Photo of Donald Trump

Interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News

July 19, 2020

WALLACE:  And hello again from Fox News in Washington.  Today from the White House, we're on the president's patio just outside the Oval Office.

President Trump, you've agreed to answer all manner of questions, no subject off-limits. Thank you and welcome back to "FOX NEWS SUNDAY."

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.

WALLACE:  Let's start with the surge of the coronavirus across the country in recent months. You still talk about it as, quote, "burning embers." But I want to put up a chart that shows where we are with the illness over the last four months. As you can see, we hit a peak here in April, 36,000 cases...

TRUMP:  Cases.

WALLACE:  ... a day.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, cases.

WALLACE:  Then -- then it went down and now since June, it has gone up more than double. One day this week 75,000 new cases.  More than double...

THE PRESIDENT:  Chris, that's because we have great testing, because we have the best testing in the world. If we didn't test, you wouldn't be able to show that chart. If we tested half as much, those numbers would be down.

WALLACE:  But -- but this isn't burning embers, sir? This is a forest fire.

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no. But I don't say -- I say flames, we'll put out the flames. And we'll put out in some cases just burning embers. We also have burning embers. We have embers and we do have flames. Florida became more flame like, but it's -- it's going to be under control.

And, you know, it's not just this country, it's many countries. We don't talk about it in the news. They don't talk about Mexico and Brazil and still parts of Europe, which actually got hit sooner than us, so it's a little ahead of us in that sense.

But you take a look, why don't they talk about Mexico?  Which is not helping us. And all I can say is thank God I built most of the wall, because if I didn't have the wall up we would have a much bigger problem with Mexico.

WALLACE:  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.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah. I think what we'll do -- well, we have them under travel ban too, Chris. I closed them off. If you remember, I was the one that did the European Union very early.

But 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.

WALLACE:  That's not true, sir. We, we, we have a -- we had 900 deaths on a single day...

THE PRESIDENT:  We will take a look...

WALLACE:  ... just this week...


WALLACE:  You, you can check it out.

THE PRESIDENT:  Can you please get me the mortality rate?

THE PRESIDENT:  Kayleigh's right here. I heard we have one of the lowest, maybe the lowest mortality rate anywhere in the world.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you have the numbers, please? Because I heard we had the best mortality rate.

THE PRESIDENT: Number, number one low mortality rate.

THE PRESIDENT: I hope you show the scenario because it shows what fake news is all about. Ok, go ahead.

WALLACE: OK, OK. I don't think I'm fake news but I will -- we'll put --

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, you will --

WALLACE: -- put our stats on --

THE PRESIDENT: You said we had the worst mortality rate in the world --

WALLACE: I said you had --

THE PRESIDENT: -- and we have the best.

WALLACE VOICE OVER: All right. It's a little complicated. But bear with us.  We went with numbers from Johns Hopkins University which charted the mortality rate for 20 countries hit by the virus. The US ranked 7th better than the United Kingdom but worse than Brazil and Russia.

WALLACE VOICE OVER: The White House went with this chart from the European CDC which shows Italy and Spain doing worse. But countries like Brazil and South Korea doing better. Other countries doing better like Russia aren't included in the White House chart.

WALLACE: California locking down again. Florida, deadliest day of the entire pandemic. Hospitals at capacity at a number of places around the country. Shortages of testing, shortages of personal protective equipment for nurses and doctors.

A lot of people say this is because we don't have a national plan. You talk about states. We don't have a national plan. Do you take responsibility for that?

THE PRESIDENT:  Look, I take responsibility always for everything because it's ultimately my job, too. I have to get everybody in line.

Some governors have done well, some governors have done poorly. They're supposed to have supplies they didn't have. I supplied everybody.

Now we have somewhat of a surge in certain areas. And other areas we're doing great. But we have a surge in certain areas. But you don't hear people complaining about ventilators. We've got all the ventilators we can use. We're supplying them to other countries.

We go out into parking lots and everything, everybody gets a test. We find -- if we did half the testing -- with all of that being said, I'm glad we did it. This is the right way to do it. I'm glad we did what we're doing. But we have more tests by far than any country in the world.

WALLACE:  But, sir, testing is up 37 percent.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that's good.

WALLACE:  I understand. Cases are up 194 percent. It isn't just that testing has gone up, it's that the virus has spread. The positivity rate has increased. There – the virus is…

THE PRESIDENT:  Many of those cases...

WALLACE:  ... worse than it was.

