Trump embroiled in jaw-dropping argument over coronavirus testing

‘We’re lower than the world’: Trump becomes embroiled in argument over COVID-19 testing during new interview and insists his death rate figures prove the US is handling the virus better than other nations

  • The interview with President Trump aired Monday in HBO’s series AXIOS on HBO
  • Trump is interviewed by AXIOS national political correspondent Jonathan Swan
  • They go head-to-head over coronavirus statistics with Trump stating that the US is ‘lower than the world’ in some categories
  • Swan appears to be confused by this claim until he realizes that they’re talking about different sets of statistics 
  • At one point, Trump appears to question whether South Korea is fully reporting it’s number of coronavirus-related deaths
  • Swan is shocked by this claim, but Trump says he ‘won’t get into that’  
  • They then argue over claims that the number of coronavirus infections is lower 

Donald Trump has declared that the US was ‘lower than the world’ regarding coronavirus data, before suggesting South Korea’s figures were so low because they are faking their statistics.

In a sit down interview with AXIOS’s Jonathan Swan on Monday, the president handed the reporter a series of charts and graphs to illustrate that America is ‘lower than the world’ for Covid-19.

A confused Swan clarifies he was asking about death as a proportion of population, not death as a proportion of cases.

‘That’s where the U.S. is really bad,’ the reporter said of the death as population propotion cases.

‘Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc.’ 

President Trump (pictured) and AXIOS national political correspondent Jonathan Swan got into an argument over coronavirus statistics in a new interview that aired Monday

Trump responds: ‘You can’t do that.’

‘Why can’t I do that?’ Swan fires back. 

‘You have to go by where – look, here is the United States,’ Trump says, holding out of his charts. ‘You have to go by the cases.’ 

‘Why not as a proportion of the population?’ Swan says.

Swan (right) appeared to be surprised and confused by various claims Trump made, leading to the two of them arguing over statistics

At one point in the interview, Trump suggested that South Korea might not be fully reporting the number of coronavirus deaths, a claim that surprised Swan

‘What it says is that when you have someone where there’s a case, the people that live from those cases,’ Trump said. 

A skeptical Swan replies that it’s ‘surely relevant’ to consider the statistics involving the number of deaths compared to a country’s population, while Trump insists that ‘You have to go by the cases.’

Swan then points to South Korea, which he says has a population of 51million, but only 300 coronavirus deaths. 

‘You don’t know that,’ Trump said. 

Swan, in surprise, responded: ‘You think they’re faking their statistics? South Korea, an advanced country?’ 

‘I won’t get into that because we have a very good relationship with the country. But you don’t know that. And they have spikes,’ Trump said. 

The conversation then moves on to a discussion of the fact that America currently does more testing than other countries, which Trump says is part of what accounts for why the US is reporting so many coronavirus cases. 

‘Don’t we get credit for that?’ Trump asked, eventually noting that ‘Death is way down from where it was’ and claims that ‘Where it was is much higher than where  it is right now.’

Swan, however, said that the number of coronavirus cases in the US ‘went down then it went up again.’

‘But now it’s going down again. It’s going down in Arizona. It’s going down in Florida. It’s going down in Texas.’

Swan, who had pointed out that it’s national numbers that had gone down, asked with disbelief: ‘It’s going down in Florida?’  

Florida had been among the states to have experienced a sudden, exponential resurgence in coronavirus cases after the state reopened quickly.  

‘Yeah it leveled out and it’s going down, that’s my report as of yesterday,’ Trump said.

It was not immediately clear what day Trump’s latest reports were referring to. 

However, the Florida Department of Health reported Monday that 4,752 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the state, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 491,884.

Tampa Bay Times reported that that was the lowest number of daily infections reported since mid-June and about half the average number of new positive infections reported daily from the prior week.

It was also said to be the second straight day of lower infections reported in the state. 

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