24)
Very few. [crosstalk 00:03:25]

President Donald J. Trump: (03:24)
Some proportionately greater than we are. Right now, right now, Spain is having a big spike. There are tremendous problems in the world. You look at Moscow, look at what’s going on with Moscow. Look at Brazil, look at these countries what’s going on. This was sent to us by China, one way or the other, and we’re never going to forget it. Believe me, we’re never going to forget it.

President Donald J. Trump: (03:46)
And we were beating China at every single point. We were beating them on trade, we were making progress like nobody’s ever made progress. Before the pandemic, they had the worst year, Jonathan, that they’ve had in 67 years. You know that. With the tariffs and everything else I did, we would taking in billions of dollars. I was giving some of it to the farmers. The farmers were doing well because they were targeting the farmers, I was targeting China. We were doing good.

President Donald J. Trump: (04:14)
Then all of a sudden, the game changed, and I had to close it down. I closed down the greatest economy ever in history.

Jonathan Swan: (04:21)
I-

President Donald J. Trump: (04:21)
Well, wait. And then, I closed it down. And now we’re opening it. And we saved, by the way, by closing it down, we saved millions of lives. If we would have gone to herd and we knew very little about the disease, if we would’ve gone herd, we would have lost millions of people, millions of people. One person’s too much. We’re at 140,000 people. One person is too much. We’re at 140. We would have lost millions of people. And those people that really understand it, they really understand it. They said, it’s incredible the job that we’ve done. And again, I bring it up, the ban-

Jonathan Swan: (04:58)
Who says that?

President Donald J. Trump: (05:00)
Banning China from coming in far earlier-

Jonathan Swan: (05:03)
But it was already in here.

President Donald J. Trump: (05:05)
What’s that?

Jonathan Swan: (05:05)
It was already here. By the time you banned China, it came in through Europe.

President Donald J. Trump: (05:08)
Nobody knew the extent. Nobody knew how contagious it was. You know What? Maybe China knew.

Jonathan Swan: (05:12)
But the question is, Mr. President, by June we knew things were bad. And the last time I was with you was the day before your Tulsa rally in the Oval, and you were saying big, huge crowd, it was endorsed. These people, they listen to you.

President Donald J. Trump: (05:30)
By the way, [crosstalk 00:05:30] Excuse me, Jonathan, we had a 19,000 seat stadium and first of all, we had 12,000 people, not 6,000, which you reported and other people reported. But you couldn’t even get in. It was like an armed camp.

Jonathan Swan: (05:40)
Why would you want it that?

President Donald J. Trump: (05:41)
Because they had 120 Black Lives Matter people there and Tulsa-

Jonathan Swan: (05:44)
I understand but why would you have wanted a huge crowd?

President Donald J. Trump: (05:45)
Excuse me, wait. And Tulsa, well, because that area was a very good area at the time. It was an area that was pretty much over. [crosstalk 00:05:55] After, after, a month later, it started going up. That’s a month later, but Tulsa was a very good, Oklahoma was doing very well as a state. It was almost free. It spiked a month later, a month and a half, two months later. But it was a good area.

President Donald J. Trump: (06:09)
We had a tremendous crowd, we had tremendous response. It was like an armed camp. You couldn’t even get through. You couldn’t get anybody in. But we had 12,000 people. It was incorrectly reported. The other thing we had that nobody wants to talk about, so Fox broadcast it. It was the highest rating in the history of Fox television Saturday night. It was the highest rating.

Jonathan Swan: (06:33)
Mr. President-

President Donald J. Trump: (06:34)
Well, wait a minute. You’re saying something. That speech was the highest rated speech in the history of Fox television on Saturday night. And nobody says that.

Jonathan Swan: (06:44)
I think you misunderstand me. I’m not criticizing your ability to draw a crowd. Are you kidding me? I’ve covered you for five years. You draw massive crowds. You get huge ratings. I’m asking about the public health

President Donald J. Trump: (06:52)
I’m just saying this. I’m just saying this. At the time… And I canceled another one. I had to cancel it and we were going to have a great crowd in New Hampshire, and I canceled it for the same reason.

Jonathan Swan: (06:58)
But here’s the question. I’ve covered you for a long time. I’ve gone to your rallies. I’ve talked to your people. They love you. They listen to you. They listen to every word you say, they hang on your every word. They don’t listen to me or the media or Fauci. They think we’re fake news. They want to get their advice from you. And so, when they hear you say, everything’s under control, don’t worry about wearing masks. I mean, these are people, many of them are older people, Mr. President.

President Donald J. Trump: (07:19)
Well, what’s your definition of control?

Jonathan Swan: (07:20)
It’s giving them a false sense of security.

President Donald J. Trump: (07:21)
Yeah. Under the circumstances right now, I think it’s under control. I’ll tell you what-

Jonathan Swan: (07:25)
How? 1,000 Americans are dying a day.

President Donald J. Trump: (07:27)
They are dying. That’s true. And it is what it is. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague that beset us.

Jonathan Swan: (07:39)
You really think this is as much as we can control it? 1,000 deaths a day?

President Donald J. Trump: (07:43)
Well, I’ll tell you, I’d like to know if somebody… First of all, we have done a great job. We’ve gotten the governors everything they needed, they didn’t do their job. Many of them didn’t and some of them did. Someday we’ll sit down. We’ll talk about the successful ones, the good ones. Look at that smile. The good ones and the bad. We had good and bad. And we had a lot in the middle, but we had some incredible governors. I could tell you right now who the great ones are and who the not so great ones are, but the governors do it. We gave them massive amounts of material.

Jonathan Swan: (08:11)
Mr. President, you changed your message this week, in terms of you canceled the Jacksonville convention, you said, “Wear a mask.” You’re saying that, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” It’s not something you’d like to say, I know. And you said that. The big question-

President Donald J. Trump: (08:23)
By the way, not get worse like the original flow. You understand that.

Jonathan Swan: (08:27)
Well, I hope not. It’s a 1,000-

President Donald J. Trump: (08:29)
But If you look, Arizona’s going down. Texas is going down, and Florida is going down.

Jonathan Swan: (08:31)
If I could just finish my question. The question is, even some of your own aides wonder whether you would stick to that message until Election Day, whether in a week or two, you won’t say, “Right, we’ve got to reopen again. We can’t do this stuff anymore.” That you’ll get bored of talking about the virus and go back to that sort of cheerleading.

President Donald J. Trump: (08:52)
No, I’m not going to get bored. I never get bored of talking about this, it’s too big a thing.

Jonathan Swan: (08:54)
So will you stick to that message?

