Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Some of the Fox News Trump interview with Chris Wallace

About Trump’s Fox News Interview. The president displayed difficulty recalling information, interpreting simple graphs, and remembering what Chris Wallace said.

This post to thebulwark.com is by JONATHAN V. LAST JULY 20, 2020 5:07 AM. Introduces the interview with this:

There have been moments during the last three years when President Donald Trump appeared either to be unwell or not in control of his faculties.

The new Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace is another such example.

Let’s leave aside all of the politics—there are plenty of other people writing about those aspects of the interview— and focus instead just on the president’s ability to retain information as seen in the opening exchange on the state of the COVID–19 pandemic. You can watch the video or I can just give you the transcript:

And he does.

… here is the sequence of claims from Trump and Wallace concerning mortality rates:

  • Wallace: “We have the seventh highest mortality rate in the world.”
  • Trump: “We have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.”
  • Trump: “We have one of the lowest” mortality rates.
  • Trump: “Maybe the lowest mortality rate anywhere in the world.”
  • Trump: “Number one low mortality fatality rates.” [here he shows Wallace a graph handed to him by his staff]
  • Trump: “You said we had the worst mortality rate in the world …”
  • Trump: “… and we have the best.”

Note how Trump can’t keep straight where he thinks the U.S. mortality rate ranks. He goes back and forth between saying it’s “one of the lowest” and “the lowest.”

Trump then can’t remember what Wallace said. Wallace says the U.S. has the “seventh highest.” Trump then says, “You said we had the worst mortality rate in the world.”

Why can’t he remember what Wallace said less than two minutes ago?

But the most worrisome moment comes when Trump hands Wallace the chart that the president claims shows “number one low mortality fatality rates.”

Wallace shows the audience the chart … [Scriber: See the video embedded in the interview.]

Leave aside the fact that the chart Trump is using omits a number of relevant countries. Even among the countries it does count, it does not show the United States with the lowest mortality rate in the world. There are, depending on how finely you slice it, clearly two countries with lower mortality rates.

In other words, the president of the United States is looking directly at a line graph, but is not able to interpret it correctly.

The Fox News Sunday interview shows:

  • Trump cannot remember what his briefing book told him about mortality rates, so he flips back and forth between “one of the lowest” and “the lowest” in the world.
  • Trump cannot correctly interpret the simple graph handed to him by his own staff.
  • Trump cannot recall what Wallace said to him less than two minutes prior.

I’m not sure that there’s any explanation for this exchange that isn’t deeply worrisome for America.

There is much, much more in that interview that follows where Last’’s transcript left off.

Especially, check this one from another site: Trump will not accept election results … unless he wins.

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