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A Critique on Donald Trump - ABC

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Interesting Interview on ABC This Week -- Martha Raddatz and Jonathon Karl Talking About Trump

Jonathan Karl is an American political journalist. Karl has covered every major beat in Washington, D.C., including the White House, Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and the State Department, and has reported from more than 30 countries, covering U.S. politics, foreign policy, and the military. He has contributed to various ABC News programs, including Good Morning America and Nightline, and has interviewed many public figures.


JONATHAN KARL: Are you able to guarantee, to assure these states, these hospitals, that everybody who needs a ventilator will get a ventilator?

TRUMP: I think we're in great shape. I hope that's the case. I hope that we're going to have leftovers so we can help other people, other countries.

KARL: Everybody who needs one will be able to get a ventilator.

TRUMP: Look, look, don't be a cutie pie, OK, everyone who needs one, nobody has ever done what we've done.
RADDATZ: Jon, the president, we saw the last few weeks who has rarely stepped into the briefing room, is now there every single day.

KARL: It's really something else. I mean, literally, Martha, for three years of his presidency, he almost never went into that place. He had one appearance where he didn't take questions, now he has discovered that this is the place where he can be front and center and he is there every single day taking questions.

...One of the themes here is the ways in which the president runs his own show, the way he's his own communications director, he's his own national security adviser, he is his own press secretary...

RADDATZ: Gone through a few chiefs of staff.

KARL: He is his own chief of staff. And this crisis hit at precisely the moment that he literally had no chief of staff, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was on the way out. Mark Meadows, who to this moment is still a member of Congress and not formally the chief of staff, he's literally been doing it himself, calling the shots without any guardrails. This is pure Donald Trump.

RADDATZ: And pure Donald Trump in that he always seems to have an enemy. He appeals to his base no matter what. It's the Democrats' fault, it's the media's fault. It's -- it's whoever's fault. It's a governor in Michigan's fault. That's pure Donald Trump.

KARL: Absolutely. And -- and -- and often the news media. And he goes back and forth. I mean one day he's attacking Andrew Cuomo, the next day he's praising him. Day after day after day he seems to be blaming the entire crisis on the Democrats or on the news media and then he comes out and he's saying, actually, I think you guys have been doing a really good job or pretty good job covering this.
It's been back and forth, back and forth, because he's a guy that does this by instinct. This really is -- he -- he cares. Obviously he wants to get through this crisis. Everybody does. But he sees this as part of the -- the -- what I call the Trump show. He looks at the numbers. Who's watching? What are the --

RADDATZ: And even in this crisis?

KARL: I mean do you remember when -- when -- in the early days of this crisis, when the -- when the cruise ship was coming in to -- to California and he actually said he didn't really want it to come ashore because it would ruin his numbers. His numbers would double the number of cases.

RADDATZ: And -- and one of the things he's also been focused on, besides these mixed messages, despite what he's telling people is getting the country back, but he seems to float these ideas and then take them back, the Easter in two weeks, and then maybe not, we'll just recommend it's Easter.

KARL: Yes, it -- and it's -- and it's like, hey, that sounds great. And that was -- that was something -- and by -- wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all be packed in churches, Christians across the country on Easter Sunday? Well, he -- he sees it. He sees the image. Comes up with it. Boom. Was that a subject of discussion? No, this is Donald Trump who, again, plays by instinct, plays by gut. And -- and you see through the course of the book, I've --

RADDATZ: Do you think he's nervous about his numbers with the election coming up?

KARL: He's always obsessed with his numbers. So I'm sure he's concerned when he sees bad numbers. He asks virtually every day, by the way, what the latest count is on his Twitter followers, his Instagram followers, his Facebook followers. He cares about any kind of metric numbers of how he is perceived.

RADDATZ: And, very quickly, Jon, you write in your book about the dangers of Trump's war on truth. Will this do lasting damage?

KARL: I really worry that we are in a situation now where Donald Trump has undermined faith in the news media, amongst so many of his followers, and where so -- and -- and where his lack of credibility on so many issues has undermined truth with the other half of the country.

RADDATZ: We should all read your book. I already have. It's terrific.


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