THE PRESIDENT:  Many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day. They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test. Many of them -- don't forget, I guess it's like 99.7 percent, people are going to get better and in many cases they're going to get better very quickly.

We go out and we look and then on the news -- look if you go back to the news, all of your -- even your wonderful competitors, you'll see cases are up. Cases are up -- many of those cases shouldn't even be cases. Cases are up because we have the best testing in the world and we have the most testing.

No country has ever done what we've done in terms of testing. We are the envy of the world. They call and they say the most incredible job anybody's done is our job on testing, because we're going to very shortly be up to 50 million tests.

You look at other countries; they don't even do tests. They do tests if somebody walks into the hospital, they're sick, they're really sick, they test them then, or they'll test them in a doctor's office. But they don't go around have massive areas of testing and we do. And I'm glad we do, but it really skews the numbers.

WALLACE: I'm, I'm going to do you a favor, because I'm sure a lot of people listening right now are going to say, "Trump, he tries to play it down, he tries to make it not being as serious as it is."

THE PRESIDENT:  I don't play it -- I'm not playing -- no, this is very serious.

WALLACE:  75,000 cases a day.

THE PRESIDENT:  Show me the death chart.

WALLACE:  Well, I don't have the death chart.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, the death chart is much more important.

WALLACE:  But I can tell you, the death chart is a thousand cases a day.

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, it's all too much, it shouldn't be one case. It came from China. They should've never let it escape. They should've never let it out. But it is what it is. Take a look at Europe, take a look at the numbers in Europe. And by the way, they're having cases.

WALLACE: I can tell you cases are 6,000 in the whole European Union.

THE PRESIDENT:  They don't test. They don't test.

WALLACE:  Is it possible that they don't have the virus as badly as we do?

THE PRESIDENT:  It's possible that they don't test, that's what's possible. We find cases and many of those cases heal automatically. We're finding -- in a way, we're creating trouble. Certainly, we are creating trouble for the fake news to come along and say, "Oh, we have more cases."

Look, we do something that nobody's ever done. Not only the ventilators, where we're supplying them all over the world. We did a testing program the likes of which nobody's ever done before.

WALLACE: The head of the CDC, Dr. Redfield, said this on Tuesday.

TAPE: July 14, 2020

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: "I do think this fall and winter of 2020, 2021, are probably going to be one of the most difficult times that we've experienced in American public health."

WALLACE: Do you agree with Dr. Redfield?

T THE PRESIDENT:  I don't know and I don't think he knows. I don't think anybody knows with this. This is a very tricky deal. Everybody thought this summer it would go away and it would come back in the fall. Well, when the summer came, they used to say the heat -- the heat was good for it and it really knocks it out, remember? And then it might come back in the fall. So they got that one wrong.

They -- they got a lot wrong. They got a lot wrong. The World Health got a tremendous amount wrong. They basically did whatever China wanted them to. And we'll save now almost $500 million a year, which is nice. But the World Health got a lot wrong.

WALLACE: But, this is one of the sharpest criticisms of you.


WALLACE: People say that you talk about the world as you'd like to see it rather than follow the science.


WALLACE: Well – let me just, let me just ask the question, sir. Why on earth would your administration be involved in a campaign at this point to discredit Dr. Fauci, who is the nation's top infectious disease expert.

THE PRESIDENT:  Because we're not. If one man from my administration doesn't like him because he made a few mistakes -- look, Dr. Fauci said, "Don't wear a mask." Dr. Fauci told me not to ban China, it would be a big mistake. I did it over and above his recommendation. Dr. Fauci then said, "You saved tens of thousands of lives" -- more than that. He said, "You saved tens of thousands of lives."

Dr. Fauci's made some mistakes. But I have a very good -- I spoke to him yesterday at length. I have a very good relationship with Dr. Fauci.

WALLACE:  But -- but, sir, this week -- this weekend, your White House put out a series of statements, so-called mistakes that Dr. Fauci had made. One of your closest aids -- one of your right-hand men, Daniel Scavino, put out this -- you've seen this?

THE PRESIDENT: Well Dr., look, look…

WALLACE: Dr. – Dr. – ‘Dr. Faucet,' which shows him as a leaker and an alarmist.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I don't know that he's a leaker ….

WALLACE: Why, why would you do that?

THE PRESIDENT: He's a little bit of an alarmist. That's OK. A little bit of an alarmist.

Donald J. Trump, Interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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