As the United Stated tops 200,000 lives lost to COVID-19, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany suggested Tuesday that the fact that 2 million people haven’t died due to coronavirus is worth celebrating.
“We were looking at the prospect of 2 million people potentially perishing from the coronavirus in this country,” McEnany told reporters when asked about the President’s response to the grim milestone during a press briefing. “We grieve when even one life is lost — the fact that we have come nowhere near that number is a testament to this president taking immediate action.”
When pressed by multiple reporters on the President’s silence amid reports of the nation’s COVID-19 death toll milestone, she referred them to Trump’s past remarks.
“He has said before it keeps him up at night,” McEnany said.
The United States has continued to exceed all other nations with its staggering death toll, even as the President suggested earlier this month that the United States had “rounded the final turn” in its fight against the coronavirus. Those comments contradicted the wisdom of public health experts, like infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci who warned that Americans need to “hunker down” in the colder months. He called a review of nationwide statistics earlier this month revealing that new cases of infection were plateauing at 40,000 daily, and reports of roughly 1,000 deaths per day, “disturbing.”
McEnany also recycled a tired defense for the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19, saying the President took “immediate action” by banning travel from China — a victory that is now six months old but seems to remain the crowning victory of the administration. The ban has been repeatedly used by the press secretary as a catch-all defense for the President’s many other failures in leadership amid the pandemic.
The press secretary also appeared to discount documented interviews where the President can be heard telling investigative journalist Bob Woodward that even though he knew the coronavirus was “deadly stuff” he was purposely “playing it down” — and effectively misleading the American public.
“The President never downplayed critical health information,” McEnany said in what can only be called an about-face when asked why the President has repeatedly misled the public about the deadliness of coronavirus.
On Monday, the President continued that narrative at a rally in Swanton, Ohio, suggesting that the coronavirus affected “affects virtually nobody.” He was referring mostly to young people.
Hours later, Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta during an interview early Tuesday that it was “unacceptable” not to acknowledge that the United States is entering a new “risk period” with the virus.
“It’s unacceptable to not realize that we are entering into a risk period,” Fauci said, adding that the threat of coronavirus needs to be taken more seriously.