The Brief: Trump's comment in a Jonathan Swan interview about Coronavirus deaths that "we're last, meaning we're first" was widely mocked and turned into a meme format.
Jonathan Swan’s “Axios on HBO” interview with President Donald Trump that aired on August 3 proved itself to be a meme goldmine, inspiring memes about Trump’s comment “it is what it is,” Swan’s reaction to certain moments, and Trump’s confusing statement “we’re last, meaning we’re first.”
After refusing to answer questions about the high death rate as a proportion of the population in the United States, Trump pulled up a chart and said “look here’s one right here…United States…you take the number of cases…look we’re last, meaning we’re first, we have the best…take a look again it’s cases…”
Even without additional commentary, the line is a joke in itself. After the interview aired, many viewers were left wondering “which episode of VEEP is this?” As clips went viral on Twitter, Reddit, and beyond, people started making memes out of Trump’s line and remarking on just how nonsensical it was.
"We're last. Meaning, we're first."
— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) August 4, 2020
The man who’s in charge of the nukes said “We’re last meaning we’re first” today so that’s very cool and super safe. pic.twitter.com/utWIyjemZ2
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) August 4, 2020
Trump did unintentionally come up with the perfect campaign slogan:
"[America] We're last! Meaning we're first." -Trump 2020
— LegalEagle (@LegalEagleDJ) August 4, 2020
'We're last, meaning we're first.'
Me convincing myself being the last single person in my friend group is a good thing… also our President about thousands of Americans dying. pic.twitter.com/zpN7jGp6nQ
— Marissa Fullford (@theEmptyChevy) August 4, 2020
Still thinking about the POTUS being given a jumbo-sized and simplified bar graph with four bars on a legal sized piece of paper for him to understand and dictate the talking point "see this, we're last, meaning we're first" in response to over 150K Americans dying.
— Bobby Matinee (@brentcarcher) August 4, 2020
On Reddit, meme-makers turned this moment into a meme format about situations in which having a low score actually means you’re winning. It also works as a nonsensical comment to represent flawed logic.
The line’s similarity to the catchphrase of Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights: “you ain’t first you’re last” didn’t go unnoticed.