President Donald Trump demonstrated a constitutional inability to answer difficult questions in a new Axios interview, which inspired a tidal wave of memes.
In the interview, Trump gave freewheeling responses about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his feelings on Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), and his wishes for Jeffrey Epstein’s partner Ghislaine Maxwell.
National Political Correspondent Jonathan Swan kicked off the 37-minute video by peppering Trump with questions about the U.S. response to the coronavirus. Trump argued that the United States was “lower than the world” in regards to some mysterious COVID-19 metric, rifling through papers with a variety of graphs on them to illustrate his point. But Swan didn’t let him off the hook, pointing out that Trump was misreading the data.
“Oh, you’re doing death as a proportion of cases,” he said. “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.”
“You can’t do that,” Trump shot back.
“Why can’t I do that?” Swan asked.
“You have to go by…” Trump said before trailing off as he shuffled through his graphs again.
Swan later asked Trump about the legacy of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the esteemed politician and civil rights leader who died last month at the age of 80. Lewis fought to end legalized racial segregation in the U.S. and led the first of three marches for Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Despite Lewis’ many accomplishments over a decades-long career, Trump chose to focus on some of his more recent actions.
“I don’t know John Lewis,” Trump said. “He chose not to come to my inauguration.”
“Nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have,” the president continued. “He should have come. I think he made a big mistake.”
Trump also repeated his well-wishes for Ghislaine Maxwell, the former partner of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein who was arrested last month on charges of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.
“I do wish her well,” Trump said of Maxwell. “I’m not looking for anything bad for her.”
Swan’s baffled reactions to Trump swiftly became meme fodder on Twitter.
Other users were shocked that Trump would agree to a televised interview that allowed him to stick his foot in his mouth for nearly 40 minutes.
“Every Trump interview sounds like someone trying to argue a refund out of a vending machine,” TV writer Mark Agee tweeted.
“It’s like an episode of Veep but real,” Rep. Justin Amash (L-Mich.) wrote.
Annie Rose Stracener came up with another tragically accurate television comparison: “Trump is Michael Scott in Scott’s Tots with none of the charm or remorse.
Many Twitter users who watched the Axios interview agreed that even when they should know better, they still manage to be flabbergasted by Trump’s incompetence.
“How am I still not used to Trump?” photographer Nate Igor Smith asked. “This is just absolute madness. He’s got the donkey brains.”