Donald Trump Thinks the “1917 Pandemic” (Which Happened in 1918) Ended WWII (Which Began 21 Years Later)
Donald Trump has repeatedly called himself things like a “smart person” and a “very stable genius.” “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it!” he once tweeted.
He’s said that he understands polls better than pollsters, science better than scientists. And I’m sure he thinks he understands history better than historians, which is likely why he feels comfortable making up things about history that never happened and confidently stating them in public. Where people can hear him. On purpose.
He got into some Trump Brand History during his Monday press briefing and it’s honestly amazing how many wrong statements he managed to fit into one single sentence.
The President says the “1917 pandemic” ended the Second World War pic.twitter.com/jSltuSYim2
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) August 10, 2020
Speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump told reporters: “The closest thing is in 1917, they say, the great pandemic, certainly was a terrible thing where they lost anywhere from 50 to 100 million people. Probably ended the Second World War, all the soldiers were sick. That was a terrible situation.”
Let’s start with what Trump got right: That was a terrible situation.
Okay, onto what he got wrong. The “1917 pandemic” happened in 1918. This isn’t a simple mistake, though, as he has repeatedly claimed that the pandemic happened in 1917. A lot.
A supercut of Trump saying that the 1918 flu pandemic happened in 1917 pic.twitter.com/phawCzkw3v
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) August 11, 2020
That pandemic also killed between 20 and 40 million people. That’s an incredibly devastating number so I don’t know why Trump felt the need to exaggerate it.
Also, the really big one: The 1918 flu pandemic did not end WWII, as that war didn’t begin until 1939. Giving him the benefit of the doubt (why?), he probably meant WWI, which did end in 1918, and the flu did direly affect soldiers, though it’s not generally cited as being responsible for ending the war.
Also, if Joe Biden misspoke and mixed up the two world wars, Fox News would play it on a loop and Trump would retweet it 20 times in an hour.
A significant part of Trump’s (and the Trump campaign’s) message against Biden has been that Biden gets confused and makes speaking mistakes. https://t.co/pfNGzsQYt2
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 11, 2020
The republicans are worried about Joe Biden’s mental acuity https://t.co/NpmQGSqcjp
— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@MollyJongFast) August 10, 2020
President Trump said a few hours ago that the flu pandemic in “1917” was the reason why World War II ended. pic.twitter.com/JsIIqjG3ZX
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) August 11, 2020
My aunt and baby cousin were found burned in a ditch in Hiroshima three days earlier on August 6, 1945 when the first atomic bomb incinerated that city.
History matters. We must all learn from it.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 10, 2020
(image: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
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