White House admits report that listed ‘ending’ COVID pandemic as Trump accomplishment was ‘poorly worded’

The White House acknowledged on Wednesday that a report touting the “ending of the COVID-19 pandemic” as one of the Trump administration’s accomplishments was “poorly worded.”

“I think that was poorly worded,” White House communications director Alyssa Farah said on Fox News. “The intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus.”

On Tuesday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy published a 62-page report outlining what it called “highlights” in “Advancing America’s Global Leadership in Science & Technology” over the past four years. The “ending of the COVID-19 pandemic” was among them. 

The pandemic has not ended. 

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses thousands of supporters during a campaign rally at Capital Region International Airport October 27, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
President Trump at a campaign rally in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump has repeatedly sought to downplay the seriousness of the virus while defending his handling of the pandemic. In the most recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll, 62 percent of Americans identified “managing COVID” as a “major failure” of the administration. Exactly half that number listed it as a “major accomplishment.”

As cases continue to surge in the Upper Midwest, including states Trump is expected to win easily, the president has complained that the media is too focused on covering the outbreak rather than his accomplishments.

“Covid, Covid, Covid is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media,” he tweeted Wednesday. “They will talk about nothing else until November 4th, when the Election will be (hopefully!) over. Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, & many tests of young people.”

More than 226,000 Americans have died of complications related to COVID-19, and more than 8.6 million have been infected since the outbreak began.

And health officials in several states, including Idaho, Texas and Utah, are reporting that hospitals are at or above capacity.

Trump has also falsely said the United States is “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus. Last week the country set a new daily record for coronavirus cases, with 83,757 on Oct. 23.

On Fox, Farah tried to explain the president’s statement.

“We’re still in the midst of the pandemic,” she said. “We’re turning the corner, and what we mean by that is, we’re rushing therapeutics, we’re in the best place to treat the virus that we’ve ever been in.”

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WH communications director Farah says science office’s COVID statement was ‘poorly worded’

White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah clarified a White House statement regarding the coronavirus pandemic on “America’s Newsroom.”

The White House’s science policy office was criticized for listing “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as one of President Trump’s accomplishments in a press release, which Farah said was “poorly worded.”

“Cases are still rising and we need the American public to remain vigilant,” she said. “This is the top priority of the president, defeating this virus and rebuilding our economy. But we are rounding the corner because we think that we will have a vaccine by the end of the year, and because of the president’s leadership, we expect that we’ll be able to massively deploy that on a large scale to as many as 100 million Americans by the end of the year.”

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The Office of Science and Technology Policy statement read: “From the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”

As of Wednesday morning, the U.S. had reported more than 8,779,655 coronavirus cases and at least 226,722 deaths, as several areas of the country struggle to contain surging cases.

“Does the White House — the president — believe the virus has been defeated?” host Sandra Smith asked.

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“No, absolutely not,” Farah replied. “That was poorly worded. I think that the intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus.”

She pointed to Trump’s leadership amid the pandemic, saying there will be more positive announcements coming soon from the White House.

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“We are rushing therapeutics. … We’ve got remdesivir on the market that people are able to use. We’ve got monoclonal antibodies. We’ve got steroids that are able to be used to treat the most vulnerable. We have massive testing and the ability to isolate cases,” Farah concluded. “We are in the best position to date to treat the virus than we have been at any time.”

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