White House Walks Back Declaration Of COVID Victory: ‘That Was Poorly Worded’

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 05: A member of the White House cleaning staff sanitizes the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump, several members of his staf... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 05: A member of the White House cleaning staff sanitizes the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump, several members of his staff, and three members of the press corps have recently tested positive for coronavirus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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October 28, 2020 3:01 p.m.
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White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah said on Wednesday that the Science and Technology Policy Office had chosen its words poorly when it suggested in a news release on Tuesday that among President Donald Trump’s top achievements during his first term was “ending the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

When asked during a Fox News interview on Wednesday whether the Trump administration believed the baffling claim that the virus has been defeated, Farah replied: “No absolutely not.” 

Yet the communications official declined to acknowledge outright that the statement was false.

“I think that was poorly worded,”  Farah said of the press release, which announced in very plain language the issuing of a document touting victory over the coronavirus pandemic as one of Trump’s biggest accomplishments.

“The intent was to say it is our goal to end the virus,” Farah added, in a complete reframing of the wildly false statement.

While she acknowledged to Fox News’ Sandra Smith on Wednesday that cases “are still rising” and urged the American public to “remain vigilant,” Farah also doubled down on a dangerously misleading assessment by President Trump that the nation is “rounding the corner” on COVID-19 — a claim that she repeated throughout the interview in an apparent contradiction of earlier statements on rising cases.

The “rounding the corner” assertion, which has become a new Trump favorite at rallies, is a far cry from reality as the nation broke records for the number of new infections reported in a single day on Thursday — 77,000 — and then topped that record for a second day in a row on Friday with a record-shattering roughly 83,000 new cases.

Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Adm. Brett Giroir seemed to contradict the White House narrative of any turns being rounded on the unchecked pandemic, suggesting during a “Today” Show interview on Wednesday morning that “cases are actually going up, and we know that too because hospitalizations are going up.”

“Those are real,” Giroir said. “And we do know deaths are increasing, unfortunately.”

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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