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Monday, December 09, 2019

WATCH: Trump Takes Pandemic Victory Lap As Unchecked Surge Kills Thousands

Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

During the 2020 presidential election, Democratic nominee Joe Biden repeatedly slammed President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic — and Biden's messaging worked. Trump has been voted out of office, President-elect Biden won 306 electoral votes, and the former vice president defeated the incumbent by more than 7 million in the popular vote. Close to 300,000 American deaths have been reported due to COVID-19, though the real number is likely much higher and growing rapidly every day.

Regardless, Trump claimed, during a White House news conference on Tuesday, that his response to the pandemic was one of the greatest successes of his presidency.

Here are five of the wildest moments from that event.

1. Trump claimed that the 'numbers should skyrocket downward'

Trump, throughout the pandemic, has predicted that the number of Americans infected with COVID-19 would dramatically plummet. He was making that prediction back in March and April, and he once again made that prediction during his speech on Tuesday — insisting, "The numbers should skyrocket downward." It's quite possible that if the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and others are widely available in 2021 and huge numbers of Americans are vaccinated, the number of Americans being infected will go way down. But in the meantime, health experts warn, the pandemic is entering its worst period yet. According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the pandemic has killed more than 285,000 people in the U.S. so far. And hospitals are being overwhelmed all over the country.

2. Trump made a herd immunity argument

On Tuesday, Trump implied that the U.S. is achieving herd immunity with COVID-19, telling reporters, "You do have an immunity. You develop an immunity over a period of time. I hear we're close to 15%."

The idea with "herd immunity" is that if enough people are infected with a disease, it will be neutralized. But in fact, COVID-19 infections have been surging all over the U.S. in recent weeks. The pandemic has been getting worse in the U.S., not better. The New York Times has reported record numbers of deaths and infections. And the fact is, achieving immunity by widespread infection of the virus means extreme levels of avoidable suffering and death, all of which could be prevented with a better approach to fighting the disease.

3. Trump reiterated his claim that the U.S. has robust COVID-19 testing

One of Trump's bogus talking points has been that the U.S. has so many people testing positive for COVID-19 because it has such robust and widely available testing — and he reiterated that talking point on Tuesday, saying, "Tremendous progress has been made." But NPR's Rob Stein recently reported that testing is still inadequate in the U.S. According to Stein, "There are lots of different kinds of tests out there, and new ones getting authorized all the time. All that said, the U.S. still really doesn't have nearly enough tests. U.S. really needs millions of tests every day to get ahead of this virus. And this massive surge of infections that's going on right now is making things worse again. Long lines have started forming again around the country. Supplies are running short. And it's taking longer to get results."

4. Trump implied that parties violating CDC guidelines are OK because 'they're Christmas parties'

During the news conference, a reporter noted that at the White House, crowded parties are being held despite the fact that they are violating the social distancing guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And Trump told the reporter, "Well, they're Christmas parties." But CDC officials haven't said that Christmas parties are OK simply because they're Christmas parties — and the CDC has discouraged such gatherings.

5. Trump called for GOP legislators and judges to have the 'courage' to defy the election results

As decisive as Biden's election victory was, Trump continues to insist that he is the real winner — and at Tuesday's news conference, he argued that the U.S. could have a second term if enough Republican legislators and judges are brave him to reject the election results. Trump told reporters, "All you have to do is turn on your local television set, and you'll see what happened — with thousands of ballots coming out from under tables, with all of the terrible things you saw….. If somebody has the courage, I know who the next administration will be. And I'll tell you what, life will be much easier for this country because of what we've done (during the pandemic)."


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