After calling off Monday’s press conference and then changing his mind two hours later, Trump took to the podium to brag about the country’s “ambitious” coronavirus testing and progress in containing the disease (for the record, the U.S. ranks 41st in the world in testing per capita and is still seeing 2,000+ deaths EVERY day).
But before the president slipped out of the briefing, he made a notable change to the number of deaths he expects the U.S. to suffer during this crisis.
New York Magazine correspondent Olivia Nuzzi asked, “If an American President loses more Americans over the course of six weeks than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War, does he deserve to be re-elected?”
After a rambling response that never quite answered the question (typical), Trump noted, “If you look at what the original projections were, 2.2 million – we’re probably headed to 60,000, 70,000… we’ve made a lot of good decisions.”
The answer was striking for a number of reasons.
First, despite the fact that Trump said that “one death is too many,” him comparing our current number of deaths to the worst case scenario of 2.2 million deaths is an attempt to minimize just how bad things have become.
In a monumental moving-of-the-goalposts, it’s evident that the president’s strategy is to claim any number of deaths under 2.2 million as a win.
We’ve certainly come a long way from from Trump claiming that we had 15 cases that “within a couple days is going to be down close to zero.”
Additionally, Trump for the first time threw out a new number of projected deaths – 70,000.
This marks the first time since the White House’s projection of 60,000 deaths has been publicly revised upwards.
Sadly, it seems like this will not be the first revision of the president’s estimate. The U.S. has currently reported 56,647 deaths and will likely hit 60,000 by end of day Tuesday.
With the current pace of deaths and cases showing no signs of slowing down (despite the president’s claims), it is unclear just how bad things will get before they start to get better.
Vice President Pence said Monday that he hopes the American people are proud of the job the president has done with respect to the coronavirus.
Allow us to respond:
With nearly as many COVID-19 deaths as the entire Vietnam war and no sign of slowing down, there is nothing to be proud of from this administration.