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Donald Trump Thinks the “1917 Pandemic” (Which Happened in 1918) Ended WWII (Which Began 21 Years Later)

Donald Trump yells outdoors.

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.

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.

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.

(image: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.