MSNBC's Chris Hayes ripped for suggesting initial death toll projections were inflated for Trump victory lap

MSNBC's Chris Hayes was ripped on social media for suggesting that the White House coronavirus task force team "rolled out the model showing 100k deaths after they knew it would be less" so President TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE could take a victory lap.

"The most cynical interpretation of all this, one I can't quite bring myself to accept, is they rolled out the model showing 100k deaths after they knew it would be less than that so they could anchor everyone to that # and take a vicotry lap when 'only' tens of thousands died," Hayes wrote to his 2.1 million followers on Wednesday night.

The tweet came after a key forecasting model created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington reduced its prediction of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. The model now estimates a peak of 60,415 deaths by early August. Less than a week ago, it had predicted more than 93,000 deaths and on Sunday it projected more than 81,000. 

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Criticism quickly followed the post, with some people pointing out that Hayes's comment was "a direct indictment" of task force medical experts including Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCDC to issue more guidance on school openings amid Trump criticism The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Teachers' union President Randi Weingarten calls Trump administration plan to reopen schools 'a train wreck'; US surpasses 3 million COVID-19 cases The Hill's 12:30 Report- Presented by Facebook - Trump threatens schools' funding over reopening MORE and Deborah Birx, both medical doctors who have used the IHME model for their projections. Fauci told Fox News on Wednesday that original death toll projections "are going to be downgraded" due to successful social distancing mitigation efforts.

Hayes's tweet has generated more than 6,000 retweets and nearly 25,000 likes as of late Thursday morning.

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The "All In" host later attempted to clarify his post, reiterating that while he "can't bring himself to accept" the theory, he feels that Trump "has been very very weird" about the COVID-19 death toll "coming in under the models."

Hayes began hosting his MSNBC prime-time show in 2013.