President Donald Trump erred in the story on numerous charges Monday when he claimed that the Spanish flu pandemic “1917” was likely to lead to the end of World War II – which began more than two decades later.
“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,” Trump told a White House news conference. “World War II must have ended, all the soldiers were sick.”
Reaching that comment, Trump had been praising his administration̵7;s response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 160,000 people in the US, claiming without evidence that without his ban on foreign travelers, millions more would had died.
Trump has mistakenly referred to the 1918 pandemic year dozens of times, even though his grandfather Frederick Trump died of it in New York City in 1918.
The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919 overlaps with the last months of World War I, which is apparently what the president intended to refer to. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was first identified in military personnel in the spring of 1918 before it spread to about 500 million people worldwide. It continued until next year. The spread was exacerbated by the widespread deployment of troops, wartime crowded conditions and other effects of the war, the CDC says.
World War II began in 1939.
Given Trump’s repeated attempts to frame alleged Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as lacking in mental acuity, Twitter users did not allow Trump’s blunder to slip.
Critics, including Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub, and the conservative group The Lincoln Project joined the opposition:
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