Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
From or TV news, this is states of mind, this American carnage fired back with rubber bullets, stops right here and stops right now.
I do not believe we're the dark, angry nation that Donald Trump sees in his tweets in the middle of the night, your US Election 2020 podcast with Brian O'Donovan in Washington and Jacki Fox in Dublin today.
I'm getting used to the mask and the reason is to think about patriotism. Maybe it is. It helps. It helps.
Twitter is not always the nicest place in the world.
And but somehow the anonymity of your boss isn't always very nice to meet them on Twitter either to your boss. The man in the White House isn't always very nice to people on Twitter either.
Yeah, that's true. It's just over 100 days until the election, Brian. The Trump campaign has recently been rocked by the sacking of a campaign manager rally, no shows and falling behind in the polls. It's not exactly a good look for them, is it? No, it's not.
And particularly just to pick up on the poll question, I mean, every time we put the polls to the Trump supporters, they will always say, oh, but they were wrong the last time and it's the media putting a negative spin on them. The pollsters would say, no, this time is different. Yes, we know. You know, we got it wrong with Hillary. Everybody said Hillary Clinton was going to win. She did not. This time, they are saying the lead that Joe Biden has is bigger.
And he also has a significant lead in many swing states. He is not doing rallies. He's doing very few media interviews. We're barely seeing him yet. Joe Biden has this huge lead. So I think it's a difficult time for the Trump campaign. They're probably scratching their heads going, well, what's going on? You know, he's the US president is the most visible vocal person in the world. He's on TV every night. He's trying to do these rallies, but haven't been particularly successful.
Poor numbers, rallies have been canceled yet. It's not being reflected in the polls. This week, of course, we saw Donald Trump return to the podium to give these regular coronavirus briefings that he used to give at the start of the coronavirus crisis. But, Jack, you'll recall they were a bit of a disaster for him.
I have a couple of interesting we have a few clips that we're just going to put up. We could turn the lights on a little bit lower. I think you'll find them interesting.
With no silver bullet to knock out the coronavirus, President Trump is suggesting medical experts look into exposing the human body to light and heat as a possible treatment.
Supposedly hit the body with a tremendous whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, you can which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, the fate of the daily briefings.
Now, at issue, aides and allies have encouraged President Trump to do fewer shorter sessions with reporters. Some stretched stretch beyond two hours, at times exposing disagreement.
I think from Donald Trump's perspective, he's looking at the poll numbers. He's looking at big dissatisfaction with his handling of the coronavirus crisis. And somewhere along the line, he's decided, right, I'm going to start doing regular updates and regular briefings again on this crisis. But I think he's going to need a major change of tone and a different style and a different way of doing them than we saw a few months ago when we go inside the Trump campaign and see what we find.
And as we say, at a time when they were under huge pressure from the polls, changes of campaign manager, difficulty filling arenas, canceling rallies, that kind of thing. We're going to hear from the most senior spokesperson within the Trump campaign. His name is Tim Murtoa and he's the communications director with the Trump campaign. OK, let's go.
Hiya, Tim. Thanks very much for joining us. How are you sure? Good. How are you doing, Brian? I'm very good. First, the most important question that everybody will be wondering out there. Your last name, Myrtle, is Irish. There must be Irish link. Have you done the family tree? Do you know where your roots are? Yeah.
County Mayo. As a matter of fact, my people came to America in the 80s because the west of Ireland woman were in Mayo.
Are your roots. I'm from Galway myself.
Now I'm going to butcher the pronunciation of it, but it's a Ballyhaunis barley.
That's good. Ballyhaunis. Ballyhaunis. Yeah, we had some Murry's but my name is Myrtle. Somewhere along the way we had the letter you added in the second part of the name. So it was the original spelling was you are a g h. But we spell it Muoi to you g h. And my family came into the United States through Boston and could be that there at the immigration post that the U. Was added, we don't know. But yes, we have an aunt of mine is a genealogist and she traced our family tree back to County Mayo.
And and I've actually been back to visit. I've been to Ireland twice and visited what we believe is the spot of our old family homestead and really felt like I was I was reaching back to my family roots when when we were able to do that good will hopefully be able to get back here again once all these coronaviruses restrictions are lifted.
