President Donald Trump was suddenly taken from the Brady Briefing Hall on Monday during a daily session with reporters.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump erroneously declared Monday that the Spanish Influenza of 1918 ended World War II, misquoting both the year the pandemic occurred and the year World War II ended.
The events took place more than two decades away.
“The closest thing is to 1917, they say, the great pandemic. It was certainly a terrible thing where they lost somewhere between 50 and 100 million people, they certainly ended World War II,” Trump said. “All the soldiers were sick. It was a terrible situation.”
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The president was alluding to the Spanish flu, which broke out in 1918. The first infections were identified in March of that year and lasted until 1920.
World War II began in 1939 and ended in 1945 with the surrender of the Axis powers, specifically when Japan surrendered unconditionally after the United States dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities.
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A White House official told USA TODAY Trump was talking about World War I, where more soldiers died of the disease than in battle and about 500 million were infected globally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the deployment of troops during World War I certainly contributed to the spread of the Spanish Influenza due to intercontinental movement and crowded conditions.
The Spanish flu did not officially cause the end of the First World War. The end of that war came from Germany signing a ceasefire, which caused the fighting to stop, as they suffered heavy losses on the battlefield.
However, shortly after the president’s reference, “World War II” and “World War II” started the trends on Twitter, and gathered the attention of lawmakers and celebrities alike.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., Said on Twitter that it was cruel that Trump’s son and family allowed him to “stay there like this.”
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Actress and activist Sophia Bush has tweeted, “So to regain what we have learned since 2016 … 45 has not read the Constitution, has not read the Bible (but likes to keep it upside down), and clearly does not “Did the American History Class ever take it? Or … math? Cool, very nice.”
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Star Trek actor George Takei has tweeted about the 75th anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing, “bringing a long and devastating war to a devastating, violent end. Remember the story. Don’t distort it.”
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