On Tuesday, a reporter for Politico tried to paint President Trump into a corner, trying to have White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany offer a number of “dead Americans” voters “should tolerate” when they “go to the polls in November.” McEnany flattened him after she gave one answer and he then repeated the question, saying to him, “I answered your question once, but if you ask it twice it doesn’t make it any better of a question.” She also pointed out, “Dr. (Deborah) Birx said it best when she said that in their estimates they had anywhere between 1.5 and 2 million people in the U.S. succumbing to the virus if we didn’t shut down the economy,” adding, “Closing down the economy for this amount of time kept us far below the 2.2 million number.”
Ryan Lizza of Politico triggered McEnany’s response by asking, “What does the White House view, as having by Election Day, what does the White House view as the number of dead Americans where you can say that you successfully defeated this pandemic? Is there a number?”
Yeah, you know, every loss of life counts. We say 100,000, but like the president says, one death is something to be mourned. These 100,000 individuals have a face; the president takes this very seriously; it’s why he lowered the flag to half-staff for three days to remember these men and women. I think Dr. Birx said it best when she said that in their estimates they had anywhere between 1.5 and 2 million people in the U.S. succumbing to the virus if we didn’t shut down the economy.
The president made the very hard choice of shutting down the economy so we avoided that extraordinary number. One death is too many; we never want to see a single individual lose their life, but that being said, to be under significantly that high mark shows that the president did everything in his power and help to make this number as low as humanly possible.
Lizza repeated, “When voters go to the polls in November, and they want to judge the president on his response to this pandemic, what is the number of dead Americans that they should tolerate where they can argue that yes, he successfully defeated the pandemic?”
McEnany fired back, “I think you’re asking the wrong question. The right question is where did the data —”
Lizza interrupted, prompting McEnany to say bluntly, “I answered your question once, but if you ask it twice it doesn’t make it any better of a question so I’ll respond in kind. I’ve given you one answer; I’ll continue to extrapolate upon that, that he always listened to the science. The president, when Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx said, ‘You need to shut down the economy,’ that was hard for the president.”
She continued, “You know, in a typical year, 120,000 people die of suicide and drug overdose. That’s in a typical year. And doctors have said when you shut down an economy for an extended period of time that number gets greater. People don’t show up for their cancer diagnoses. There are a litany of results when you close down an economy, but closing down the economy for this amount of time kept us far below the 2.2 million number. As we start to reopen we keep in mind the people who are missing their screening appointments; the people who are succumbing to suicide and drug overdose because of economic hardship.”
McEnany concluded. “This president made the right choice; it was a delicate balance and he did it as exactly as he should guided by data, and we are far below 2.2 million dead Americans because of the actions of President Trump.”
A reporter just repeatedly asked how many "dead Americans" we should "tolerate"?
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) May 26, 2020
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