If he could redo the pandemic response, Trump would change 'nothing'

Trump has either convinced himself of a fantasy or he's peddling a falsehood that few will take seriously.
Image: President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response during a meeting with Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson in the Cabinet Room at the White House
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response during a meeting with Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson in the Cabinet Room at the White House, May 20, 2020. REUTERS/Leah MillisLeah Millis / Reuters

At a White House event yesterday afternoon, a reporter reminded Donald Trump of some of the brutal statistics surrounding the coronavirus outbreak in the United States and asked the president a good question: "What would you have done differently facing this crisis?"

He replied:

"Well, nothing. If you take New York and New Jersey -- which were very hard hit -- we were very, very low.... We've done, you know, amazingly well."

Right off the bat, there's a problem with the "other than New York and New Jersey" pitch. For one thing, New York and New Jersey are part of the United States, and they can't be excluded for the sake of political convenience. For another, there have been significant outbreaks in all kinds of different parts of the country.

But putting that aside, it was the "well, nothing" answer that's worth dwelling on for a moment. According to the latest NBC News tally, we're closing in on 1.6 million confirmed cases in the United States and nearly 94,000 deaths.

Offered a chance to reflect on the crisis, and possible decisions that could've been made, the American president says he wouldn't have done anything differently.

Trump looks at the last few months -- the ignored warnings, the mismanagement, the false promises, the missed opportunities, the botched rollouts, the bad advice, the pointless political posturing, the bizarre priorities, the deliberate chaos -- and sees an administration that responded to the pandemic with "amazing" perfection.

If Trump genuinely believes this, he's convinced himself of a fantasy. If the president knows his boast is absurd, he's peddling a falsehood that few will take seriously.