President Donald J. Trump: (08:54)
And again, it should have been stopped by China, and it wasn’t.

Jonathan Swan: (08:59)
But now it’s here and you’re the President.

President Donald J. Trump: (09:00)
We have it here.

Jonathan Swan: (09:01)
[inaudible 00:09:04].

President Donald J. Trump: (09:02)
No, I think I’m very consistent. No, this is a very serious thing. We have 140,000 people at this moment.

Jonathan Swan: (09:08)
More than that.

President Donald J. Trump: (09:09)
This is a very, very serious situation. And what you have to do, is handle it the best it can be handled. And again, I’m working with the governors. I got them tremendous amounts of equipment that they would have never gotten. Jonathan, they wouldn’t have equipment now, if I didn’t get.

Jonathan Swan: (09:25)
When can you commit, by what date, that every American will have access to the same day testing that you get here in the White House?

President Donald J. Trump: (09:34)
Well, we have great testing. We’re doing and many other people do-

Jonathan Swan: (09:37)
By what date?

President Donald J. Trump: (09:39)
Let me explain the testing. We have tested more people than any other country, than all of Europe put together times two. We have tested more people than anybody ever thought of. India has 1.4 billion people. They’ve done 11 million tests. We’ve done 55, it’ll be close to 60 million tests. And there are those that say, you can test too much. You do-

President Donald J. Trump: (10:03)
And there are those that say you can test too much. You do know that.

Jonathan Swan: (10:04)
Who says that?

President Donald J. Trump: (10:05)
Oh, just read the manuals, read the books.

Jonathan Swan: (10:08)
Manuals?

President Donald J. Trump: (10:08)
Read the books. Read the books.

Jonathan Swan: (10:10)
What books?

President Donald J. Trump: (10:11)
What testing does-

Jonathan Swan: (10:13)
Wait a minute. I’m sorry.

President Donald J. Trump: (10:14)
Let me explain. What testing does, it shows cases. It shows where there may be cases. Other countries test… you know when they test? They test when somebody is sick. That’s when they test. And I’m not saying they’re right or wrong. Nobody has done it like we’ve done it. We’ve gotten absolutely no credit for it. But we’ve come up with so many different tests. The only thing that we have now is some people have to wait longer than we’d like them to. We want it-

Jonathan Swan: (10:38)
That’s a big problem.

President Donald J. Trump: (10:39)
We want point to point. We want to have a five minute to a 15 minute test.

Jonathan Swan: (10:44)
Right. When do you think-

President Donald J. Trump: (10:44)
And we have… and like many others-

Jonathan Swan: (10:46)
Every American-

President Donald J. Trump: (10:47)
And, from what I understand, we’re close to 50% where it’s point to point tests. We are making thousands of instruments, thousands of tests right now, tens of thousands that can be distributed to various parts of the country. But you have to understand. And we’ve even sent some of them to other countries where they had a big problem. Jonathan, almost 50%, in fact, I think the number might be over, is immediate testing. The other is tough. You take a test. You have to send it to a laboratory. Let’s say that takes a day. Let’s say it’s a day.

Jonathan Swan: (11:19)
Right. It’s difficult.

President Donald J. Trump: (11:20)
So, it’s three, or four, or five days.

Jonathan Swan: (11:21)
I understand.

President Donald J. Trump: (11:21)
There is nothing you can do about that.

Jonathan Swan: (11:22)
But when do you think you will have it for everyone? What day?

President Donald J. Trump: (11:25)
I think that you will have that relatively soon. I mean-

Jonathan Swan: (11:27)
What does that mean?

President Donald J. Trump: (11:28)
You already have half.

Jonathan Swan: (11:29)
Yeah.

President Donald J. Trump: (11:31)
I would much rather get back to you.

Jonathan Swan: (11:32)
Okay. That’s fine.

President Donald J. Trump: (11:32)
Because I don’t want to have you write in one month, I didn’t make it.

Jonathan Swan: (11:35)
That’s fine.

President Donald J. Trump: (11:35)
I missed it by a day.

Jonathan Swan: (11:36)
Yeah. I get it.

President Donald J. Trump: (11:37)
And it’s a headline.

Jonathan Swan: (11:37)
Mr. President, I want to talk about the federal intervention.

President Donald J. Trump: (11:40)
Excuse me. One thing I would say about testing.

Jonathan Swan: (11:42)
Yeah. Yeah.

President Donald J. Trump: (11:43)
Because we test so much, we show cases. So, we show many, many cases. We show tremendous number of cases. I know you’re smiling when I say that, but I’m telling you.

Jonathan Swan: (11:52)
Well, I mean, I’ve heard you say this.

President Donald J. Trump: (11:54)
I know. Other countries don’t test like we do. So, they don’t show case.

Jonathan Swan: (11:58)
Just a couple points on that. I wasn’t going to continue on the testing, but you said it. So, we’re testing so much because it’s spread so far in America. And, when you-

President Donald J. Trump: (12:06)
We’re testing so much because we had the ability to test.

Jonathan Swan: (12:08)
Okay.

President Donald J. Trump: (12:09)
Because we came up with test-

Jonathan Swan: (12:10)
But South Korea-

President Donald J. Trump: (12:11)
Jonathan, we didn’t even have a test. When I took over, we didn’t even have a test. Now, in all fairness-

Jonathan Swan: (12:17)
Why would you have a test?

President Donald J. Trump: (12:21)
There was no test for this-

Jonathan Swan: (12:23)
The virus didn’t exist.

President Donald J. Trump: (12:23)
Excuse me. I was going to say-

Jonathan Swan: (12:23)
Okay.

President Donald J. Trump: (12:23)
There was no test for this. We didn’t have a test because there was no test.

Jonathan Swan: (12:26)
Of course.

President Donald J. Trump: (12:27)
And, in a very short order, we got one test. We got another test.

Jonathan Swan: (12:30)
It was broken, the first one.

President Donald J. Trump: (12:31)
We got another. Many of those tests are now obsolete because it’s called science.

Jonathan Swan: (12:34)
Right.

President Donald J. Trump: (12:34)
And, all of a sudden, something is better. But, because we tested so many people, 55, 60 million people, very soon, we get cases. You test. Some kid has even just a little runny nose. It’s a case. And then, you report many cases. So, we look like we have more cases than massive countries like China, which by the way, doesn’t report, as you know.

Jonathan Swan: (12:58)
Well, I don’t put any stock in China’s figures.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:00)
No. No. The point is-

Jonathan Swan: (13:01)
Yeah.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:01)
The point is, because we are so much better at testing than any other country in the world, we show more cases.

