Everyone should know by now that Jonathan Swan can outsmart practically anyone in the interview room.
He does his research ahead of time and prepares questions that are difficult to dodge.
That didn't stop Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, however, from thinking he could somehow come out of his interview with Swan unscathed.
At the beginning of their interview, Swan wasted no time with niceties.
You can view the video here:
.@tedcruz: "I'm very worried about the debt...Now, to be fair, Trump didn't campaign on cutting the debt."… https://t.co/dHiCfXg3tM— Axios (@Axios)1603708200.0
Swan led with:
"Mick Mulvaney had a great quote. He said, you know, the deficit's the worst thing in the world when Barack Obama's President. But Donald Trump came in, and, you know, we're not so worried about that anymore. He's right, isn't he?"
Cruz tried to express his emotional stake in the matter.
"So look, I'm very worried about the debt. And I'm worried about it under Trump."
But he wound up blocking himself into a corner.
"Now, to be fair, Trump didn't campaign on cutting the debt."
And Swan wasn't about to let that slide.
"He did. He said he was going to eliminate the national debt in 8 years."
Cruz quickly fumbled a reply together:
"He also said something, what was it, 'I'm the King of Debt,' in 2016."
Swan, looking concerned, simply replied:
As so many in the Trump presidency have before him, Cruz fell into the trap of stating the opposite of something Trump had actually done during his campaign or presidency—in this case, promising to cut the debt. Though it has not been the primary focus of his presidency, it was repeatedly promised during the initial Trump campaign.
There's also the issue in Cruz's argument after Swan called him out about Trump's promise.
The root of the problem with Cruz's reply was the intent behind Trump calling himself "The King of Debt." Trump meant it as a sort of promise, meaning that he was so familiar with the ins and outs of finances, he could bring the nation out of debt in 8 years.
Cruz instead gave the statement empathetic implications, suggesting Trump understood debt in a similar way to the citizens he was protecting. Swan didn't seem too convinced by those implications and neither did the Twitter community.
After the video appeared online, the comments included being a little distracted by the room's decor...
@axios @gtconway3d @tedcruz @jonathanvswan @DCTVny @HBODocs Cosplay Wolverine is pathetic. As an aside... WTF is th… https://t.co/PyAwUJMl1p— Jo (@Jo)1603711837.0
...but many Twitter users were ready to discuss Jonathan Swan's interviewing abilities.
@axios @tedcruz @jonathanvswan @DCTVny @HBODocs Why would people agree to interview with @jonathanvswan when they k… https://t.co/mGUzvRAqc4— Side-EyePrincess😒 (@Side-EyePrincess😒)1603710029.0
@axios @tedcruz @jonathanvswan @DCTVny @HBODocs I don't understand why members of the @GOP continue to agree to… https://t.co/tbAw9CVuv3— InTheShadows (@InTheShadows)1603746541.0
@axios @tedcruz @jonathanvswan @DCTVny @HBODocs few months later and @jonathanvswan's faces are still everything 😂 https://t.co/37fsoNrnPZ— Chloé; 💫 (@Chloé; 💫)1603714053.0
Not to mention calling out Cruz's take-back.
@kpweaver27 @axios @tedcruz @jonathanvswan @DCTVny @HBODocs Let's say "king of debt" isn't a meaningless phrase, wh… https://t.co/1ms052AGeR— Nick Garcia (@Nick Garcia)1603743241.0
@axios @jonathanvswan @DCTVny @HBODocs - How can Cruz vote for a massive tax cut and then say he's concerned about… https://t.co/VkxyZ3hR70— Striker Titan (@Striker Titan)1603723735.0
@ForTruism @axios @tedcruz @jonathanvswan @DCTVny @HBODocs @SenTedCruz @JoeBiden What can you expect from a guy who… https://t.co/oWGKRXgeIv— doug half (@doug half)1603723996.0
Some felt Cruz's take-back implied the clearing of debt was a promise made that the President hoped the American people would just somehow... forget.
@5Waldos @axios @gtconway3d @tedcruz @jonathanvswan @DCTVny @HBODocs Exactly, they're preparing for a Biden win. Th… https://t.co/yEeMn36zJy— Matt Plotner🎃🦇Vampire Hunter (@Matt Plotner🎃🦇Vampire Hunter)1603716171.0
@AnneUnit17 @axios @tedcruz @jonathanvswan @DCTVny @HBODocs The US public must know by now, the GOP has always, inc… https://t.co/n1HCIU3yNy— ourpen (@ourpen)1603751481.0
@axios @tedcruz @jonathanvswan @DCTVny @HBODocs Called it. GOP hand-wringing about the national debt & budget defic… https://t.co/fRBQUPGTxh— M.A.D. (@M.A.D.)1603721013.0
It's too bad more interviews weren't so pointedly critical. In having these facts and quotes ready to go, Swan placed Cruz in a corner very quickly.
Whether that will teach the Senator to keep his stories straight—or just tell the truth from now on—is hard to say.