I'm going to stay with Ireland for a moment, if that's OK, too. In recent months, Donald Trump has spoken about Ireland and he has made reference to the fact that there were a huge number of US pharmaceutical companies in Ireland.
And he says, I'm going to bring those jobs back from Ireland over to the U.S. It's all part of his America first policy.
So should Irish pharmaceutical workers out there be really, really worried if Donald Trump is re-elected?
Well, I don't you know, look, I think a strong United States is good for for all freedom loving people across the country. And the fact is, President Trump was elected and we believe will be re-elected as president of the United States. And that is his main focus. And he has been concerned and that's what he ran on the first time. And he remains concerned with jobs that we have lost to other countries in manufacturing or in technology firms or in in pharmaceuticals, as you mentioned, that have left the United States.
And he wants those jobs back. Now, I'm not going to tell your Irish pharmaceutical workers that that they should be nervously eyeing their inbox for for an email alerting them that they've been sacked or anything like that. But, you know, the president is determined to bring jobs that have been lost to other countries over bad American policies under previous prior presidents. He is determined to bring those jobs back to the United States. And I appreciate that I'm on an Irish program right now.
And maybe that's not the the angle that that you would be looking for. But President Trump's view, he wakes up every morning and he tries to think of what is best for the United States of America on that day. And bringing back jobs that we have lost to overseas markets is one of those things.
I'm going to stay one more Ireland question before we move on to the campaign itself. And it's in the area of Brexit. If Donald Trump is re-elected, he will be overseeing these negotiations between the UK and the US in a post Brexit trade deal scenario.
The Democrats have been very vocal, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden about protecting Northern Ireland, protecting the Northern Ireland peace process, keeping that border between north and south open and protecting what's been achieved throughout these negotiations. Donald Trump has not been as vocal on that. Is it something that's on his radar?
Is it something that he's going to be concerned about throughout these Brexit negotiations?
Well, look, I worked for the president's campaign. We are the political arm of the president. And you are delving into areas that deal with future international negotiations and future policy coming out of the White House and so forth for what the president's posture is going to be about those negotiations. I'm afraid I'm going to have to direct you to my friends over at the White House in the rough and tumble of the campaign.
To Marta, can you give us an insight into what is your day like? Give us a sense of how many fires you have to put out on a daily basis. How intense actually is it? It's pretty intense.
I start getting emails that, I don't know, four or five o'clock in the morning from some reporters, and then the phone actually starts ringing at probably seven o'clock in the morning. And then we have we have a series of morning meetings that we go through here at the office every day. And I guess I get about seven hundred and fifty or eight hundred emails a day on average. And most of them are from the news media and a lot of them are fires that we have to put out for sure.
And another thing that I do is I'm one of the people on the campaign who goes on television and has to do battle with some of the hosts. That would be considered, I think, hostile to our interests and hostile to the. President, just this afternoon, I had about a 15 minute segment on CNN, which is one of the American cable channels here, and they're really, really, really biased against the president. And, you know, I felt like after the after that interview was over, figuratively speaking, there there was blood and teeth on the floor in the studio there.
And I'm not sure whose teeth and whose blood it was.
I mean, you're not a doctor clearly checking your theory because you're talking to scientists and doctors and clearly you don't. So then why not?
You know, we engage in verbal sparring an awful lot. I think when when you work for a president where Harvard University did a study that showed that 95 percent of the media coverage about President Trump has been negative towards him and slanted against him. I think you begin to understand what we deal with every single day because, you know, the national news media, although I think if they if you ask them privately, they would want Donald Trump re-elected because it's for them.
I think it's really entertaining and provides them with a lot of things to write about. But the way that they slant their stories and just the nature of their questions, it's extremely hostile. And I watch my counterparts from Joe Biden's campaign going to the same news networks and sit for their 15 minute interviews. And it really is just an opportunity for them to air their point of view and get on there and say what they want to say. And when I'm on there or when one of my colleagues on the Trump campaign is on there, we spend every minute of the program being, you know, just badgered with with very hostile questions.