Jonathan Swan: (13:09)
The figure I look at is death. And death is going up now.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:12)
Okay. No, no.

Jonathan Swan: (13:12)
It’s a thousand a day.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:14)
If you look at death-

Jonathan Swan: (13:15)
Yeah. It’s going up again.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:16)
Let’s look. Let’s look.

Jonathan Swan: (13:17)
Daily death.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:17)
Take a look at some of these charts.

Jonathan Swan: (13:19)
I’d love to.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:20)
We’re going to look.

Jonathan Swan: (13:21)
Let’s look.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:21)
And, if you look at death per-

Jonathan Swan: (13:23)
Yeah. It’s started to go up again.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:25)
Here is one. Well, right here, United States is lowest in numerous categories. We’re lower than the world.

Jonathan Swan: (13:37)
Lower than the world?

President Donald J. Trump: (13:37)
We’re lower than Europe.

Jonathan Swan: (13:39)
What does that mean? In what? In what?

President Donald J. Trump: (13:40)
Look. Take a look. Right there. Here is case death.

Jonathan Swan: (13:46)
Oh, you’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population. That’s where the U.S. is really bad, much worse than South Korea, Germany, et cetera.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:55)
You can’t do that.

Jonathan Swan: (13:56)
Why can’t I do that?

President Donald J. Trump: (13:58)
You have to go by where… look. Here is the United States. You have to go by the cases. The cases are there.

Jonathan Swan: (14:04)
Why not as a proportion of population?

President Donald J. Trump: (14:07)
What it says is, when you have somebody where there’s a case-

Jonathan Swan: (14:11)
Oh, okay.

President Donald J. Trump: (14:11)
The people that live from those cases.

Jonathan Swan: (14:14)
Oh. It’s surely a relevant statistic to say, if the U.S. has X population and X percentage of death of that population versus South Korea-

President Donald J. Trump: (14:22)
No. Because you have to go by the cases.

Jonathan Swan: (14:22)
Well, look at South Korea, for example. 51 million population, 300 deaths. It’s like, it’s crazy compared to-

President Donald J. Trump: (14:28)
You don’t know that.

Jonathan Swan: (14:29)
I do.

President Donald J. Trump: (14:30)
You don’t know that.

Jonathan Swan: (14:31)
You think they’re faking their statistics, South Korea? An advanced country?

President Donald J. Trump: (14:33)
I won’t get into that because I have a very good relationship with the country.

Jonathan Swan: (14:36)
Yeah.

President Donald J. Trump: (14:37)
But you don’t know that. And they have spikes. Look, here’s one of-

Jonathan Swan: (14:39)
Germany, low 9,000.

President Donald J. Trump: (14:40)
Here’s one. Here’s one right here, United States.

Jonathan Swan: (14:43)
Let me look.

President Donald J. Trump: (14:44)
You take the number of cases.

Jonathan Swan: (14:45)
Okay.

President Donald J. Trump: (14:45)
Now look, we’re last meaning we’re first.

Jonathan Swan: (14:47)
Last? I don’t know what we’re first in.

President Donald J. Trump: (14:48)
We have the best.

Jonathan Swan: (14:49)
As a what?

President Donald J. Trump: (14:50)
Take a look again. It’s cases.

Jonathan Swan: (14:51)
Okay. I’ll just… okay.

President Donald J. Trump: (14:52)
And we have cases because of the testing.

Jonathan Swan: (14:54)
I mean, a thousand Americans die a day. But I understand. I understand on the cases, it’s different.

President Donald J. Trump: (14:59)
No, but you’re not reporting it correctly, Jonathan.

Jonathan Swan: (15:02)
I think I am, but-

President Donald J. Trump: (15:03)
If you take a look at this other chart… look, this is our testing. I believe this is the testing. Yeah.

Jonathan Swan: (15:09)
Yeah. We do more tests.

President Donald J. Trump: (15:10)
No, wait a minute. Well, don’t we get credit for that? And, because we do more tests, we have more cases. In other words, we test more. We have… now, take a look. The top one, that’s a good thing not a bad thing. But the top… Jonathan-

Jonathan Swan: (15:22)
If hospitals rates were going down and deaths were going down, I’d say, terrific. You deserve to be praised for testing.

President Donald J. Trump: (15:28)
Well, they don’t even-

Jonathan Swan: (15:28)
But they are all going up.

President Donald J. Trump: (15:29)
Well, they very rarely talk-

Jonathan Swan: (15:30)
Plus, 60,000 Americans are in hospital, 1,000 dying a day.

President Donald J. Trump: (15:32)
If you watch the news or read the papers, they usually talk about new cases, new cases, new cases.

Jonathan Swan: (15:37)
I’m talking about death.

President Donald J. Trump: (15:38)
Well, you look at death.

Jonathan Swan: (15:39)
It’s going up.

President Donald J. Trump: (15:39)
Death is way down from where it was.

Jonathan Swan: (15:42)
It’s 1,000 a day.

President Donald J. Trump: (15:43)
Death-

Jonathan Swan: (15:43)
It was two and a half thousand. It went down to 500. Now, it’s going up again.

President Donald J. Trump: (15:46)
Death… excuse me. Where it was is much higher than where it is right now.

Jonathan Swan: (15:50)
It went down and then it went up again.

President Donald J. Trump: (15:52)
It spiked, but now it’s going down again.

Jonathan Swan: (15:53)
It’s going up.

President Donald J. Trump: (15:53)
It’s gone down in Arizona. It’s going down in Florida.

Jonathan Swan: (15:55)
nationally it’s going up.

President Donald J. Trump: (15:56)
It’s going down in Texas. Take a look at this. These are the tests.

Jonathan Swan: (15:59)
It’s going down in Florida?

President Donald J. Trump: (16:01)
Yeah. It leveled out and it’s going down. That’s my report, as of yesterday.

Jonathan Swan: (16:05)
Anyway, Mr. President, if I could change subjects.

President Donald J. Trump: (16:06)
It is going down in Arizona. It is gong down in Texas.

Jonathan Swan: (16:09)
Arizona it is. Arizona it is. Texas has big problems.

President Donald J. Trump: (16:10)
And it is spiked. It spiked and is now going down in Florida. It’s evened out and going down in Florida.

Jonathan Swan: (16:15)
I’ll have to see those figures.

President Donald J. Trump: (16:16)
But you have to look at this. This is the number of tests compared to the rest of the world.

Jonathan Swan: (16:19)
I don’t deny your figures. You’ve done more tests by far than the rest of the world. I don’t deny that.

President Donald J. Trump: (16:22)
Right. And, because we’ve done more tests, we have more cases.

