Axios: President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.
Devastating video shows full extent of US President's mental deterioration. Trump presents as a man in decline, unable to absorb basic facts about the deadly pandemic ravaging the nation, being spoon-fed information in simplistic kindergarten-level charts https://t.co/M40D1I33O1— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) August 4, 2020
- “They are dying, that’s true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios’ Jonathan Swan.
Reality check: The U.S. is averaging roughly 65,000 new cases and 1,000 deaths per day. The virus has already killed nearly 150,000 Americans, and it spread largely unchecked through almost the entire country throughout June and July.
The big picture: In the interview, which took place last Tuesday, Trump returned to familiar themes and areas where the U.S. really has made significant progress. He cited the dramatic increase in ventilator production, the ramp-up in testing and treatment that has reduced the overall fatality rate from the virus.
Trump is clearly not all there. No matter what you call it, dementia, narcissism, syphilitic brain disease, he's not all there. https://t.co/Q1xA7vT9XC— 🖕🏻Aunt Crabby calls Bullshit 🖕🏻 (@DearAuntCrabby) August 4, 2020
- Yes, but: He painted a far rosier picture of the pandemic than most data would support.
On testing, Trump said, “You know there are those that say you can test too much” — a view that no experts have advocated.
- The U.S. is experiencing long turnaround times for coronavirus testing, as Trump acknowledged, because of the high demand for testing. But that is largely a function of the country’s high caseload and the number of people at risk of infection.
He also returned to his mantra that “because we’ve done more tests, we have more cases.”
- The cases the U.S. has, we would have had with or without testing. We know we have them because of testing, but the massive outbreak here would be a massive outbreak whether we chose to know about it (through testing) or ignore it by not testing.
Trump also seemed to suggest that he did not trust South Korea’s coronavirus data, when pressed on that country’s more successful coronavirus response.
- There have been no serious allegations, from experts, international authorities or the U.S., that South Korea’s numbers are inaccurate.
Daily Beast: It’s sometimes hard to determine whether President Trump is being willfully misleading or if he truly believes what he’s saying. But an astonishing interview clip from Axios appears to show that Trump has genuinely managed to convince himself that his response to the coronavirus pandemic has been effective—because he only considers partial and deceptively flattering statistics to be true.
Brandishing childishly simplistic, brightly colored COVID-19 graphs presumably provided to him by aides trying to keep him happy, Trump proudly tells Axios’ Jonathan Swan that the U.S. is “lower than the world,” without elaborating.
When Swan looks at the chart, it becomes clear Trump is only considering death as a proportion of coronavirus cases—not as a proportion of population, which shows the U.S. is faring very badly. Trump snaps back: “You can’t do that.” Holding out his charts, he goes on: “You have to go by where… look, here is the United States… You have to go by the cases.” Asked why South Korea has lower deaths by population, Trump hints that he believes the country is faking its stats, without providing any evidence to support himself.