Donald Trump sat down with news outlet Axios for an extensive interview that aired on HBO. During the exchange with White House reporter Jonathan Swan, the impeached president made some concerning claims. This included a statement that the death toll from the coronavirus is not what it seems.

“It is what it is,” Trump said when responding to Swan’s comment that the coronavirus was taking the lives of 1,000 Americans a day. From the onset of the discussion, Trump was focused on downplaying the severity of the infection rates throughout the United States. He was adamant that the numbers reflect the amount of testing that the country has done, and it has less to do with our control over the virus. According to Trump, the pandemic is under control. “It’s under control as much as you can control it,” Trump said.

Testing has been a large focus for Trump who continues to repeat during every interview and most White House briefings that the United States tests more than any other country. Trump also believes that if there were no testing, there would be no new cases, that testing is actually causing the coronavirus counts to rise, not the actual spread. But as Swan points out, rates of death are not going down. 

Trump attempted to counter that factual argument by saying coronavirus death rates are going down.“It’s going down in Arizona, it’s going down in Florida, it’s going down in Texas,” he claimed, ignoring the death tolls for the country as a whole. He also showed Swan a chart that was representative of the U.S.’s COVID-19 death rate in proportion to the number of cases, and said, “We’re last, meaning we’re first, we have the best.”

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Swan reiterates, “A thousand Americans are dying a day.” That’s when Trump says to Swan, “No, but you’re not reporting it correctly Jonathan.”

To date, more than 155,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the United States. Nearly 5 million have been infected. According to the data collected by APM Research Lab, Black and Indigenous Americans experience the highest death tolls from COVID-19.

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