Jonathan Swan: (16:24)
You have more infections.

President Donald J. Trump: (16:25)
Now, you can take them back. Check it out in your office.

Jonathan Swan: (16:28)
Mr. President, different subject, it’s been widely reported that the U.S. has intelligence indicating that Russia paid bounties or offered to pay bounties to Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers.

President Donald J. Trump: (16:37)
Right. Right.

Jonathan Swan: (16:37)
You had a phone call with Vladimir Putin on July 23rd. Did you bring up this issue?

President Donald J. Trump: (16:42)
No. That was a phone call to discuss other things. And frankly, that’s an issue that many people said was fake news.

Jonathan Swan: (16:50)
Who said it was fake news?

President Donald J. Trump: (16:51)
I think a lot of people. If you look at some of the wonderful folks from the Bush Administration, some of them, not any friends of mine, were saying that it’s a fake issue. But a lot of people said, it’s a fake issue.

Jonathan Swan: (17:04)
There was dispute within intelligence.

President Donald J. Trump: (17:05)
But we had a call. We had a call talking about nuclear proliferation.

Jonathan Swan: (17:08)
Right.

President Donald J. Trump: (17:08)
Which is a very big subject where they would like to do something. And so would I. We discussed numbers things. We did not discuss that. No.

Jonathan Swan: (17:14)
And you’ve never discussed it with him.

President Donald J. Trump: (17:15)
I have never discussed it with him. No. I would. I’d have no problem with it.

Jonathan Swan: (17:19)
But you don’t believe the intelligence.

President Donald J. Trump: (17:19)
But you know it never got to-

Jonathan Swan: (17:20)
It’s because you don’t believe the intelligence. That’s why.

President Donald J. Trump: (17:24)
It’s interesting. Nobody ever brings up China. They always bring Russia, Russia, Russia. If we can do something with Russia in terms of nuclear proliferation, which is a very big problem.

Jonathan Swan: (17:34)
Right.

President Donald J. Trump: (17:34)
Bigger problem than global warming.

Jonathan Swan: (17:36)
Right.

President Donald J. Trump: (17:36)
A much bigger problem than global warming in terms of the real world, that would be a great thing. No. It never reached my desk.

Jonathan Swan: (17:43)
Okay.

President Donald J. Trump: (17:43)
You know why? Because intelligence, they didn’t think it was real.

Jonathan Swan: (17:48)
It was in your written brief though about it.

President Donald J. Trump: (17:50)
They didn’t think it was worthy. I wouldn’t mind. If it reached my desk, I would have done something about it. It never reached my desk because-

Jonathan Swan: (17:57)
Do you read your written brief?

President Donald J. Trump: (17:58)
I do.

Jonathan Swan: (17:58)
Do you?

President Donald J. Trump: (17:58)
I read it a lot.

Jonathan Swan: (17:59)
Really?

President Donald J. Trump: (17:59)
I read a lot. They like to say I don’t read. I read a lot.

Jonathan Swan: (18:03)
You read your daily intelligence brief?

President Donald J. Trump: (18:04)
I comprehend extraordinarily well, probably better than anybody that you’ve interviewed in a long time. I read a lot. I spend a lot of time at meetings. Usually it’s once a day or at least two or three times a week, intelligence meetings.

Jonathan Swan: (18:18)
Because this was apparently in your-

President Donald J. Trump: (18:19)
Talking about India, talking about the problems with China.

Jonathan Swan: (18:22)
Right.

President Donald J. Trump: (18:22)
Talking about so many different elements of the world.

Jonathan Swan: (18:25)
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

President Donald J. Trump: (18:25)
The world is a very angry place, if you look all over the world. We call up. I see a 22 soldiers were killed in India with China fighting over the border. It’s been raging for many, many decades. And they’ve been fighting and back and forth. I have so many briefings on so many different countries, but this one didn’t reach my desk.

Jonathan Swan: (18:50)
The reason I say this is, even if you don’t believe this particular piece of intelligence, and there is dispute, no doubt, there is dispute in the intelligence committee about it, John Nicholson, former head of forces in Afghanistan said, and this is when he was working for you, that Russia is supplying weapons to the Taliban. Isn’t that enough to challenge Putin over the killings of U.S. soldiers?

President Donald J. Trump: (19:10)
Well, we sold them weapons when they were fighting Russia too. When they were fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan-

Jonathan Swan: (19:17)
Yeah. But that’s a different era.

President Donald J. Trump: (19:18)
Well, it’s a different… I’m just saying. Yes.

Jonathan Swan: (19:20)
But how does that affect-

President Donald J. Trump: (19:21)
I’m just saying we did that too.

Jonathan Swan: (19:22)
But how does that-

President Donald J. Trump: (19:23)
I don’t know. I didn’t ask Nicholson about that. He was there for a long time. Didn’t have great success because he was there before me. And then, ultimately, I made a change.

Jonathan Swan: (19:30)
But you surely heard that. Right? I mean, it’s well known in the intelligence community, that they’re arming the Taliban, Russia.

President Donald J. Trump: (19:36)
I don’t know. When you say arming is-

Jonathan Swan: (19:38)
Supplying weapons.

President Donald J. Trump: (19:39)
Paying or they-

Jonathan Swan: (19:40)
Russia is supplying weapons and money to the Taliban.

President Donald J. Trump: (19:42)
I have heard that but, again, it’s never reached my desk.

Jonathan Swan: (19:48)
I mean, he said it on the record when he was in-

President Donald J. Trump: (19:50)
Hey, Russia doesn’t want anything to do with Afghanistan. Let me just say about Russia. Russia used to be a thing called the Soviet Union. Because of Afghanistan, they went bankrupt. They became Russia, just so you do understand. Okay? The last-

President Donald J. Trump: (20:03)
Went bankrupt, they became Russia, just so you do understand, okay? The last thing that Russia wants to do is get too much involved with Afghanistan. They tried that once. It didn’t work out too well.

Jonathan Swan: (20:09)
Last question on this subject.

President Donald J. Trump: (20:10)
And by the way, we’re largely out of Afghanistan, as you probably know.

Jonathan Swan: (20:13)
Well, I wanted to ask you about that. The US troop level in Afghanistan right now is roughly the same as it was when you-

President Donald J. Trump: (20:21)
No, you’re wrong. No.

Jonathan Swan: (20:22)
Mr. President. I’m sorry. We have to do-

President Donald J. Trump: (20:24)
Okay. Are you ready?

Jonathan Swan: (20:25)
No, no. I need-

President Donald J. Trump: (20:25)
We’ll be down in a very short… It’s already planned.

