Fact Check

Did President Trump Say 'People Are Dying Today That Have Never Died Before'?

A number of hoaxes have circulated amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published March 18, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 17: U.S. President Donald Trump, joined by members of the Coronavirus Task Force, speaks about the coronavirus outbreak in the press briefing room at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Trump administration is considering an $850 billion stimulus package to counter the economic fallout as the coronavirus spreads. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Referring to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. President Donald Trump said, "People are dying today that have never died before."

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As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in countries around the world, U.S. President Donald Trump began holding regular press briefings to provide updates on the U.S. government's response to the crisis. And in mid-March 2020, social media users claimed that during one of these public sessions Trump said, "People are dying that have never died before."

This does not appear to reference a real quote uttered by Trump, but instead a long-standing internet joke.

Noticeably, none of the social media posts claiming Trump made this statement included a video clip or other proof he said it, and that's because there was none to show. We found no evidence that Trump said this during any recent public announcements about the coronavirus disease.

However, we did find that this same quote has been attributed to a number of other politicians (e.g., Joe Biden, Marjorie Taylor Greene, George Wallace) on Twitter at least as far back as 2008:

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who has been working in the news industry since 2006.

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