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Trump calls CNN 'dumb bastards' for covering coronavirus

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE on Monday mocked CNN for covering the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as he rallied hundreds of supporters, many of them not wearing masks, in Arizona.

"They’re getting tired of the pandemic, aren’t they,” Trump told a crowd of hundreds of unmasked supporters in Prescott. “You turn on CNN, that’s all they cover. Covid, Covid, pandemic, Covid, Covid, Covid… You know why? They’re trying to talk everybody out of voting. People aren’t buying it, CNN. You dumb bastards."

Trump's rally remarks marked the second time of the day that he suggested focus on the pandemic was overblown because people had grown tired of it.

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"People are tired of COVID. Yup, there’s going to be spikes, there’s going to be no spikes, there’s going to be vaccines. With or without vaccines, people are tired of COVID,” Trump said on a call with campaign staff earlier Monday. "I have the biggest rallies I have ever had and we have COVID. People are saying whatever, just leave us alone. They’re tired of it."

  

More than 215,000 people in the United States have died of the virus, the most reported deaths of any country in the world.

The president's dismissive tone comes as several states set recent records for single-day increases in COVID-19 cases and as state and local officials in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Montana and other states warn their hospital systems could be overwhelmed.

But Trump has continued to hold packed campaign rallies with hundreds or thousands of supporters standing shoulder-to-shoulder, most without masks. The events are typically outdoors, which experts say lessens the risk of spreading the virus.

Trump often says at his rallies that the U.S. is "rounding the turn" of the pandemic. His comments are at odds with the reality of the situation, but are in line with his months-long effort to downplay the severity of the virus.