Jonathan Swan: (20:27)
Well, that’s a different question.

President Donald J. Trump: (20:28)
Let me explain. We’ll be down in a very short period of time to 8,000, then we’re going to be down to 4,000. We’re negotiating right now. We’ve been there for 19 years.

Jonathan Swan: (20:38)
I know. I know.

President Donald J. Trump: (20:38)
19 years.

Jonathan Swan: (20:39)
But if you just let me finish my question.

President Donald J. Trump: (20:40)
We’ll be getting out.

Jonathan Swan: (20:41)
I understand. Look, when you came in, it was 8,800. You boosted to 14,000, and now you’re back down to 8,500.

President Donald J. Trump: (20:49)
We’re now-

Jonathan Swan: (20:49)
My question to you-

President Donald J. Trump: (20:51)
We’ll be at 4,000. I’ll get you the exact-

Jonathan Swan: (20:52)
When?

President Donald J. Trump: (20:53)
Very soon. Very soon.

Jonathan Swan: (20:54)
What will be the number? Very soon? 4,000?

President Donald J. Trump: (20:56)
Very soon. Yeah, very soon.

Jonathan Swan: (20:57)
Like how soon?

President Donald J. Trump: (20:58)
I don’t want to tell you that. I don’t want to tell you.

Jonathan Swan: (21:00)
That’s big news.

President Donald J. Trump: (21:01)
What is? That is [crosstalk 00:21:02]

Jonathan Swan: (21:02)
It’s going down to 4,000.

President Donald J. Trump: (21:03)
I’ve always said-

Jonathan Swan: (21:04)
Well, what about election day?

President Donald J. Trump: (21:06)
We will get largely out-

Jonathan Swan: (21:07)
On election day, how many American troops will be in Afghanistan?

President Donald J. Trump: (21:12)
Probably anywhere from four to 5,000.

Jonathan Swan: (21:16)
That’s almost as many as when you came into office.

President Donald J. Trump: (21:17)
No, it’s not. We had-

Jonathan Swan: (21:18)
8,000.

President Donald J. Trump: (21:19)
We had much more. We had a lot of people over there too.

Jonathan Swan: (21:21)
8,800 [crosstalk 00:21:22] troops.

President Donald J. Trump: (21:22)
A lot of people. And we did a good job. We wiped out ISIS. Let me just tell you what you don’t see.

Jonathan Swan: (21:25)
Have you thought about going down to zero?

President Donald J. Trump: (21:26)
We took out, in Syria, we took out ISIS. We a hundred percent of the caliphate. When I took over Obama, it was totally rampant. ISIS was all over the place. We took them out. We captured them. We killed them a hundred percent, not 99%. I wanted to get out at 99. Everyone said, “Oh, please, would you stay?” I stayed. 99% was good, but a hundred percent of the caliphate.

President Donald J. Trump: (21:52)
We took out Soleimani. We took out al-Baghdadi. We took out people that nobody thought possible. Al-Baghdadi was the biggest terrorist of them all. They couldn’t find him. I took him out. Soleimani, even bigger. I took him out. I’ve done things that no other president’s done. None. I mean, fortunately, not too many. They should have never been in the Middle East. The decision to go to the Middle East and get into the Middle East was the single biggest mistake made in the history of our country. That’s my opinion.

Jonathan Swan: (22:22)
You told Fox News recently that you couldn’t say whether you’d accept the results of the 2020 election. What does that actually look like as the sitting president? I mean, it’s unprecedented. What would that actually look like?

President Donald J. Trump: (22:36)
Well, Hillary Clinton never accepted them.

Jonathan Swan: (22:37)
Well, she conceded on them.

President Donald J. Trump: (22:39)
I mean, she doesn’t accept them and she got beaten very easily.

Jonathan Swan: (22:41)
But that’s the important point. That’s the important point. She conceded on election night. Now, she grumbled about it and said all sorts of-

President Donald J. Trump: (22:45)
Grumbled? Grumbled? She wrote books about it.

Jonathan Swan: (22:46)
Okay, fine, she wrote books.

President Donald J. Trump: (22:47)
And don’t use the word grumbled.

Jonathan Swan: (22:48)
Fine. But-

President Donald J. Trump: (22:48)
She wrote books about it.

Jonathan Swan: (22:50)
That’s fine, but I just-

President Donald J. Trump: (22:50)
She got beaten easy.

Jonathan Swan: (22:51)
I get it. I get it.

President Donald J. Trump: (22:52)
306 to 223. That’s a lot. That’s a lot.

Jonathan Swan: (22:54)
I’m not disputing you beat Hillary Clinton. Listen, what of asking is you’ll be the sitting president in the White House. What does that look like not accepting-

President Donald J. Trump: (23:03)
I’ll tell you what it looks like.

Jonathan Swan: (23:04)
Are you litigating?

President Donald J. Trump: (23:05)
Let me tell you what it looks.

Jonathan Swan: (23:05)
Okay.

President Donald J. Trump: (23:07)
So we have a new phenomena. It’s called mail-in voting, where you send, where a governor-

Jonathan Swan: (23:13)
New?

President Donald J. Trump: (23:13)
Well, it’s new-

Jonathan Swan: (23:14)
It’s been here since the Civil War. Americans have-

President Donald J. Trump: (23:15)
In terms of kind of the kind of millions and millions of ballots. They’ve never done anything like that.

Jonathan Swan: (23:21)
It’ll be bigger this year because of the pandemic.

President Donald J. Trump: (23:23)
Bigger? Not bigger, massively bigger.

Jonathan Swan: (23:25)
Yeah, because of the pandemic.

President Donald J. Trump: (23:26)
So they’re going to send tens of millions of ballots to California, all over the place, to who’s going to get them. I have a friend who lives in Westchester County-

Jonathan Swan: (23:33)
They send applications, not allots.

President Donald J. Trump: (23:35)
His son passed away. He had a beautiful, wonderful son. Young man. Passed away seven years ago. He called me, he said, “I just got a ballot for my son, Robert.”

Jonathan Swan: (23:46)
Probably an application.

President Donald J. Trump: (23:46)
“He died seven years ago.” Somebody got at ballot for a dog. Somebody got a ballot for something else. You got millions of ballots going, nobody even knows where they’re going. You look at some of the corruption having to do with universal mail-in voting… Absentee voting is okay. You have to apply, you have to go through a process.

Jonathan Swan: (24:03)
You have to apply for mail-in. It’s the same thing.

President Donald J. Trump: (24:05)
Absentee voting is good. Look, you’re sending it out-

Jonathan Swan: (24:07)
Let’s do concrete. Let’s do concrete.

