Pres. Trump Plays Golf as COVID-19 Death Toll Nears 100,000

On Memorial Day, President Trump continues to court controversy: taking and defending unproven anti-malarial drugs, refusing to wear a mask, and choosing to be seen playing golf on a weekend that sees the number of coronavirus deaths in the United States approach 100,000. To analyze the president’s thinking, Christiane speaks with Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio and Trump adviser David Urban.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: OK. So, there’s a difference between sit frozen in his office and play golf on Memorial Day weekend while also tweeting about number of baseless conspiracy theories, retweeting posts of ridiculing Stacey Abrams, as we know from Atlanta, ridiculing her weight, calling Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, a drunk and calling Hillary Clinton, his former rival a skank. And then, again, incorrectly tweeting cases and deaths down across America where we know that’s not the case, in some places they are, in some places they are going up. What are the optics, do you think, David? Why would the president be doing that stuff? Really trying to understand this. That’s why we have you on.

DAVID URBAN, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP’S 2020 ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Yes, look. So, you know, Christiane, I always speak out against those types of tweets. I don’t think they’re useful. I think they divide voters, not unite voters. I think they maybe appeal to certain demographic in the base. I would rather the president continue to tweet out about the very positive things that the administration accomplished. Focus on those. Focus on the good things that are happening in America today. Look, there are lots of deaths, tragic, they are tragic. And America has the best, brightest scientist and researchers, pharmaceutical companies, private and public sector working together to try to combat this. I’d rather see the president focus on the positive things his administration he’s accomplished to date rather than the negative.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me go to Michael D’Antonio. Because you have spoken to him over many months while you did that biography and obviously you followed him. He also doesn’t wear a mask and we understand that it’s a visual thing, it’s an optics thing. He thinks it doesn’t look good, it doesn’t make him, you know, look strong. It makes him look weak. You tell me what you think about some of the points I made to David and also the mask thing. What do you think is going through his head? What drives him?

MICHAEL D’ANTONIO, AUTHOR, “THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP”: Well, I think one of the things that’s obvious and that the president said to me many times was that he likes to think into the future, that he is forward facing and really doesn’t dwell on the past. And I think sometimes he even has trouble staying rooted in the present because he’s anticipating what he might do next and also anticipating who might criticize him and who might appear on the horizon as an enemy. So, he’s got this very unique, I think, way of doing politics that is about attacking all the time and finding people to create — or turn into enemies and then finding ways to engage them.

About This Episode EXPAND

David Urban and Michael D’Antonio join Christiane Amanpour to dissect President Trump’s thinking as the number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. nears 100,000. Curtis Sittenfeld discusses her new novel, which envisions a counterfactual history where Hillary Rodham never married Bill Clinton. Scott Galloway joins Hari Sreenivasan to explain how the pandemic will disrupt higher education in the U.S.