A man wearing a face mask walks by a memorial for COVID-19 victims in front of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, May 27, 2020.
Michael Nagle | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
President Donald Trump in a Twitter post on Thursday said that the United States reaching 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus was “a very sad milestone.” The tweet was published a day after that number actually was hit.
“To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!,” Trump wrote.
By the time Trump posted his tweet on Thursday morning, there were at least 100,442 official Covid-19 deaths reported in the U.S., with nearly 1.7 million confirmed cases in the country. The U.S. accounts for more than 28% of the reported deaths from Covid-19 in the world.
A White House spokesman a day earlier had issued a statement after the 100,000 tally was reached, saying, “President Trump’s prayers for comfort and strength are with all of those grieving the loss of a loved one or friend as a result of this unprecedented plague, and his message to this great Nation remains one of resilience, hope and optimism.”
“The American people have always been strong and resilient, and the President is proud of their spirit, courage and determination every single day to defeat this virus,” the spokesman said.
But Trump did not tweet about or publicly address the grim milestone until Thursday.
On Wednesday, when that threshold was reached, the president did retweet a Fox Business host who had called him “arguably the greatest president in history.’
Demonstrators display fake body bags in protest of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, in Lafayette Park near the White House, May 20, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
He also tweeted about what he says was the illegal investigation into his 2016 presidential campaign and criticized “Big Tech” in a Twitter post.
Joe Biden, the former vice president who is the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, posted a video Wednesday that marked the 100,000 milestone.
“For all of you who are hurting so badly, I’m so sorry for your loss,” Biden said. “This nation grieves with you. Take some solace from the fact we all grieve with you.”
Trump in January downplayed the risk of the coronavirus in the United States and continued dismissing concerns about it into March, just before the pandemic began hitting the nation with full force.
“No, not at all,” Trump said in a Jan. 22 interview on CNBC when “Squawk Box” co-host Joe Kernen asked if he feared that the coronavirus outbreak in China would become a “pandemic.”
“It’s going to be just fine,” Trump said in that interview. “We have it totally under control.”
US President Donald Trump walks to the Rose Garden of the White House for an event on protecting seniors with diabetes in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 26, 2020.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
More than a month later, on Feb. 26, Trump noted that the number of Americans with official diagnoses of Covid-19 was low, and predicted it would soon go even lower.
“Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low,” Trump said that day.
“When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty Great job we’ve done.”
Two days after that, Trump said of the virus, “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
Two weeks later, in mid-March, he said, “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”