President Donald J. Trump: (24:08)
Jonathan, they’re sending out-

Jonathan Swan: (24:10)
Applications. You download them off [crosstalk 00:24:12]

President Donald J. Trump: (24:12)
Governors, millions of ballots. There is-

Jonathan Swan: (24:14)
No, they’re not. It’s applications. You can get them off the internet.

President Donald J. Trump: (24:16)
There is no way you can go through a mail-in vote without massive cheating.

Jonathan Swan: (24:22)
I honestly don’t understand this topic with-

President Donald J. Trump: (24:24)
Go ahead.

Jonathan Swan: (24:25)
The Republican party has an extremely well-funded vote by mail program. Your campaign puts out emails telling people to vote by mail.

President Donald J. Trump: (24:33)
Correct.

Jonathan Swan: (24:34)
Your daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, she did robocalls in California saying it’s safe and secure, mail-in voting.

President Donald J. Trump: (24:40)
Let me tell you. We have no choice.

Jonathan Swan: (24:41)
The Republic won. That was an all mail-in race.

President Donald J. Trump: (24:43)
Let me tell you. You ready?

Jonathan Swan: (24:45)
Yeah.

President Donald J. Trump: (24:45)
We have no choice because right now, we have, but we have many court cases that we’re waiting. We have one filed in Western Pennsylvania. We have many court cases where we’re trying to end it. We went through World War I, you went to the polls, you voted, we went through World War II, you went to the polls, you voted.

Jonathan Swan: (25:01)
You’ve had mail-in voting since the Civil War.

President Donald J. Trump: (25:02)
And now because of the China virus, we’re supposed to stay home, send millions of ballots all over the country, millions and millions. You know, you could have a case where this election won’t be decided on the evening of November 3rd.

Jonathan Swan: (25:16)
Absolutely. What’s wrong with that?

President Donald J. Trump: (25:16)
This election could be decided two months later,

Jonathan Swan: (25:18)
It won’t be two months, but what’s wrong with the proper mail-in count?

President Donald J. Trump: (25:20)
It could be decided many months later.

Jonathan Swan: (25:22)
Have you discussed the-

President Donald J. Trump: (25:23)
You know why? Because lots of things will happen during that period of time. Especially when you have tight margins, lots of things can happen. There’s never been anything like this when you try… Now, of course, right now, we have to live with it, but we’re challenging it in many courts, as you know, all over the country.

Jonathan Swan: (25:40)
You’re going to [crosstalk 00:25:38]? Mr. President, the other day, a reporter asked you about Ghislaine Maxwell. You said, “I just wish her well, frankly. I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach, but I wish her well, whatever it is.” Mr. President, Ghislaine Maxwell has been arrested on allegations of child sex trafficking. Why would you wish such a person well?

President Donald J. Trump: (25:59)
Well, first of all, I don’t know that, but I do know this-

Jonathan Swan: (26:01)
She has. She’s been arrested for that. You know that.

President Donald J. Trump: (26:02)
Her friend or boyfriend-

Jonathan Swan: (26:04)
Epstein.

President Donald J. Trump: (26:05)
Was either killed or committed suicide in jail. She’s now in jail. Yeah, I wish you well, I’d wish you well, I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty. I mean, you do know that she [crosstalk 00:26:17]

Jonathan Swan: (26:17)
Oh. So you’re saying you hope she doesn’t die in jail? Is that what you mean by wish her well?

President Donald J. Trump: (26:20)
Well, her boyfriend died in jail and people are still trying to figure out how did it happened? Was it suicide? Was he killed? And I do wish her well. I’m not looking for anything bad for her. I’m not looking bad for anybody. And they took that and made it such a big deal-

Jonathan Swan: (26:32)
I mean, she’s a alleged child sex trafficker.

President Donald J. Trump: (26:35)
But all it is is her boyfriend died. He died in jail. Was he killed? Was it suicide? I do, I wish her well.

Jonathan Swan: (26:45)
Let’s move to Portland. I’m sure you’ve seen the disturbing footage of people in fatigues beating the Navy veteran.

President Donald J. Trump: (26:53)
No, no, no, no, no, no. No. No.

Jonathan Swan: (26:54)
Well, it’s there.

President Donald J. Trump: (26:55)
here you go, the fake news.

Jonathan Swan: (26:56)
It’s not fake news, it’s on video.

President Donald J. Trump: (26:58)
No, no.

Jonathan Swan: (26:58)
Pepper spraying him.

President Donald J. Trump: (26:59)
For 59 days, these people were anarchists and agitators, and some protesters, but these were anarchists. These people were beating the hell out of the city. They were beating up our federal buildings and our federal courthouse. We told the police to stop it. You make sure. And the police wouldn’t do it. Not the police-

Jonathan Swan: (27:17)
Your own justice department and Homeland Security Inspector General-

President Donald J. Trump: (27:19)
Excuse me.

Jonathan Swan: (27:19)
But your Inspector Generals are investigating unconstitutional-

President Donald J. Trump: (27:23)
You’re trying now to blame law enforcement instead of anarchists-

Jonathan Swan: (27:27)
I’m not.

President Donald J. Trump: (27:27)
Instead of Antifa.

Jonathan Swan: (27:29)
I’m not.

President Donald J. Trump: (27:29)
It’s Antifa and anarchists that are causing the problems, not law enforcement. Our law enforcement, if we didn’t have people at our courthouse, and they’re strong, tough people, and they don’t want… They try and be very good, believe me. But if we didn’t have people there, you would have your federal courthouse, a $600 million building, you would have that thing burned to the ground right now.

Jonathan Swan: (27:51)
I’m asking you about tactics and about the unmarked vans where they’re rounding people up. And I want to-

President Donald J. Trump: (27:55)
Okay, let me tell you about unmarked.

Jonathan Swan: (27:56)
Can I just finish my question.

President Donald J. Trump: (27:57)
Well let me tell you about unmarked.

Jonathan Swan: (27:58)
Could I just finish my question? Because it relates to this. I promise. This is from Rand Paul. “We cannot give up liberty for security. Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities, but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will.” What is your response to Senator Paul?

President Donald J. Trump: (28:16)
First of all, these are Homeland Security people. They’re securing a courthouse.

Jonathan Swan: (28:21)
They’re border patrol.

President Donald J. Trump: (28:22)
They’re Homeland Security.

Jonathan Swan: (28:24)
Elite units.

President Donald J. Trump: (28:24)
Border, hopefully they have ICE in there.

Jonathan Swan: (28:26)
Camo< gas [inaudible 00:28:26].

President Donald J. Trump: (28:26)
Hopefully they have ICE. Now, do you know why they’re unmarked?

