"If an American president loses more Americans over the course of six weeks than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War, does he deserve to be reelected?"

That was the last question at yesterday's Task Force press briefing. Transcript. The reporter was Olivia Nuzzi of New York Magazine.

Here's the response it provoked from Trump:
So yeah, we’ve lost a lot of people, but if you look at what original projections were, 2.2 million, we’re probably heading to 60 thousand, 70 thousand. It’s far too many. One person is too many for this. And I think we’ve made a lot of really good decisions. The big decision was closing the border or doing the ban, people coming in from China. Obviously other than American citizens which had to come in. Can’t say you can’t come back to your country. I think we’ve made a lot of good decisions. I think that Mike Pence and the task force have done a fantastic job. I think that everybody working on the ventilators, you see what we’ve done there, have done unbelievable. The press doesn’t talk about ventilators anymore. They just don’t want to talk about them and that’s okay. But the reason they don’t want to talk… That was a subject that nobody would get off of. They don’t want to talk about them. We’re in the same position on testing. We are lapping the world on testing and the world is coming to us. As I said, they’re coming to us saying, “What are you doing? How do you do it?” We’re helping them. So, no, I think we’ve done a great job and one person, I will say this, one person is too many. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you.
That was a good, moderate answer, never mentioning the election, only taking the cue to discuss the basis for thinking that he is deserving. Importantly, he resisted the temptation to speculate about whether his opponent would have done better. Who knows what Joe Biden would have done in the same circumstances?

But that's the comparison. That's what I think about when I hear the question, and I'm going to assume that President Biden also would have lost more Americans over the course of six weeks than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War. If losses to a sudden contagious disease are the test of whether a candidate deserves our vote, then we'd just be voting based on which person happened actually to be President at the time the disease hit.

I suppose many people like to think a different President would have done better. Theoretically, things could have been done better. Our dream President would have done better. But would Joe Biden have done better? Anyone who answers yes is, I suspect, someone who was already going to vote for Biden for some other reason.

Anyway, Trump got the question he got, and he didn't get bogged down in the kind of speculation that I'm blogging about here. He just made the pitch that he's done a good enough job — which is, in Trumpspeak, "a fantastic job."

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