Trump is not 'kidding,' he's lying

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CNN's Jake Tapper reports.

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 1:01 PM
Updated: Jun 24, 2020 1:01 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.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 324537

Reported Deaths: 5594
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion44186858
Lake28094462
Allen18660301
Elkhart17663230
St. Joseph17256234
Hamilton13612170
Vanderburgh10028121
Tippecanoe896729
Porter855386
Johnson6718169
Hendricks6412158
Vigo625889
Monroe550450
Clark531078
Madison5239122
Delaware5075103
LaPorte481196
Kosciusko475941
Howard364177
Bartholomew335365
Warrick335372
Floyd329478
Wayne325678
Marshall311846
Cass303931
Grant287150
Hancock272957
Noble264946
Henry256437
Boone255054
Dubois245631
Dearborn228231
Jackson226334
Morgan221243
Gibson194926
Knox193021
Shelby192656
Clinton185421
DeKalb183932
Lawrence183849
Wabash172821
Adams172422
Miami170815
Daviess163145
Fayette153734
Steuben153414
Jasper151713
Montgomery149327
Harrison147624
LaGrange146131
Ripley145815
Whitley142314
Huntington133510
Decatur132543
Putnam131128
White131022
Wells130130
Clay130023
Randolph128121
Posey125816
Jefferson124116
Scott114520
Greene106053
Sullivan102716
Jay101913
Starke95022
Jennings90414
Spencer8908
Fulton87519
Perry85121
Fountain8228
Washington8127
Franklin73427
Carroll71913
Orange70028
Vermillion6607
Owen6468
Tipton60327
Parke6026
Newton57812
Rush5708
Blackford56612
Pike52719
Pulaski41815
Martin3705
Benton3643
Brown3574
Crawford3081
Union2782
Switzerland2655
Warren2562
Ohio2387
Unassigned0266

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