On Wednesday, Facebook finally took the long overdue step of removing a piece of Trump campaign content from its platform that pushed misinformation about COVID-19. That didn’t stop Kellyanne Conway from trying to defend it Thursday morning on Fox News.
The claim in question came during the president’s appearance on Fox & Friends that morning, where he falsely stated, “If you look at children, children are almost—and I would almost say definitely—but almost immune from this disease.”
“Of course there is a debate happening about whether Facebook and Twitter should be arbiters of truth and decide what is fact and fiction,” Fox host Sandra Smith began, before sharing the actual facts about confirmed coronavirus cases in children.
According to the CDC, she told Conway, children under the age of 18 now make up 7.4% of total cases in the United States. “So kids are getting this disease, Kellyanne,” she said.
“Yes, they are and thankfully most never make it to a hospital and very few have died,” Conway replied, hastening to add, “and every death is a tragedy.” As she tried to pivot to glimmers of good news about the spread of the virus overall, Smith brought her back to the issue at hand.
“I want to stick to children though,” the host said. “Because the debate right now is over the spread of misinformation by the president about children being ‘nearly immune.’”
Smith cited remarks from the Republican governor of Mississippi, who has just instituted a state-wide mask mandate, as further evidence that kids are transmitting the virus in large numbers before asking, “Is it helpful for the president to tell parents that children are ‘nearly immune’ from this and then have it factually spreading from child to child in places like Mississippi where they’ve opened the doors to their schools?”
Instead of defending Trump’s claim, all Conway could do in response was try to highlight other instances when the president didn’t spread misinformation about children’s susceptibility. “So I think the president is making clear that overall the average age of those who pass away from coronavirus is still about 78,” she said, a separate fact that does not mean children are “nearly immune.”
After Conway attempted yet another pivot to attack Joe Biden, Smith again brought her back to Trump and his lies about the virus.
“I get that Kellyanne and that’s another conversation,” the host said. “But the point is that the president said in that interview on Fox & Friends yesterday morning said it’s going to ‘go away, like things go away’ and that is something many people are taking issue with.” She quoted the White House’s own health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said, “I do not believe that it will disappear because it’s such a highly transmissible virus.”
“So is the president listening to the advice of the health experts that he has at his side?” Smith asked.
“Yes he is, and they should be listening to him as well,” Conway replied ominously before accusing those experts of saying things on TV that they didn’t express in classified task force meetings.
Conway had plenty to say after that about Twitter and Facebook, but she could not defend Trump’s claim that COVID-19 will magically disappear.