President Trump's recent interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios showed why he is on track to lose his bid for reelection, Fox News contributor Guy Benson wrote Tuesday in a TownHall.com op-ed.
Benson, TownHall.com's political editor and the host of Fox News Radio's "The Guy Benson Show," singled out three moments from Trump's interview with Swan, which was broadcast Monday night on "Axios on HBO."
The first moment was the president's statement that he wished longtime Jeffrey Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell well as she awaits her federal trial on sex trafficking charges.
"Her friend, or boyfriend, was either killed or committed suicide in jail. She’s now in jail," Trump told Swan. "Yeah, I wish her well. I’d wish you well. I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty."
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"Ghislaine Maxwell is accused of repeated sexual assault and serial trafficking of underage girls ..." Benson wrote. "[I]t's mystifying that the president can't just repeat some boilerplate about being disturbed by the allegations and hoping that justice is served. Instead, he seems more defensive of Maxwell than he is of any number of people he's personally hired into his own administration. He's offered a harsher recent assessment of [White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator] Dr. Deborah Birx than he has of a woman charged with sex crimes against children."
Benson then critiqued Trump's response to a question about how history will remember the late Congressman John Lewis.
"I don't know. I really don't know. I don't know. I don't know John Lewis," the president said. "He chose not to come to my inauguration. He chose -- I don't -- I never met John Lewis, actually, I don't believe."
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"Trump could and should have been more gracious; some contributions to progress and the greater national good must transcend the politics of the day," Benson said. "The president's inability to overcome his blinkered, myopic and transactional approach to life may be appealing to some supporters, but it's not serving him well with the broader electorate."
Finally, and most seriously, Benson turned to Trump's responses to Swan's questions about the coronavirus pandemic, during which the president bickered with the reporter over U.S. death rates.
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"The upshot is that the president of the United States remains woefully underprepared to answer entirely predictable and oft-repeated critiques of the country's coronavirus response," Benson said. "This is political malpractice twice over, as it allows critics to perpetuate overstated condemnations while also telegraphing a general lack of presidential engagement. The virus could very well be the determining factor of the 2020 election."
Benson closed by pointing out that while presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden should experience the same tough questioning, the incumbent must improve his performance.
"The moment looms large and the stakes are high," Benson wrote. "He needs to do better. Can he?"