In one of the most talked about moments of Donald Trump's interview on "Fox News Sunday," the president called for a chart to dispute anchor Chris Wallace's claim that the United States has the seventh highest COVID-19 mortality rate in the world.
The moment: Trump asked White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany to provide the data after saying he'd heard the U.S. mortality rate was among the lowest in the world.
- "Number, number one low mortality rate. I hope you show the scenario because it shows what fake news is all about," Trump said after McEnany handed him the material he'd requested.
- "You said we had the worst mortality rate in the world," Trump told Wallace. "And we have the best."
The discrepancy: Fox News cut away from the sit-down interview, filmed at the White House, and Wallace explained in a voiceover that he and the president were citing figures from different sources.
- "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 used data from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which showed that countries such as Spain and Italy had worse coronavirus mortality rates, but nations such as Brazil and South Korea were doing better than the U.S.
- Other countries with lower mortality rates, such as Russia, were omitted from the European CDC's chart.
Zoom out: Mainstream media outlets correctly noted Trump's claim that the United States has the "best" mortality rate in the world was inaccurate.
- But the president's broader point appeared to be that the criticism of the U.S. response to the pandemic has been overblown and has failed to take into account the country's internationally unmatched level of testing per capita.
- According to the same data cited by Wallace, the United States' mortality rate is nearly five times lower than that of the United Kingdom.
- As Trump highlighted during the interview, much of the hand-wringing in the media over a shortage of ventilators and other medical supplies seems to have evaporated.
Later in the interview, Wallace confronted Trump over his criticism of how the anchor has covered the 45th presidency.
- Trump, though refused to back down, saying, "It just seems to me that you are very prone to be nice to the Democrats ..."