Posts tagged with "Axios on HBO"

Kushner is flummoxed on interview questions about Trump’s racism

June 4, 2019

When you work for the family business, loyalty isn’t just a nicety; it’s a rigorous job requirement. So, we weren’t expecting any big reveals from presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner during his June 2 interview with National Political Reporter Jonathan Swan of Axios on HBO.

Indeed, when pressed by Swan about whether current POTUS, Donald Trump, could be characterized as a racist—judging by his no-holds-barred birther campaign against his predecessor Barack Obama—Kushner was briefly flummoxed, according to a report by The Washington Post.

Here’s a quick transcript, obtained from the news outlet:

SWAN: Have you ever seen him say or do anything that you would describe as racist or bigoted?

KUSHNER: So, the answer is un— uh, no. Absolutely not. You can’t not be a racist for 69 years, then run for president and be a racist. What I’ll say is that, when a lot of the Democrats call the president a racist, I think they’re doing a disservice to people who suffer because of real racism in this country.

SWAN: Was birtherism racist?

KUSHNER: Um, look I wasn’t really involved in that.

SWAN: I know you weren’t. Was it racist?

KUSHNER: Like I said, I wasn’t involved in that.

SWAN: I know you weren’t. Was it racist?

KUSHNER: I know who the president is, and I have not seen anything in him that is racist. So, again, I was not involved in that.

SWAN: Did you wish he didn’t do that?

KUSHNER: Like I said, I was not involved in that. That was a long time ago.

That’s 4-0, The Washington Post noted—Four instances in which Kushner emphasized that he hadn’t personally participated in Trump’s effort to question the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president, and zero instances in which he denied the entire effort was racist.

Kushner’s insistence that this “was a long time ago” is also pretty difficult to digest. For those who might have forgotten the 2016 campaign, Trump’s birtherism charge made a comeback and lingered for weeks before he eventually backed off — kind of, the news outlet said. But not before he had appealed repeatedly to his base.

Michelle Obama reserved some of the harshest words in her 2018 autobiography, Becoming, for this saga. “The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed,” she said. “But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks.”

According to the Post, “He showed the GOP base, much of which embraced the bogus theory, that he was willing to stick by a birther campaign that riled them up and drove the establishment crazy. It was the first big conspiracy theory of his conspiracy theory-laden political career.”

And that first big success has led to Trump’s more recent disparagement of Muslims, Gold Star parents, Hispanics, Haiti and Africa as “shXthole countries,” “people who were captured in the war,” and even Meghan Markle.

With that in mind, Jonathan Swan’s questions are effectively answered.

Research contact: @jonathanvswan

Live long and prosper: Americans want to exceed life expectancy, but age 100 may be pushing it

December 6, 2018

Most of us only want to reach a ripe old age only if our lives have not been diminished by mental or physical infirmity, a survey conducted on behalf of Axios on HBO among 3,222 U.S. adults has found.

Specifically, now that medicine and science are making it possible to hit age 90—or even 100—fully 48% of Americans say that, whether more would be merrier depends strictly on quality of life. While most Americans do want to exceed their average life expectancy—77 for men; 81 for women—they are not thrilled with the idea of struggling through that surplus time with a refrain of, “Oy, my back.

And these preferences do not change much as we age. Of respondents in the 18-34 age group, 53% cite quality of life as the main driver for reaching 100; while 47% of those in the 65+ age group say the same.

The poll, fielded by SurveyMonkey, finds that that we all want to be sure we can live independently and won’t be in constant pain.

Among the key findings:

  • Almost seven out of 10 men want to live past their average life expectancy; as would 57% of women.
  • But nearly half of Americans, when asked if they’d like to live past 100, said it depends how much pain they’re in or whether they’d be able to live independently.
  • Nearly three out of 10 say they’re not interested in living past 100, while 22% say they’re open to it.
  • Seniors—people 65 and older—are both the most interested in living past the average life expectancy and the least interested in living beyond 100.

The bottom line, Axios saysQuality of life is important, too. So get over yourself, science.

Research contact: david@axios.com