McEnany on 200K deaths: Some COVID-19 models predicted more lives lost

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Tuesday cited more dire predictions from medical experts when asked about the Trump administration's response to the U.S. passing the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths from COVID-19.

"As you’ve heard several doctors in the task force note from this podium, we were looking at the prospect of 2 million people potentially perishing from the coronavirus in this country," McEnany said at a press briefing when asked for her message to Americans who may be "outraged" by the administration's handling of the pandemic.

"We grieve when even one life is lost," she added. "But the fact that we have come nowhere near that number is a testament to this president taking immediate action."


McEnany pointed to the president's decision in late January to prohibit some travel from China and his move in March to do the same with Europe. Experts have questioned the value of the ban on Europe in particular, noting the virus had likely already spread throughout much of the U.S. by then.

The president and some administration officials earlier this year cited models that showed up to 2.2 million Americans could have died from COVID-19 had the country not imposed any social distancing measures.

Asked if Trump planned to acknowledge the 200,000 deaths at any point on Tuesday, McEnany would not say, but argued the president has expressed his condolences "throughout this pandemic."

"He has said before that it keeps him up at night thinking of even one life lost. This president has taken this incredibly seriously," McEnany said. "And what he’s done is he’s worked harder. Each and every day he works hard, puts his head down, and I think that’s very evident in the administration’s historic response."

Trump acknowledged when 100,000 Americans had died with a tweet.

The U.S. has the highest number of reported deaths and infections from COVID-19 of any country in the world, though administration officials have highlighted more favorable statistics like excess mortality rate that show the U.S. performing better than other countries.


Trump's tone has been generally rosy about the virus and he has largely ignored the mounting death toll.

He told supporters on Monday that the country was "rounding the turn" of the pandemic even as multiple states see positivity rates rise, and he has drawn criticism for claiming that the virus affects "virtually nobody" outside of elderly people and people with pre-existing conditions.

"We now know the disease, we didn't know it. Now we know it. It affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems, and other problems. If they have other problems, that's what it really affects. That's it," Trump told a crowd in Swanton, Ohio, on Monday.

Pressed on those comments on Tuesday, McEnany denied that the president was lying to people about the threat of the virus, though multiple reporters noted that Trump told veteran journalist Bob Woodward earlier this year that young people were impacted by the virus.