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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 TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism 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 FauciOvernight Health Care: Biden unveils virus plan and urges patience | Fauci says it's 'liberating' working under Biden | House to move quickly on COVID-19 relief Fauci: We are not 'starting from scratch' on vaccine distribution Fauci says it's 'liberating' working under Biden 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.