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Trump is not 'kidding,' he's lying

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CNN's Jake Tapper reports.

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 12:01 PM
Updated: Jun 24, 2020 12:01 PM

President Donald Trump paused to strafe the country with lies once again Tuesday morning, before climbing aboard a helicopter for a series of campaign events in Arizona, including another life-endangering crowded campaign rally.

On the White House lawn, Trump clarified one of the most outrageous statements from Saturday's Tulsa rally, when he told admirers who risked infection to see him that the number of coronavirus cases in the United States is climbing because the US is testing more people. Therefore, Trump said he told his people to "slow the testing down please."

Because testing saves lives, his staff rushed to clean up the mess, with multiple officials claiming Trump was joking. But on Tuesday, when asked about his comments, the President declared, "I don't kid." With that, Trump crushed the credibility of his loyal staff, leaving them for roadkill on the littered personnel path of this presidency. Just Monday, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany had repeatedly denied Trump ordered a slowdown in testing, repeating that the comment was made in jest, something Trump's trade adviser Peter Navarro and others had maintained. Now we have further confirmation, from the President, that we cannot believe what they tell us.

But that's barely remarkable. What stands out from Trump's pre-chopper presser is his increasingly determined effort to lie to the American people about what is happening with the pandemic in the United States.

That's where his false claim that the testing is the reason for the higher numbers comes in.

Testing -- as CNN Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained in response to the lies in an op-ed by Vice President Mike Pence -- actually helps bring the numbers (and the deaths) down. "If you are doing enough testing," Gupta tweeted, "cases should start going down because you are finding people early before they spread it." Some places that are testing more are having fewer cases, and vice versa.

Again, testing saves lives. Trump has claimed it's a "double-edged sword." But there is no second edge, no harm in testing, except as Trump seemingly perceives it, to his reelection chances.

What Trump is trying to do is convince the public that the continuing disaster that is his handling of the crisis is not really happening. Don't look at the growing number of cases and deaths, he's telling us; it's a mirage. Everything's okay.

But as the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, said on Tuesday during a House hearing on Trump's response to the coronavirus, "We're going to probably spend close to $7 trillion because of one little virus."

Covid-19, he said, "brought this nation to its knees." And it's not over.

Trump apparently believes that fewer tests will help create the illusion of the opposite. If more people die, so be it. That's the same tactic driving the careless economic reopening he cheers, and the return to his dangerous rallies, which may have already sickened several of his own staff.

It's all reminiscent of what former National Security Adviser John Bolton said about Trump's foreign policy in a recent interview with ABC News. "There really isn't any guiding principle," Bolton said, "other than what's good for Donald Trump's reelection."

As the November election draws closer, Trump's handling of the virus is increasingly driven more by a calculation of Trump's political benefit than the welfare of the American people.

Most Americans agree that Trump did a lousy job in the early stages of the pandemic. For a time, he listened to the experts. But with the White House coronavirus task force taking a backseat, listening to experts seems to be over now -- especially because the election is little more than four months away.

Tuesday morning he claimed that, "The reason we have more cases than other countries is because our testing is so much." False. America is testing a smaller share of its population than many other countries.

Trump said, "We have a very low mortality rate, just about the best in the world." The US has one of the world's highest rates of Covid-19 deaths as a share of its population. Above all, Trump, always feeling sorry for himself, wants you to believe that, "We are doing a great job. We have never been credited for it."

These are lies, damn lies, and Trump's efforts to deceive the American people and the world about a public health catastrophe. The United States has the world's highest number of cases and deaths from Covid-19, twice as many as the second worst-afflicted nation, Brazil.

When it comes to new deaths from Coronavirus -- not tests or diagnoses, deaths -- the US is performing dismally. Other rich countries have brought the curve down.

The US has not. In fact, the country doesn't compare particularly well to poorer nations that are struggling to contain the virus without the abundance of resources of what Trump called "the world's greatest economy," before the pandemic struck.

Trump wants Americans to believe the problem is over; he did a great job solving it, and we can start getting back to normal. Tragically, many Republican governors are following his lead, ignoring the recommendations of government experts, which is leading to more deaths.