Jonathan Swan: (28:29)
Why?

President Donald J. Trump: (28:30)
Because these terrorists, these Antifa people, these people that are at anarchists and agitators, when they see the name on a uniform of a person, a policeman or a law enforcement person, they find out where that person lives. And then they go and they scare the hell out of the person’s family. And so they do it for that reason. It’s just common… There’s nothing secret about this. And you know it.

President Donald J. Trump: (28:54)
You see what’s going on right now. We have Chad Wolf. They have people. He’s doing a fantastic job. He’s the acting head. He’s doing a fantastic job. Chad Wolf has pickets and very dangerous looking people outside of his house. He’s going to be just fine. He’s tough and he’s got people, but if you have the names on all of these uniforms, you’ll have these maniacs in front of their houses, scaring their family and their wives or husbands, whatever it may be. I think it’s a very good reason not to have your name. Why should you have identification? “My name is Bill Smith and here’s where I live and I’m a member of-”

Jonathan Swan: (29:33)
The really serious concern is the reports-

President Donald J. Trump: (29:34)
No, no, that’s a serious concern.

Jonathan Swan: (29:36)
No, no, not about that. The serious concern is the reports of people being rounded up and not being told why they’re being detained. That’s what’s being investigated by-

President Donald J. Trump: (29:42)
Why? Why are they being detained?

Jonathan Swan: (29:43)
Mr. President, the Inspectors Generals-

President Donald J. Trump: (29:45)
You know why? You know why they’re being detained? Well, [crosstalk 00:29:47].

Jonathan Swan: (29:48)
There’s an investigation. Do you support that investigation?

President Donald J. Trump: (29:50)
Well, I haven’t seen the result yet. Let me see the result.

Jonathan Swan: (29:51)
But you support the initiative of it?

President Donald J. Trump: (29:54)
No, I think that actually-

Jonathan Swan: (29:56)
You don’t?

President Donald J. Trump: (29:56)
I think Antifa should be investigated, not the law enforcement. They’re investigating, think of [crosstalk 00:30:01]

Jonathan Swan: (30:01)
They shouldn’t be investigating?

President Donald J. Trump: (30:02)
Have you been watching television-

President Donald J. Trump: (30:03)
They’re investigating-

Jonathan Swan: (30:03)
They shouldn’t be investigating?

President Donald J. Trump: (30:03)
Have you been watching television?

Jonathan Swan: (30:04)
I have.

President Donald J. Trump: (30:04)
Have you been seeing the violence?

Jonathan Swan: (30:06)
Sure.

President Donald J. Trump: (30:06)
Now, if you watch NBC News like I watch NBC fake news. I’m watching it. Lester Holt, real beauty. I’m watching this NBC News sham, and you have a mayor named Wheeler and he’s standing out there and he’s being accosted by the people. You know that. I mean, it’s horrible what they’re doing to him in Portland, the mayor of Portland and he thought he’d go out. He’d be a man.

President Donald J. Trump: (30:29)
What they were doing and saying, and everything else to him, I happened to watch it on a different station. He had to get out. He had five security guards.

Jonathan Swan: (30:36)
I saw it.

President Donald J. Trump: (30:36)
He got out with his life. Okay.

Jonathan Swan: (30:38)
Mr. President-

President Donald J. Trump: (30:38)
Wait. If you watch NBC News, they make them like he’s standing there bravely fighting with the people, in a positive sense, that everything is wonderful.

President Donald J. Trump: (30:48)
No. He went out there. He’s lucky he got away with his life because they would’ve killed him. He had five guards, but NBC News showed it like he’s standing with the people for justice. Look, those people, take a look at what they’ve done to the courthouse. Take a look at what they’ve done to the streets. Take a look at the violence.

Jonathan Swan: (31:06)
It’s getting worse since they’ve gone in. It’s getting worse.

President Donald J. Trump: (31:09)
Actually, it’s getting better. We had a very good… We’ve arrested a lot of people and we now have a 10 year rule. You try not to knock down our courthouse-

Jonathan Swan: (31:15)
More businesses damaged, more violence-

President Donald J. Trump: (31:17)
You touch our courthouse, you go to jail for 10 years.

Jonathan Swan: (31:19)
Turning to the rest of the country, we haven’t seen protests like this since the ’60s. I mean, we’re seeing-

President Donald J. Trump: (31:25)
These are Democrat-run cities.

Jonathan Swan: (31:26)
If I could finish my question. If I could finish my question.

President Donald J. Trump: (31:28)
And they’re doing it for political reasons.

Jonathan Swan: (31:30)
You said you’ve done so much for African Americans.

President Donald J. Trump: (31:32)
I have.

Jonathan Swan: (31:33)
But there are Americans-

President Donald J. Trump: (31:35)
Criminal justice reform, opportunity.

Jonathan Swan: (31:36)
Yeah, I understand, but let me finish. There were Americans out in the streets asking for change. Mr. President, have you ever met with a Black Lives Matter activist to hear them out, hear their arguments?

President Donald J. Trump: (31:46)
Well, Black Lives Matter started off to me very badly because it was-

Jonathan Swan: (31:50)
Did you ever meet with one?

President Donald J. Trump: (31:52)
… pigs in a blanket, burn them like bacon. That was the first time I ever of Black… That was three, four years ago. Pigs meaning policemen. Pigs is what they’re referring to, in a blanket, fry them like bacon. So I got off to a bad start. I got off to a very bad start.

Jonathan Swan: (32:11)
Would you meet with a-

President Donald J. Trump: (32:11)
And so did [crosstalk 00:32:12].

Jonathan Swan: (32:12)
Would you with a Black Lives Matter activist?

President Donald J. Trump: (32:13)
I would. But I think right now when they paint-

Jonathan Swan: (32:17)
Why haven’t you?

President Donald J. Trump: (32:17)
… the sign. Nobody’s asked for a meeting, right? I’ve never been, nobody’s ever asked me for a meeting. Let me tell you with African Americans, I’m doing very well. They had the best employment numbers they’ve ever had. They had the best job numbers they’ve ever had. They were making more money than they ever made. We were all set until we got hit by China with the virus. Jonathan, there was actually, we were becoming a very unified country.

Jonathan Swan: (32:39)
Do you believe that-

President Donald J. Trump: (32:40)
Because of success.

Jonathan Swan: (32:41)
I understand. Do you believe though, Mr. President, that many police treat black people differently from white people?

President Donald J. Trump: (32:48)
Well, I hope not. I hope not. Certainly the…

Jonathan Swan: (32:51)
You’ve seen the statistics.