And it's all we can do to try to get our points in and try to turn the conversation to areas that we do want to talk about, like trying to draw a contrast between President Trump and Joe Biden, which is our job. After all, our opponent is Joe Biden, not the news media, although I'm not sure the news media understands it that way. I think that they believe that Donald Trump is their opponent.
But surely, you know, the role of the media is to scrutinize politicians, including incumbent presidents, to to make sure that they are making the right decisions, that the country is going in the right way. And that is really important for democracy.
Well, that's just it. Only one candidate in this race is being scrutinized, and that's President Trump. You know, it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago Joe Biden had gone eighty nine days without holding a press conference. Eighty nine days without taking questions from a group of reporters. And then one day he goes out and he took about 10 questions from a group of reporters. And a lot of the questions were not one of them actually was. Mr.
Biden, what keeps you up at night? And that's that's the kind of hard hitting questions that these people had. Eighty nine days to come up with. And then since that day, which is now more than two weeks ago, he hasn't held a press conference again. So we're now up to over 100 days where he hasn't taken questions from a large group of media. And you would think that the national press corps would be up in arms about that and demand access to the guy because he has not undergone the scrutiny.
And he has he has not been held under a microscope, like someone who wants to be president of the United States, rightfully should be. And instead of being frustrated by this and up in arms about that, they marvel at how wonderful his strategy is and they actually praise him for staying hidden. And now, you know, on the other hand, during that eighty nine day period that I mentioned where Biden was holding no press conferences at all, President Trump on fifty five occasions took questions from groups of reporters while Joe Biden was doing none of that.
And instead of praising the president for his accessibility, they've never had access to a president like this in any of their reporting careers like they have with President Trump. Instead of being appreciative of the access, they berate him for the manner in which he chooses to do it. They don't like the setting that he goes to. They don't like that he uses the Rose Garden at the White House, for example. And then when you have the other guy who spends all of his time hiding in the basement, they just think that his strategy is so clever and brilliant.
So there is a clear bias. You're right. A free and fair press that's covered under our First Amendment to our Constitution ought to be able to examine both candidates for president. And in this case, they have the opportunity to examine one President Trump and not the opportunity to examine the other Joe Biden. And curiously, they think that's just fine.
Well, Tim, I want to ask you the Biden esque question of what keeps you up at night. But I will ask you this. You just outlined a strategy there where Joe Biden is virtually invisible. He does hardly any interviews. He does early any campaign events. Donald Trump is everywhere every day. But right now, Joe Biden has a massive lead in the opinion polls.
Are you worried about these opinion polls? Do they keep you up at night?
No, they don't, because, you know, all you have to do really is look under the hood of these polls very briefly to see that all of them have pretty significant flaws in them. Takes some of the ones I just mentioned, CNN, where I appeared today, but their most recent poll showed that only 24 percent of the people who responded to their poll were identified as Republicans, which is President Trump's party. That's compared to the exit polls from twenty eighteen, which showed that 33 percent of the people who voted in both twenty, eighteen and twenty sixteen when the president was elected the first time.
Thirty three percent of the people who voted in those elections were Republicans. So in that CNN poll, Republicans were under sampled by nine points. And so when you began a poll that way, of course, the results are going to be skewed in Joe Biden's favor. A Fox News poll that came out just a couple of days ago showed that forty six percent of the respondents in that survey were Democrats. That's compared to 36 percent of the people who voted in the last election.
So they oversampled Democrats by 10 points in that poll. And so, of course, when you start with a sample that is is as skewed as that, of course, it's going to show Joe Biden with the lead. And so we discount all of these public polls because they're conducted with one thing in mind. They're trying to make headlines and they're trying to suppress the enthusiasm of President Trump's supporters. And we just know that that's not possible to do our own internal data here at the Trump campaign.
And it's what we trust because we spend a lot of money conducting polls in this campaign and we don't spend that money to get lied to. We want to know what the real situation is. And we track 17 of our states constantly. We know what's happening on the ground in 17 states that will decide who the next president is. And we know that in those 17 states, Donald Trump runs strong and is leading Joe Biden. And we have high confidence.
If the election were today, we firmly believe the president would be re-elected. And we have one hundred and four days left to go and we think the president continues to get stronger.
