From the White House press conference on Tuesday, May 26, 2020:
REPORTER: When Americans — when voters go to the polls in November, and they want to judge the President on his response to this pandemic, what is the number of dead Americans that they should tolerate as have — and where they can argue that, yes, he successfully defeated the pandemic?
MS. MCENANY: I think, you know, you’re asking the wrong question. The right question is where did —
Q Well, no, no —
MS. MCENANY: — where did the data —
Q — that’s the question I want to ask, Kayleigh. So please don’t tell me —
MS. MCENANY: Where did —
Q — whether I’m asking the right or wrong question.
MS. MCENANY: And I answered your question once, but if you ask it twice, it doesn’t make it any better of a question. So I’ll respond in kind. I’ve given you one answer, and I’ll continue to extrapolate upon that: that he always listened to the science. The President — when Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx said, “You need to shut down the economy,” that was hard for the President. You know, in a typical year 120,000 people die of suicide and drug overdose. That’s in a typical year.
And doctors have said, when you shut down an economy for an extended period of time, that number gets greater. People don’t show up for their cancer diagnoses. There are a litany of results when you close down an economy. But closing down the economy for this amount of time kept us far below the 2.2 million number.
As we start to reopen, we keep in mind the people who are missing their screening appointments, the people who are not — who are succumbing to suicide and drug overdose because of economic hardship. This President made the right choice. It was a delicate balance, and he did it exactly as he should, guided by data, and we are far below 2.2 million dead Americans because of the actions of President Trump.