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Trump Moves COVID-19 Goalposts To An Insane Standard — Says 100,000 U.S. Deaths Would Be ‘A Very Good Job’

History is not President Donald Trump’s strong suit — not even when it concerns words that came out of his own mouth.

Earlier this month, the president, perhaps in an attempt to quell criticisms of his administration’s dismal handling of the coronavirus crisis, used a similar situation from the Obama era to try and suggest he himself was doing a decent job. Trump explained that it was a “catastrophe” when 17,000 Americans had died from the Swine Flu (H1N1) under his predecessor’s watch.

Michael Vadon/Flickr

There were two problems with him making such comments:

  • First, the current president’s numbers were off — according to the CDC, 12,500 Americans died from that disease from 2009-10, a number that’s more than 25 percent lower than what Trump said it was.
  • Second, it was an apples-to-oranges comparison, in that Trump was comparing the beginning of his crisis to the end result of the crisis that happened under Obama’s watch.

But now there’s a third problem for Trump: his crisis is projected to have a substantially higher death rate than Obama’s had.

Such a situation would ordinarily humble other leaders, but not this president. Instead, Trump has moved his goalposts to make it appear as though a higher number of Americans dying is actually not that bad of a thing.

On Sunday, during a press conference at the White House, Trump recognized that as many as 100,000 Americans, perhaps more, could die due to the spread of coronavirus — equivalent to the number of people who live in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

But Trump didn’t show any signs of humility. Instead, he acted as though, if numbers stayed at around 100,000, it was no big deal.

“If we could hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 – it’s a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 [thousand] and 200,000 – we all together have done a very good job,” Trump said.

It’s unlikely that Americans overall would agree with those terms. That range — 100,000 to 200,000 — is approximately 33 and 66 times the number who died in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Trump used similar language, describing his work as a “good job,” just a few weeks ago, when there wasn’t even a death count to speak of in the nation. In late February, there were only 15 cases of coronavirus reported in the U.S. Trump claimed that number would be “going to be down to close to zero” within a matter of days. “That’s a pretty good job we’ve done,” he said at the time, per reporting from MSNBC.

To recap: the job that Trump failed to deliver on, bringing coronavirus down to zero cases, was a “pretty good job.” Limiting the number of deaths under his watch to 100,000 or 200,000 Americans would be a “very good job.” But an event that happened under Obama’s watch, where 8 times fewer Americans perished, well, that was a “catastrophe.”



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