President Donald J. Trump: (32:53)
The knee on the neck was a disgrace. Okay?

Jonathan Swan: (32:55)
Yeah.

President Donald J. Trump: (32:55)
It was a disgrace.

Jonathan Swan: (32:56)
I’m talking about what does systemic racism mean to you?

President Donald J. Trump: (33:00)
I hope the answer to that question is no. Does anybody really answer that question accurately? Does anybody really know?

Jonathan Swan: (33:08)
But what about not hope? What about analysis? What’s your cold-hearted view of it?

President Donald J. Trump: (33:10)
I have seen where there is a difference and I don’t want there to be a difference. I don’t like that there would be a difference. But with that being said-

Jonathan Swan: (33:18)
Why do you think Black men are two and a half times-

President Donald J. Trump: (33:19)
Police have killed white people-

Jonathan Swan: (33:21)
I know, but why do you think Black men-

President Donald J. Trump: (33:22)
… in larger number, police have killed white people.

Jonathan Swan: (33:25)
In quantity, but why do you think Black men are two and a half times more likely to be killed by police than white men?

President Donald J. Trump: (33:29)
That I don’t know-

Jonathan Swan: (33:30)
Why?

President Donald J. Trump: (33:30)
… but I don’t like it.

Jonathan Swan: (33:32)
But you must’ve thought about it.

President Donald J. Trump: (33:33)
I don’t know why, but I don’t like it. I do know this-

Jonathan Swan: (33:36)
Does it speak to something systemic?

President Donald J. Trump: (33:37)
… that police have killed many white people also.

Jonathan Swan: (33:39)
But proportionally, what does it speak to?

President Donald J. Trump: (33:42)
It speaks to something, if that’s the number?

Jonathan Swan: (33:45)
It is the number.

President Donald J. Trump: (33:45)
Okay. If that’s the number, it speaks to something that to me is unacceptable.

Jonathan Swan: (33:49)
And what do you do about it then?

President Donald J. Trump: (33:51)
Well, I think we’ve already done a lot of things-

Jonathan Swan: (33:52)
But you haven’t, it still exists.

President Donald J. Trump: (33:53)
Let me just tell you.

Jonathan Swan: (33:54)
No, no, I understand your achievements. I know what you’re going to say. I’m not suggesting you haven’t done a lot economically-

President Donald J. Trump: (33:58)
I’ve done a thing called criminal justice reform.

Jonathan Swan: (34:00)
I get it, I’m just saying what changes-

President Donald J. Trump: (34:01)
And your friend President Obama couldn’t get done.

Jonathan Swan: (34:02)
He’s not my friend. I’m asking about a statistic.

President Donald J. Trump: (34:04)
He tried, but he couldn’t get it done. I got criminal justice [crosstalk 00:34:07]-

Jonathan Swan: (34:07)
I get it. I get it.

President Donald J. Trump: (34:07)
I got opportunities on, I took care of the historically Black… If you look at what I’ve done for colleges, for Black colleges and universities, I got them funding. Obama never did it. I did more for the Black community than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, whether you like it or not. People say, “Oh, that’s interesting.”

Jonathan Swan: (34:31)
You really believe you did more than Lyndon Johnson who passed the Civil Rights Act?

President Donald J. Trump: (34:34)
I think I did, yeah.

Jonathan Swan: (34:34)
How? How possibly did you-

President Donald J. Trump: (34:36)
Because I got criminal justice reform done, I got prison reform-

Jonathan Swan: (34:38)
Lyndon Johnson-

President Donald J. Trump: (34:39)
I’ve done things. Well-

Jonathan Swan: (34:41)
He passed the Civil Rights Act.

President Donald J. Trump: (34:43)
Ask. Ask. How has it worked out? If you take a look at what Lyndon Johnson did?

Jonathan Swan: (34:46)
You think the Civil Rights Act was a mistake?

President Donald J. Trump: (34:46)
How has it worked out? Because frankly, it took a long time, but for African Americans-

Jonathan Swan: (34:53)
But you think that was a mistake?

President Donald J. Trump: (34:54)
… under my administration, Jonathan, under my administration, African Americans were doing better than they have ever done in the history of this country. So I did a lot, job numbers, all of it, money. They had money, they were getting great. Their percentage was up, their housing ownership was up. They did better than they’ve ever done until we got hit-

Jonathan Swan: (35:12)
I just don’t know how you can-

President Donald J. Trump: (35:13)
… and now you know what we’re doing? I’m building it up again. We’re going to have it. Next year will be a great year, unless it’s screwed up by somebody that doesn’t know what he’s doing, which could happen, but I don’t think it will.

Jonathan Swan: (35:24)
John Lewis is lying in state in the U.S. Capitol. How do you think history will remember John Lewis?

President Donald J. Trump: (35:29)
I don’t know. I really don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration. He chose… I never met John Lewis, actually, I don’t believe.

Jonathan Swan: (35:42)
Do you find him impressive?

President Donald J. Trump: (35:46)
I can’t say one or the other. I find a lot of people impressive. I find many people not impressive. But no, but I didn’t go-

Jonathan Swan: (35:52)
Do you find his story impressive?

President Donald J. Trump: (35:53)
He didn’t come to my inauguration. He didn’t come to my State of the Union speeches, and that’s okay. That’s his right. And again, nobody has done more-

Jonathan Swan: (36:02)
Right, but back-

President Donald J. Trump: (36:03)
… for Black Americans than I have.

Jonathan Swan: (36:05)
I understand.

President Donald J. Trump: (36:05)
He should’ve come. I think he made a big mistake by not showing up.

Jonathan Swan: (36:08)
But taking your relationship with him out of it, do you find his story impressive? What he’s done for this country?

President Donald J. Trump: (36:14)
He was a person that devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart to civil rights, but there were many others also.

Jonathan Swan: (36:23)
There’s a petition to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama as the John Lewis Bridge. Would you support that idea?

President Donald J. Trump: (36:32)
I would have no objection to it if they’ve like to do it.

Jonathan Swan: (36:34)
Yeah? It’s a good idea?

President Donald J. Trump: (36:34)
Would have no objection to it whatsoever.

Jonathan Swan: (36:36)
Mr. President, you’ve been so generous with your time and we really appreciate.

President Donald J. Trump: (36:39)
Well, thank you very much. Great honor.

Jonathan Swan: (36:40)
Thank you so much.

President Donald J. Trump: (36:41)
Thank you.

Speaker 1: (36:45)
Okay, thank you.

President Donald J. Trump: (36:46)
Thank you very much.

Jonathan Swan: (36:47)
Thank you, sir.