Donald Trump was reportedly “happy” with Jonathan Swan's viral TV interview, which showed the US president in a conversation about the coronavirus pandemic and how the US has handled it.
The Australian journalists' viral interview has been called a “train wreck” and watched by tens of millions around the world.
However, Swan, said that in a brief 35 minute grilling, Trump appeared to be pleased with the outcome and wanted the interview to be broadcasted in its entirety.
“After the interview President Trump said to me, ‘You’ve got to run it in full. You can’t be editing, you can’t be cutting me off, you’ve got to let the sentences flow’,” Swan said.
“So we went with the President’s editorial judgment in this instance.”
Swan explained that in the Trump interview, the US President had tried to spin his way out of the reporter pressing that 1,000 Americans are dying daily from coronavirus.
“But, you know, it can’t be spun,” Swan said.
“I really wanted to keep bringing it back to that … very raw fact, that’s undeniable, that can’t be spun away.
“Which is America, the leader of the free world, with all of its advanced science and medicine is doing so much worse than … all of these other advanced countries on that metric of death as a proportion of population for this virus.
“What I was talking about was Mr President, America, when you take its population and the number of deaths is not doing the worst in the world, but (it’s) pretty close.
“I think he’s deeply, deeply frustrated that his old moves aren’t working with this crisis.
“The problem with this virus, it resists this type of publicity. It is resilient to any type of spin.”
In the interview, Trump seemed friendly to the reporter, but Swan denied having any special relationship with the President.
“I don’t really have a relationship with him that’s sort of more than someone who’s covered him now for almost five years,” Swan told Fran Kelly.
“The thing you’ve got to understand about this President is he is obsessed with media and driven by media in a way that, no matter what you read about him, it still doesn’t fully explain about the level of obsession with media.
“He is a media creation. He’s created himself through television, through media.
“He’s obsessed with it. He knows programming, he watches an inordinate amount of television.
“He’s obsessed with ratings. He knows the nuances of different shows, he knows the hosts.
“If you cover him, he is aware of you in an intense way, and particularly if you are not only covering him in print but appearing on television.”
Swan recognised that his opportunity to sit down with the President was “rare” as he had been doing a “spree” of interviews.
“I went in with frankly the knowledge that I’m probably not going to get another TV sit down with him,” Swan said.
“To get that opportunity I recognised it was incredibly rare,
“We are at a moment when a President of the United States is in absolute crisis.
“Handling the worst pandemic in a century, with an economic crisis overlaid over the top of it.
“He is like no other president in my lifetime … or even in American history.
“I really wanted to try and explore with him … how does he grapple with the fact that when he was a private citizen he was always talking about leadership and responsibility.
“He used to be so tough on (former president Barrack) Obama, he even called for Obama to resign when ebola reached America
“Only two people died of ebola.
“I was curious whether there was any level of remorse, regret, self reflection, even admission that he’d made some mistakes to create a situation where America has just such a horrible outcome compared to other advanced countries on the measure of death.”
This article originally appeared on Over60.