Trump on Covid death toll: 'It is what it is'

Yolanda Curtis
August 4, 2020

Trump's comments about the US death toll fall squarely under the White House's reported strategy of hoping Americans will simply grow numb to the crisis as the November elections draw near.

Medical workers take in patients outside a special coronavirus area at Maimonides Medical Center on May 13, 2020 in the Borough Park neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Swan said it's "surely relevant" to compare deaths to a country's population, noting that South Korea has a population of 51 million but only 300 deaths from coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room Monday, Trump stated that "the virus is receding" and said that they've seen "slow improvements" in hot spots across the South and the West, singling out Arizona, Texas and Florida.

Trump said he is personally involved in negotiations with Congress, but he dismissed the idea that he should be meeting personally with "Crazy Nancy" Pelosi to break the logjam.

"Her boyfriend died in jail and people are still trying to figure out how did it happen? I don't know. I don't know John Lewis", Trump said.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., Sunday, July 19, 2020, in Atlanta. "I think he made a big mistake".

Lewis, a progressive Democrat, received widespread praise from both sides of the aisle after his passing for his role in the civil rights movement.

Between the lines: Lewis had made it clear what he thought of Trump. Jonathan Swan of the Axios media outlet asked Trump in the interview aired on Monday.

"I don't know. I really don't know. I don't know John Lewis".

Lewis said that he did not believe Trump was a "legitimate president" at the time of Trump's inauguration, alleging that that "the Russians participated in helping this man get elected".

In the interview, which was recorded last week, Swan rephrased the question: "Do you find him impressive?"

"I can't say one way or the other", Trump said. I've talked to your people. He chose not to come to my inauguration.

"John Lewis is lying in state at the U.S. Capitol".

And in the documentary "John Lewis: Good Trouble", released shortly before his death, Lewis said, "My greatest fear is that one day we might wake up and our democracy is gone".

When pressed by Swan on whether he found Lewis's story impressive, Trump responded that Lewis "was a person that devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart to civil rights, but there were many others also".

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