We spoke about media appearances being front and center this week. Donald Trump is making a very significant return to one type of media appearance, and that is regular coronavirus briefings. Is that wise to him? They were suspended after Donald Trump openly wondered aloud if the ingesting of disinfectants might help treat the virus. Sure.
The president look, the president is the best messenger for all the things that he's working on. And Americans can see that he has been leading this country through the coronaviruses crisis. Really, it is an unprecedented national effort here in the states. And one of the big real triumphs is the creation of the coronavirus testing system that didn't exist before the coronavirus emerged. We've now tested forty six million Americans and we're testing eight hundred thousand people each and every day. And the American media wants to act as if know that there was a coronavirus test just on the shelf and President Trump didn't get it replicated enough and get it out to the people in time.
Everybody has to remember that this is called a novel coronavirus for a reason. It had never been seen before. This is a brand new disease on the scene. The test for it did not exist. Of course, it had to be invented.
And as you remember, China lied to the world and prevented the rest of the world, you know, Ireland included from having information on the front end of this. They lied about the origin of it. They lied about the severity of it. They lied about the virility of the coronavirus. We actually had to get the strain to produce our tests here in America from Italy because we could not get it from China. And so when you go from starting actually truly from zero, when you go from zero for the disease that no one had ever seen before to testing forty six million Americans and that number growing by almost a million people every single day, I'd say that's a pretty big triumph and it continues to get even better and better as we move along.
And the vaccine just on that.
I mean, is it is it we talk about vaccines, you talk about testing, but that point of ingesting disinfectants, that was a big error by Donald Trump and it led to the suspension of these briefings. They're coming back. Are we going to see more of this kind of stuff coming from the podium?
Well, look, I think the media when the president was was conducting these briefings every day, the media complained that the you know, the president was commanding the spotlight too much and now he's spending too much time up on stage. And then he went through a period of a couple of months where he wasn't doing them. And they started to complain about that, saying, where's the president? And so now he's back to going back up on the podium again and conducting the coronavirus briefing.
And we've got the American news media complaining about it. So, I mean, I think it's really, truly a case that if Donald Trump says up, the media says down. And we see so many different examples of that, like take, for example, the restriction of travel from China at the early stages of this. On January 31st, President Trump restricted travel from China. Immediately, Joe Biden said that that was xenophobic and it was racist and it was fear mongering to do that.
And then soon after, of course, the national news media jumped on board and they roundly criticized the president for restricting travel from China. It is now accepted as fact that that move saved countless thousands of American lives. And the news media would like to forget that they were critics of that.
But surely you were talking about Joe Biden there saying, you know, the initial travel ban was racist against China, but surely the president of the United States coming out and calling covid-19 Kong flu that is offensive towards Asian people.
I don't see how it's just another way to pinpoint China as the origin. And that's another thing that Joe Biden has resisted. He didn't think it was fair to single out China as the place the virus had come from. And the president began talking about the virus in that way and calling it the Chinese virus or the Hoolihan virus or other variations of that, because the Chinese government had blamed the American military for the outbreak in the first place, which is just a ludicrous accusation that the American military was somehow responsible for the breakout of the virus from the Wuhan province of China.
That's that's just silliness. But I would also point out that during the previous administration, President Obama's administration, when Joe Biden was the vice president, the Veterans Affairs Department here in our United States government, which looks out for the health care and well-being of our military veterans, they used a variety of different advertisements during regular flu season. And of course, the coronavirus didn't exist yet at that time. And they also they also used the phrase kung fu become a kung fu warrior.
They said they had websites set up in literature that was handed out to military veterans telling them to get their flu shots become a kung fu warrior, said the VA during the Obama administration. I don't remember one single member of the American news media who found that offensive at that time.
It's only when Donald Trump says it that it's suddenly off limits.
Let's go to the shake up of the campaign team recently. Why did that happen? A change in campaign manager. Is that a risky move with just over 100 days to go until the election? It's not a good look.
Well, I mean, let's remember the what happened in twenty sixteen. I think I think I'm not sure that anyone would necessarily ever call the twenty, sixteen, twenty sixteen campaign a well organized affair. And the guys who were on that campaign are now friends of mine and I know them pretty well and I and I give them credit. They like to say that they were building the airplane in flight and to their everlasting credit they landed that airplane. And that's why I'm able to be talking to you here, representing the president's re-election campaign.
