There is only one number Donald Trump wants to discuss.
Donald Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly boasted of the high ratings for his dishonest daily briefings on COVID-19. But he has spent almost no time consoling Americans after the loss of thousands of lives to the pandemic.
Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is currently the nation's deadliest disease, killing more people per day than any other cause. As of Thursday, the CDC reported more than 14,000 deaths had resulted from the virus in the United States.
However, Donald Trump has said little about the death toll. A review of his tweets since the first American coronavirus death was confirmed on Feb. 29 finds few mentions of those who have died from the disease.
On Wednesday, he told Americans that, unless they experienced a personal loss due to COVID-19, they should put the pandemic behind them as soon as it was over.
"Once we OPEN UP OUR GREAT COUNTRY, and it will be sooner rather than later, the horror of the Invisible Enemy, except for those that sadly lost a family member or friend, must be quickly forgotten," he urged. "Our Economy will BOOM, perhaps like never before!!!" Trump said.
On Thursday, he cited extreme right-wing media outlet One America News Networks, which has repeatedly pushed baseless conspiracies about the virus, claiming that a "model is now predicting far fewer deaths than the number shown in earlier models," thanks to "Social Distancing etc."
At his press conference on Thursday, Trump said: "It looks like we're at the lower end of the curve in terms of death, which is a terrible word, a terrible, dark word that we've experienced like nobody has ever seen before in this country. I mean, we have numbers that are terrible."
But, he claimed, "when you look at the lower prediction levels of 100-, lower prediction levels of 100-, 120,000 to 220,000 or, if we did nothing, up to 2.2 million people — we're looking at a much lower level than the level of — I hope than the level of 100,000."
By contrast, there is a subject that Trump has tweeted often about: how popular his daily press briefings are.
In a Friday morning tweet, Trump said, "Because the T.V. Ratings for the White House News Conference’s are the highest, the Opposition Party (Lamestream Media), the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats &, of course, the few remaining RINO'S, are doing everything in their power to disparage & end them."
On Thursday, he complained that the Wall Street Journal "always 'forgets' to mention that the ratings for the White House Press Briefings are 'through the roof.'"
On Wednesday, he bragged in a pair of tweets, "The Radical Left Democrats have gone absolutely crazy that I am doing daily Presidential News Conferences. They tried to shame the Fake News Media into not covering them, but that effort failed because the ratings are through the roof according to, of all sources, the Failing New York Times."
"'President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of 'The Bachelor.' Numbers are continuing to rise...'" he tweeted, cherrypicking phrases from an article published by the New York Times on March 25 in one of three tweets he posted on the topic on March 29.
Trump was also caught on camera during his March 6 tour of the CDC in Atlanta asking about the viewership for his Fox News town hall the night before.
After telling a Fox News reporter that the flu had killed 36,000 people last year, compared to just 240 total cases at the time of the coronavirus, he asked, "And how was the show last night? Did it get good ratings, by the way?"
When the reporter did not know the answer, Trump replied, "I heard it broke all ratings records, but maybe that's wrong. That's what they told me."
Trump does not appear to have tweeted any condolences to those whose lives have been lost — though he did wish British Prime Minister Boris Johnson a speedy recovery from COVID-19 on Thursday and tweeted in late March that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) recovery after he had tested negative for the disease was "great news."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.