Axios National Political Correspondent, Jonathan Swan, interviewed President Donald Trump on Tuesday, July 28th, 2020, about a number of topics including the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests that have swept the world, and allegations of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan. The interview aired on HBO the following Monday, August 3rd, 2020.
Swan: “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?
Trump: “We have a new phenomena, it’s called mail-in voting.”
Swan rightly asserted that mail-in voting has been used since the Civil War to no ill effect. President Trump’s response consisted of anecdotal stories of people, and even dogs, getting ballots in the mail that shouldn’t have come to them. What always gets left out in these ramblings is all of the work that goes into receiving, organizing, validating, and counting those ballots. The president seems to believe that every single ballot that comes in must be counted, even duplicates apparently. As is often the case, it is his profound ignorance of the processes of government that makes the power he wields so dangerous. However, even more dangerous are the highly capable, and morally objectionable, yes-men that Trump has appointed all around him.
Despite a persistent exchange in which Swan tried to get Trump to make some sense regarding his position, he did not budge.
Trump: “We have many court cases where we’re trying to end it.”
Ultimately, this seems to be the plan all along. Use President Trump as a lightning-rod for bold conservative ideas, such as voter suppression, and keep him the center of attention. All the while, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Bill Barr and their respective teams are cooking up lawsuits and legal disputes to find ways to challenge our democratic institutions and to shift the balance of power in our branches of government.
President Trump continued to defend his assertion that mail-in voting would lead to a rigged election, despite no evidence, and emphasized that, “this election will not be decided on the evening of November 3rd.” Again, this is common knowledge and entirely acceptable as we provide time for absentee ballots to arrive and be counted. This should not be an area of contention unless the purpose was to suppress voting across the board.
Trump: “Lots of things will happen in that period of time. Especially when you have tight margins, lots of things could happen.”
When it isn’t his ignorance that sends our eyes rolling it is his vague language that often sends a chill down our spines.
You can watch the full interview here.