Let's also remember that Joe Biden is on his second campaign manager as well. So this sort of move is far from from uncommon. And this isn't Bill Stepien, who is the new campaign manager, is not somebody who comes in from the outside. He's not somebody who was unknown. He was already in the role of deputy campaign manager. He's been here on the president's campaign already for about two years. Before that, he was the political director at the White House for President Trump.
And on the twenty sixteen campaign, he was the national field director. So Bill is a known quantity to all of this. We've all worked with him for an awfully long time, a long time. And Brad Paskeville is not going anywhere. I mean, Brad's real claim to fame is that he is the master of the digital and data realm. And I think Brad would be the first one to tell you that he's not the guy who is is the political whiz kid and is the guy who makes all the political moves.
He is the he is the guy who builds the data machine, which is truly what the president's election can't re-election campaign is built on. So Brad is still going to be running the data and the digital operation here. He's still very much a part of the team. I just talked to him this morning. And so I think there's a great sense of continuity here. And the president has decided that for the homestretch here, he wants Bill Stepien steering the ship, but he's got Brad Paskeville manning the guns.
And we just think it's the same team that we had two weeks ago and we're ready to go into battle with these guys.
One of the big things about manning the guns and going into battle is the rally, the campaign rally where Donald Trump is his most comfortable and he feels his most effective. But he tried to resume those rallies recently. Tulsa, Oklahoma, a very low turnout. New Hampshire canceled because of bad weather, but there were suggestions that maybe he was canceled because you guys weren't getting a lot of people registering. Has the return to the campaign rally been a bit of a disaster up to this point to him?
Now, let's take Tulsa. First of all, leading up to the Tulsa rally we had, we went through 10 days of 24 hours a day barrage of the national news media telling people, don't go to the Trump rally. It's a dangerous place to be. And then you have the the mayor of Tulsa issue A. Curfew, and he told me he issued a statement saying that he had knowledge, he had information that there were outside forces coming to cause agitation.
There were nine foot steel barriers erected in the blocks around the arena where the rally was going to be. The businesses downtown in the downtown area all boarded up their windows as though they were expecting some sort of war to break out. And I think, you know, in the backdrop of all of that, the fact that we had twelve thousand people show up, I think those hearty souls, we congratulate them. And not only that, we had 20 million people watch it online or on Fox News and Fox News set a record for the largest audience they've ever had on a Saturday night.
So and I would point out we also raised ten million dollars that day. So by any measure, Tulsa was a big success. And in New Hampshire, look, Tropical Storm Fay was bearing down on the New England portion of the United States. If we had not postpone the rally, the media would beat us up for putting people's lives in danger when we couldn't control the unpredictable weather. And so, you know, it's just another case of if we do something, the media is going to criticize it.
If we do something else, they're going to criticize that, too. And I would point out that the path of a tropical storm and whether forecasts are about as reliable as these national public opinion polls that we see.
But is this know the end of the campaign rally? Then I see you doing a lot of virtual events. I was looking on your web. There are virtual fundraisers, that kind of thing. Are we going to see any more of these rallies or are you just getting to polls them, though, for the time being? No, I believe so.
The president is eager to get back out on the campaign trail, and we're always looking at the next place we can go. And of course, in the coronavirus situation, we have to take a look at what is the situation on the ground. The reason why we picked Oklahoma in the first place is because they were pretty deep into phase three of their reopening and under state guidelines mass, we're not required. Social distancing was not required. And that's why we were planning to head to New Hampshire as well, because because of their progress in the reopening.
And, you know, there are lots of options for different venues, different places with the president can go. There are, of course, indoor venues, which we've done a lot of. There are outdoor venues which we're where we've also held rallies. There are airplane hangars where you can have the giant doors open and have some of the bleachers actually outside on the tarmac there a variety of ways that we can still have gatherings of people and keep everybody safe.
And, you know, on top of that, we temperature checked every single person who came into the Tulsa rally. And we would do that again in any future rallies. We give everybody a mask and encourage them to wear them and also the tents and, you know, make it mandatory.
