Trump says coronavirus ‘under control’ in wide-ranging interview

(CNN) - President Donald Trump says the coronavirus pandemic is under control as much as it can be controlled.

He also says of the death toll, "It is what it is."

The comments came in a wide-ranging, contentious interview with Axios that aired Monday on HBO.

Excerpts are from the Aug. 3 episode of Axios on HBO.

Jonathan Swan, Axios host: "Here's the question, you know, I've covered you for a long time. I've gone to your rallies. I've talked to your people. They love you. They listen to you. They listen to every word you say, they hang on your every word. They don't listen to me or the media or Fauci. They think we're fake news.

"They want to get their advice from you, and so when they hear you say, 'Everything's under control, don't worry about wearing masks.' I mean, these people, many of them are older people, Mr. President."

Trump: "Well, what's your definition of under control? Yeah. Under -'"

Swan: "It's giving them a false sense of security."

Trump: "I think it's under control, I'll tell you what -"

Swan: "How? A thousand Americans are dying a day."

Trump: "They are dying. That's true. And it is what it is, but that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague that beset us."

On the upcoming presidential election, Trump once again expressed his concern over mail-in ballots saying the process leads to cheating.

There also was an extended back and forth over the comparison of deaths by country.

Trump: ”Look, the death per...”

Swan: ”Started to go up again.”

Trump: ”Well, right here, United States is lowest in numerous categories. Uh, we’re lower than the world. We’re lower than Europe, take a look right here. Here’s case deaths.”

Swan: ”Oh, you’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population. That’s where the U.S. is really bad. Well, much worse than South Korea, Germany, et cetera.”

Trump: ”You can’t, you can’t do that. You don’t have to go by, you have to go by where - look here is the United States. You have to go by the cases, the cases.”

Swan: ”Why not as a proportion of population?”

Trump: “Somebody, what it says is when you have somebody that has where there’s a case, the people that live from those cases.”

Swan: ”It’s surely a relevant statistic to say if the U S has X population and X percentage of death of that population versus South Korea.”

Trump: “You have to go by the cases.”

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