"That's what it really affects," Trump said during a campaign rally in Ohio. "That's it."
Trump also said the virus doesn't really affect anyone below the age of 18.
"In some states, thousands of people, nobody young... they have a strong immune system, who knows," he said. "But it affects virtually nobody. It's an amazing thing."
"It affects virtually nobody," Trump says of the coronavirus, which has now killed 200,000 Americans and counting pic.twitter.com/qHrZvUWNhX
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 22, 2020
According to the CDC, some 400,000 people under the age of 18 have been infected with the coronavirus. While many cases were mild or even without symptoms, at least 576 patients under the age of 18 were hospitalized for the infection between March and July.
The president's comments also contradicted his own past statements.
"It's turning out it's not just old people," Trump told journalist Bob Woodward in March in comments that were only recently made public. "Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It's not just old –- older. Young people, too. Plenty of young people."
In public, however, Trump has continued to spend much of the pandemic trying to downplay the virus. In February, he predicted the number of cases "within a couple of days" would be "down to close to zero." More recently, Trump has tried to dismiss cases in "blue" states.
"The blue states had tremendous death rates," Trump said last week. "If you take the blue states out, we're at a level that I don't think anybody in the world would be at, we're really at a very low level."
Former Vice President Joe Biden took the opposite approach when asked about the climbing death toll, warning against becoming numb to the news.
"We can't lose the ability to feel the sorrow and the loss and the anger for so many lives lost," Biden said in Manitowoc, Wisconsin on Monday. "We can't let the numbers become statistics, a background noise, just a blur that we see on the nightly news."
Biden said the Covid-19 deaths weren't just numbers but "empty chairs at dining room tables and kitchen tables that weeks and months ago were filled with a loved one, a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister."
On social media, Trump's critics zeroed in on his use of the phrase "virtually nobody" as both callous and inaccurate:
They should turn this into a 30 second spot and run it in retirement communities. https://t.co/C5gVngsjfG
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) September 22, 2020
Trump to Bob Woodward in March: "Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It's not just old, older. Young people too, plenty of young people."
Trump today: "It affects virtually nobody...old people..that's it."pic.twitter.com/COVlyvMGAA#TrumpLied200KAmericansdied
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) September 22, 2020
Today Trump said covid, "Affects virtually nobody."
In fact, there have only been 3 events with more deaths than covid in ALL OF US HISTORY. https://t.co/2ZBWK5KZRO
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) September 22, 2020
Trump's point here is even more cruel than it seems: those who are lost to COVID are just "nobodies" to him -- the same way that soldiers lost in battle are "suckers" and "losers." https://t.co/EAdr9Qf4bV
— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) September 22, 2020
How does Trump shrugging off old people dying by the thousands play at The Villages in Florida?
— Schooley (@Rschooley) September 22, 2020
if you take away the blue states, the old, the nonwhite and all the others who died, it affects virtually nobody
— Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) September 22, 2020
Hey newsflash from trump, a guy I trust for all my medical information! (He is an expert in all topics) Corona doesn't really affect the young, like if you're under 18 you're good, soooo it affects virtually nobody! Phew! https://t.co/XivyocRKf9
— Rachel Dratch (@TheRealDratch) September 22, 2020
"It affects virtually nobody. It's an amazing thing."
"By the way, open your schools."
A reminder that we have NO comprehensive plan to confront a pandemic that has killed 200K Americans. pic.twitter.com/uqlS6ZK4VF
— Kristen Clarke 866-OUR-VOTE (@KristenClarkeJD) September 22, 2020
Just play Trump's actual quotes over shots of a funeral:
"I don't take responsibility at all."
"It is what it is."
"It affects virtually nobody." https://t.co/lwC8hVKPNF
— Frank Lesser (@sadmonsters) September 22, 2020
Know someone who died from coronavirus? Trump considers them "virtually nobody." https://t.co/sDS0tybyy2
— Tim Hogan (@timjhogan) September 22, 2020
"Virtually nobody" = 200,000 people.
I'm starting to understand how he bankrupted the casinos.
— Josh Moon (@Josh_Moon) September 22, 2020
— Peter Gleick (@PeterGleick) September 22, 2020
"It affects virtually nobody" except it affected nearly 7 millions of Americans (that we know of) & 31M worldwide, and killed 200K Americans (963K dead worldwide), but sure, keep telling your BS to your gullible base who trust a 2nd grade reality tv show guy over facts & science. https://t.co/3bZIJ9iUn7
— Francesco Francavilla (@f_francavilla) September 22, 2020
200,000 dead Americans
6.9 million infected
Millions thrown out of work
Trump tonight: "It (coronavirus) effects (virtually) nobody..."
— West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport) September 22, 2020
- This article first appeared on HuffPost