And also, you made them sign waivers saying if you get the virus, don't sue us. I mean, you know, is the most responsible and safest thing you could be doing here is just maybe not hold rallies at all.
Look, yet again, I think the greatest wish of Joe Biden and the national news media is to keep President Trump off of the campaign trail. And the fact is, as the president preaches and as the media always says, follow CDC guidelines, follow state and local guidelines. And in the case of these rallies and wherever we would go for a rally, that is exactly what we do. Look, if you're going to have different phases of opening and if you're going to have phase three opening, which says social distancing, not required, mask wearing not required.
And if you're not going to observe those things, then why have those phases at all? We have to get people have to understand that there is a lot of health problems that would be associated for a long term closing up of the American economy and of our society generally. I know Joe Biden probably thinks that it's in his best interest if everything stays locked down forever because a sinking economy is good news for him. Remember that good news for Americans economically or any good news for Americans is bad news for Joe Biden politically.
And that is a pretty pathetic place to be in for a guy who's running for president of the United States. So the president is very concerned about the safety of everybody, and particularly those people who we would invite to come to a rally. And we will certainly make sure that they are conducted under safe conditions.
One of our final questions here, what do you see as the biggest challenge during this election for the Trump campaign?
You know, I would say punching through the endless barrage of negative news. The national news media is really dead set on campaigning against this president. They have dropped all pretense of being objective journalists. And I think that is really, truly are our biggest adversary. Joe Biden is a weak candidate. He is a vessel of the extreme left. And they are using him as a tool to push their radical agenda, things like defunding the police, things like opening up America's borders and not enforcing anything that resembles national sovereignty to.
Raising taxes to to runaway government programs and controlling virtually every aspect of American citizens lives. So, I mean, I think Joe Biden is about the weakest candidate that the Democrats have put up in at least a generation. And he's only really being propped up by the national news media and the extreme left who really views him as their puppet very, very finely.
I don't know if you know this, but there's an Irish cricket player called Tim Merta as well.
Oh, yes. And he's caught up in a bit of a case of mistaken identity. Identity. The poor guy's Twitter is flooded with tweets directed at you.
Yes, I'm aware of the gentleman who and again, his name is spelled slightly differently. He doesn't have the.
You can use it the more traditional way. Yes. Yeah. So I really I feel really bad. We have tweeted back and forth with each other a couple of times. I said, hey, I'm sorry about this. So but he looks like based on what I've seen from his activity, he looks like he's having a good time with it and is just kind of playing it off as a joke. So, you know, good on him for having a sense of humor about it.
But, yeah, you know, Twitter Twitter is not always the nicest place in the world.
And there are some people on Twitter there who say things to to other human beings that I don't think that they would normally say to each other in person.
But somehow the anonymity of office is very nice to people on Twitter, either to your boss. The man in the White House isn't always very nice to people on Twitter either, though.
That's true. And, you know, and we still hear we still hear from a lot of people that we encounter, that they really enjoy the president's Twitter feed and they really like the guy because they view him as somebody who says out loud or tweets about it, as the case may be exactly what folks are thinking in their own minds. So but, you know, I think everybody knows Donald Trump is who he is. And I don't think at this point in his life there's there's any sense in people asking the question of, you know, is he going to change his approach?
And this is who he was in 2016 and the American people elected him president. And I don't think there's any reason for him to even think about changing. So, Brian, Tim was talking about there the world of social media, and that was so important during the 2016 election, and that's something that we're going to dive into a little bit more next week on the podcast.
Absolutely. A huge issue, whether it's Twitter being hacked. Donald Trump's tweets, Twitter flagging, Donald Trump's tweets, Facebook, Russian bots. There's so many question marks. So the drama and so much concern about social media, much of it fed by four years ago, 2016, big concerns about the manipulation of social media. It's become even bigger, of course, in the last four years. It's a huge, huge election issue once again here in the U.S. in 2020.
And it's something we're going to be looking at on next week's show.
Yeah, I look back a little refresher on what happens in 2016 and the worries coming in to 2020. Chattier then, Brian. Thanks, Jacki.
Chat to you then. Bye bye.