“You’re asking the wrong question" – White House press secretary responds to what number of deaths would be considered a “success"

“You’re asking the wrong question" –  White House press secretary responds to what number of deaths would be considered a “success"
Source: Chris Kleponis

On Tuesday during a White House Press briefing, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked by a reporter what number of deaths the Trump Administration would consider as having “successfully defeated the pandemic.”

“We’re about to cross the 100,000 dead American milestone. By Election Day, what does the White House view as the number of dead Americans where you can say that you successfully defeated the pandemic? Is there a number?”

McEnany responded saying, “Every loss of life counts, we say 100,000 but like the president says one dead is something to be mourned … The president takes this very seriously which is why he lowered the flag 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 2.2 million people in the (United States) succumbing to the virus if we didn’t shut down the economy … To be under significantly that high mark, shows that the president did everything in his power and helped to make this number as low as humanely possible.”

When pressed further for a figure amount appealing to voters and their ability to assess the president’s response to the pandemic in November, McEnany responded, “I think you’re asking the wrong question.” And after some back and forth, she swiftly moved onto answering another reporter.

This comes amid confusion surrounding conflicting statements made by Trump on the severity of the outbreak and the continually shifting White House models. Recent criticism has also led to some declaring Trump’s reports on the coronavirus untrustworthy.

In late February, President Donald Trump assured the public that the virus would disappear all together, a statement that sparked criticism and ridicule in the following weeks as COVID-19 cases and deaths surged in the country. Trump declared a National Emergency on March 13 – two days after the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the virus a pandemic.

The US has had the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world since late March and as of May 27, the country has over 1.7 million cases and over 100,000 deaths.

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