President Trump accused Fox News’s Chris Wallace of being fake news during an interview with the anchor that aired on Fox News Sunday.
“Let’s start with the surge of the coronavirus across the country in recent months,” Wallace began. “You still talk about it as, quote, ‘burning embers.’ But I want to put up a chart that shows where we are with the illness over the last four months. … Then, then it went down, and now since June, it has gone up more than double. One day this week 75,000 new cases. More than double.”
President Trump, as many times before, said the increase in cases was due to “great testing.”
“Because we have the best testing in the world,” President Trump said. “If we didn’t test, you wouldn’t be able to show that chart. If we tested half as much, those numbers would be down.”
President Trump then listed off a number of countries that have struggled to contain the pandemic and do not have as robust a national testing capacity or strategy.
“But, sir, we have the seventh highest mortality rate in the world. Our mortality rate is higher than Brazil, it’s higher than Russia. And the European Union has us on a travel ban,” host Wallace retorted.
Trump responded, “When you talk about mortality rates, I think it’s the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.”
“That’s not true, sir. We, we, we have a … we had 900 deaths on a single day,” Wallace contended.
Growing frustrated, President Trump paused and called over White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asking her to produce White House data regarding coronavirus deaths and mortality rates in the U.S.
“Number, No. 1 low mortality rate,” Trump said after examining the papers McEnany handed him. “I hope you show the scenario because it shows what fake news is all about. OK, go ahead.”
“OK, OK. I don’t think I’m fake news, but I will — we’ll put —,” Wallace shot back.
“Yeah, you were … you said we had the worst mortality rate in the world, and we had the best,” Trump responded.
In a voice-over that accompanied the interview, Wallace explained the discrepancy between the numbers he cited and those handed to Trump by McEnany.
“All right. It’s a little complicated. But bear with us. We went with numbers from Johns Hopkins University, which charted the mortality rate for 20 countries hit by the virus. The U.S. ranked seventh, better than the United Kingdom but worse than Brazil and Russia,” Wallace said.
“The White House went with this chart from the European CDC, which shows Italy and Spain doing worse, but countries like Brazil and South Korea doing better. Other countries doing better like Russia aren’t included in the White House chart.”