The coronavirus pandemic is "under control as much as you can control it" in the United States, despite more than 150,000 deaths and large surges of new infections, President Donald Trump said in an interview airing Monday.
“They are dying, that's true," Trump said in the "Axios on HBO" interview, telling Axios' Jonathan Swan that "it is what it is."
That doesn't mean the administration isn't doing "everything we can," but coronavirus is a "horrible plague," he added.
Trump also suggested a positive picture of his administration's response to the pandemic, citing the ramp-ups in testing and treatment and in ventilator production. But at the same time, he told Swan that "you know there are those that say you can test too much," and insisted that "because we've done more tests, we have more cases."
Swan also pointed out to Trump that U.S. deaths are climbing, but Trump handed him a chart while insisting that the rates in the United States are "lower than the world."
Swan told him that he was talking about death "as a proportion of population," not as a "proportion of cases," and that shows how the United States' rates are worse than South Korea's and Germany's, but Trump told him "you can’t do that.”
“You’re not reporting it correctly, Jonathan,” Trump also said.
Also during the interview:
- Trump said he never got intelligence on his desk that Russians had paid Taliban soldiers a bounty for American deaths.
- He touted his administration's actions on behalf of African Americans, repeating his assertion that he's done more than possibly Abraham Lincoln.
- Trump said he did not know late civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis, but pointed out that "he chose not to come to my inauguration." He also could not say if he found Lewis impressive, and that even though he "devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart" to civil rights, "there were many others also."
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