More than half the states in the Union are seeing new spikes in the number of cases.

Hospitalizations are climbing, deaths are projected to increase, and the President is lying about it for a perceived personal political benefit. The strategy may well backfire -- it has so far, as the polls show -- but he has not relented.

Trump didn't cause the coronavirus, but in his efforts to protect his political interests, he is lying to the American people and prompting individuals and politicians to act irresponsibly. Trump's clumsy manipulation of the facts may lead more Americans to their deaths.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312969

Reported Deaths: 3637
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin661641115
Ramsey27766505
Anoka22149228
Dakota22015190
Washington13999115
Stearns13733116
St. Louis8747112
Scott846255
Wright775843
Olmsted665634
Sherburne587641
Clay498457
Carver474213
Blue Earth414116
Rice412836
Kandiyohi408122
Crow Wing359634
Otter Tail314322
Chisago311611
Nobles308730
Benton299451
Winona276930
Mower261623
Douglas260337
Polk256324
Morrison231629
Lyon218711
Beltrami217117
McLeod212812
Becker205415
Goodhue203228
Steele19497
Isanti190617
Itasca190423
Carlton185816
Todd181214
Nicollet162525
Mille Lacs153631
Freeborn15336
Le Sueur147011
Cass143710
Brown141315
Waseca139211
Pine13658
Meeker12879
Roseau11964
Hubbard114925
Martin113320
Wabasha10561
Redwood94619
Chippewa8877
Cottonwood8664
Renville86527
Dodge8600
Watonwan8544
Wadena8016
Sibley7934
Rock7779
Aitkin76730
Pipestone72518
Fillmore6990
Houston6984
Yellow Medicine64812
Pennington6478
Kanabec61913
Murray5873
Swift5838
Faribault5612
Pope5391
Clearwater5248
Stevens5103
Marshall4979
Unassigned49359
Jackson4881
Lake4226
Koochiching3926
Wilkin3895
Lac qui Parle3773
Lincoln3591
Norman3497
Big Stone3182
Mahnomen2964
Grant2796
Kittson2248
Red Lake2133
Traverse1481
Lake of the Woods1001
Cook720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 227398

Reported Deaths: 2368
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33642336
Linn14352165
Scott1124986
Black Hawk10893135
Woodbury10372126
Johnson955336
Dubuque923291
Story678822
Dallas637257
Pottawattamie631970
Sioux370325
Webster358535
Cerro Gordo357144
Marshall348546
Clinton331344
Buena Vista305414
Des Moines291520
Muscatine289268
Warren281914
Plymouth276042
Wapello255772
Jones232313
Jasper217944
Marion205320
Lee203917
Carroll198422
Bremer195212
Henry18307
Crawford174616
Benton170619
Tama154340
Jackson144613
Delaware144221
Washington141314
Dickinson139210
Boone137011
Mahaska126827
Wright12456
Clay11784
Buchanan117010
Hardin115810
Page11374
Hamilton11199
Clayton11175
Cedar108413
Harrison107729
Kossuth10667
Calhoun10617
Floyd105016
Mills10487
Fayette103910
Lyon10338
Butler10216
Poweshiek99313
Winneshiek97613
Iowa95812
Winnebago93023
Hancock8677
Grundy86311
Louisa86216
Sac8608
Chickasaw8574
Cherokee8484
Allamakee81811
Cass81623
Mitchell7984
Appanoose79312
Humboldt7715
Union7706
Shelby76511
Emmet76424
Guthrie75415
Franklin73921
Jefferson7142
Madison6864
Unassigned6690
Palo Alto6554
Keokuk5997
Howard5599
Pocahontas5584
Greene5250
Osceola5241
Ida48913
Clarke4874
Davis4709
Taylor4653
Montgomery46311
Monroe44412
Adair4418
Monona4352
Worth3630
Fremont3583
Van Buren3585
Lucas3256
Decatur3170
Wayne3007
Audubon2962
Ringgold2112
Adams1702
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