The United States’ Coronavirus Death Toll Is About to Hit 100,000. Donald Trump Went Golfing Today.

Now watch this drive.

Donald Trump walks onto the green at the Trump International Golf Course in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in December 2017.Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

President Donald Trump, who in 2014 attacked Barack Obama for golfing during an Ebola outbreak that ultimately took the lives of two Americans, hit the links on Saturday as the number of America deaths attributed to coronavirus neared 100,000.

That happens to be a total that Trump, in one of his frequently revised predictions of the virus’ expected toll, has said it will not exceed. “It looks like we’re headed to a number substantially below the 100,000,” he said on April 10. (He notoriously had opined on February 26 that 15 cases reported cases in the United States “within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”) There are now more 1.6 million confirmed cases in the United States, according to the New York Times, though there is no way to know the actual number, because, despite Trump’s claim on March 6 that “anybody that wants a test can get a test,” most people can’t get tests.

One hundred thousand deaths is also likely an undercount. State mortality figures compiled by the Centers for Disease Control suggest the ongoing pandemic has caused the deaths of somewhere between 33 to 60 percent more Americans  than the official figure attributed to COVID-19. Though coronavirus continues to take the lives of around 1,200 Americans each day, Trump has recently amped up an effort to push for states and churches to reopen, a position nakedly aimed at aiding his reelection hopes by reversing an economic collapse that has left 38 million Americans unemployed. His outing Saturday appears aimed at signaling “the worst is behind us and that America is ready to return to normal,” as the Washington Post‘s Philip Bump wrote. Mission accomplished. Now watch this drive.

Trump traveled Saturday by motorcade from Washington, DC, to Sterling, Virginia, locales in which stay-at-home orders leave golf off limits to regular residents. It was his first golf outing since March 8, but also his 250th as president. As he often does, Trump played at one of his own courses, a practice that helps promote his floundering hospitality business and forces the Secret Service to spend taxpayer funds at Trump properties.

Some pundits have consistently argued that Trump’s golf, and hypocrisy over golf, is relatively unimportant amid his policy failures. And indeed, his coronavirus record would be ripe for criticism even if it included no golf. But symbolism matters. And as the death toll mounts, golf is the symbol Trump picked Saturday.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate