President Donald Trump was in top form during an intense interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday.
Face to face with perhaps his least favorite reporter, Trump called Wallace “fake news” and challenged the journalist on the deadliness of the coronavirus, the Washington Examiner reported.
Trump calls Wallace “fake news”
On everything from the virus to the Black Lives Matter movement, Wallace threw hardball after hardball, but Trump stood his ground.
Early on, Trump and Wallace argued over whether the coronavirus was, as Wallace insisted, like a “forest fire” that the president had failed to control, while Trump insisted that an increase in cases was tied to more testing and people with minor symptoms. Very quickly, the exchange turned into an argument over America’s mortality rate.
“But, sir, we have the seventh-highest mortality rate in the world. Our mortality rate is higher than Brazil, it’s higher than Russia. And the European Union has us on a travel ban,” Wallace claimed, according to a transcript from Fox News.
“When you talk about mortality rates, I think it’s the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world,” Trump shot back.
Trump then asked for a chart from Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany contradicting Wallace’s assertion. “No. 1 low mortality rate,” Trump said, as the two got into a shouting match. “I hope you show the scenario because it shows what fake news is all about. OK, go ahead.”
Credit where credit is due
In a voice-over segment, Wallace did a “fact check” of Trump’s numbers, which came from a different source than Wallace’s. Later in the interview, he did a similar voice-over contesting Trump’s claim that Joe Biden has called for the defunding of police.
At one point, Wallace acknowledged tensions between himself and Trump but denied covering the president unfairly. Trump, however, suggested that, unlike Biden, he has no need for softballs from journalists. As Fox reported, the president said:
And you know why I won’t lose, because the country in the end, they’re not going to have a man who – who’s shot. He’s shot, he’s mentally shot. Let him come out of his basement, go around, I’ll make four or five speeches a day, I’ll be interviewed by you, I’ll be interviewed by the worst killers that hate my – my guts. They hate my guts. There’s nothing they can ask me that I won’t give them a proper answer to.
All around, the interview was a case study in Trump’s confidence and his ability to withstand tremendous pressure from critics, which even Wallace conceded was impressive.
“The fact is, the president is out there. He’s out there in this broiling heat with me for an hour, he took all the questions. You can like his answers or dislike them but he had answers and Joe Biden hasn’t faced that kind of scrutiny, hasn’t faced that kind of exposure,” Wallace told fellow Fox host Bret Baier on Monday, according to a report from the network.
On those points, it is indeed difficult to argue with Wallace.