Through Creative Accounting, Trump Tries to Cast America's Death Toll as an Achievement - 2020-05-03
In a week where the number of Americans killed by Covid-19 passed 66,000, Donald Trump assured us that this death toll, looked at from the right angle, is really proof of how great he is at his job. Asked on Thursday to account for his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner's description of the federal government's chaotic response to the coronavirus pandemic as "a great success story" that "needs to be told," the president said that he agreed. "We've solved every problem," he claimed. "We solved it quickly." "I don't think anybody has done a better job — with testing, with ventilators, with all of the things that we've done," Trump added. "And our death totals, our numbers per million people, are really very, very strong. We're very proud of the job we've done."
Trump today: "Our death totals, our numbers, per million people, are really very, very strong. We're very proud of the job we've done." Via CSPAN pic.twitter.com/gOi7DIJIQX — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 30, 2020
Trump's strange boast about the "very, very strong" death toll puzzled many viewers, but it helps to know that, for weeks, the president and his senior medical adviser, Dr. Deborah Birx, have been urging Americans to consider that, on a per capita basis, the U.S. mortality rate is lower than that of several of the worst-hit countries in Western Europe. On April 10, for instance, Trump asserted that "we've kept our fatality rate very, very low compared to other countries." Later in the same briefing, Birx said that he was right. "As the President noted, our mortality in the United States is significantly less than many of the other countries when you correct them for our population."