President Donald Trump said the United States’ staggering death toll from coronavirus "is what it is" in a new interview, again giving his administration credit for its response despite ongoing surges in new cases and a human toll that far outpaces that of any other nation.
When confronted with the US’ daily death toll and Trump’s messaging on the pandemic during an interview with Axios on HBO that aired Monday night, the President grew defensive and appeared frustrated by Jonathan Swan’s questions about the crisis.
"I’ve gone to your rallies. I’ve talked to your people. They love you. They listen to you. They listen to every word you say. They hang on your every word," Swan said. "And so when they hear you say, ‘everything’s under control. Don’t worry about wearing masks,’ I mean, these are people — many of them are older people."
"Well, what’s your definition of control?" Trump replied, adding: "I think it’s under control."
"How? A thousand Americans are dying a day," Swan said.
"They are dying. That’s true. And you — it is what it is," Trump said emphatically. "But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it."
Trump has frequently defended his administration’s performance to the pandemic but rarely expresses grief for the victims. When the US surged past 100,000 confirmed deaths in late May — after weeks of Trump projecting a toll well short of that mark — the President declined to make a public statement until the next day, tweeting about the victims amid a morning tweetstorm of insults and grievances.
When pressed on the US death toll in the Axios interview, Trump repeatedly pointed to the proportion of deaths to confirmed coronavirus cases, rather than the proportion of deaths to the US population, a figure that is arguably more telling of the state of the pandemic in the country given that the US has less than 5% of the world’s population but around 25% of global deaths from Covid-19.
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