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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: 612701

Reported Deaths: 7761
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1270801803
Ramsey53350911
Dakota47466477
Anoka43482465
Washington27810296
Stearns22764227
St. Louis18353320
Scott17763139
Wright16615153
Olmsted13587104
Sherburne1218596
Carver1080349
Clay830792
Rice8300112
Blue Earth772844
Crow Wing691799
Kandiyohi673185
Chisago629955
Otter Tail592687
Benton588298
Goodhue487674
Douglas480881
Mower478834
Winona466452
Itasca463968
Isanti447567
McLeod436661
Morrison429562
Beltrami411863
Nobles411750
Steele401819
Polk391372
Becker390057
Lyon366454
Carlton357158
Freeborn353634
Pine338123
Nicollet335145
Mille Lacs316856
Brown309340
Le Sueur301228
Todd289633
Cass289133
Meeker267644
Waseca241823
Martin237633
Roseau212921
Wabasha20883
Hubbard198941
Dodge19173
Renville184246
Redwood178941
Houston176516
Cottonwood168224
Wadena165323
Fillmore160510
Faribault157820
Chippewa154438
Pennington154120
Kanabec148128
Sibley147710
Aitkin140237
Watonwan13629
Rock129919
Jackson123212
Pipestone117326
Yellow Medicine115620
Pope11416
Murray107710
Swift107718
Koochiching96919
Stevens92711
Clearwater89517
Marshall89017
Lake85121
Wilkin84613
Lac qui Parle76222
Big Stone6134
Grant5958
Lincoln5873
Mahnomen5669
Norman5519
Kittson49222
Unassigned49093
Red Lake4037
Traverse3835
Lake of the Woods3504
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk59215646
Linn21567342
Scott20530250
Black Hawk16850320
Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
Dubuque13627215
Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
Story1092548
Warren594392
Clinton565894
Cerro Gordo564898
Webster546397
Sioux520574
Muscatine4956106
Marshall493679
Des Moines481776
Jasper454273
Wapello4402124
Buena Vista432340
Plymouth405782
Lee396958
Marion372378
Henry301737
Jones301357
Bremer294663
Carroll287252
Boone273735
Crawford273541
Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
Buchanan197834
Page195722
Cedar194323
Hardin192544
Wright191240
Hamilton189251
Fayette188943
Harrison182873
Clayton173258
Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
Cherokee162238
Lyon161241
Poweshiek159836
Allamakee156452
Hancock154034
Iowa149124
Winnebago147031
Calhoun144813
Cass142155
Grundy139733
Emmet137341
Jefferson135535
Sac133320
Shelby132238
Louisa130749
Union129535
Franklin129223
Appanoose128749
Mitchell127343
Chickasaw126017
Humboldt126026
Guthrie125332
Palo Alto115224
Montgomery106938
Howard105522
Clarke102624
Monroe101533
Keokuk100432
Ida93735
Adair90132
Davis88525
Pocahontas87022
Monona86731
Greene80011
Osceola79517
Lucas78323
Worth7648
Taylor67112
Decatur6649
Fremont64910
Van Buren57318
Ringgold57124
Wayne56623
Audubon53613
Adams3504
Unassigned80
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