Herd mentality or herd immunity? Trump trolled for misstatement on Covid-19 at Town Hall: ‘Idiocy is killing us’
Defending his take on how the novel coronavirus would ‘disappear’ with or without a vaccine, Donald Trump said that the United States would develop what he called ‘herd mentality’
President Donald Trump seems to be eyeing the presidential debate. Exactly seven weeks before Election Day, the POTUS decided to face uncommitted voters in a 90-minute Town Hall special hosted by ABC News from the battleground state of Pennsylvania. ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos hosted the “20/20” event — ‘The President and the People’ — from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
With a barrage of questions on Covid-19, a health plan, America's economic stability, and Black Lives Matter protests for racial justice, Trump's attempt to woo voters spiraled down as his answers stumped the crowd. One of his answers on solutions for coronavirus seems to have caught one too many eyeballs.
Defending his take on how the novel coronavirus would “disappear” with or without a vaccine, he said that the United States would develop what he called “herd mentality.” During the town hall, he said, “With time it goes away,” adding, “You'll develop — you'll develop herd — like a herd mentality. It's going to be, it’s going to be herd-developed, and that's going to happen. That will all happen. But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly.”
What is herd mentality?
Also known as mob mentality, pack mentality or gang mentality, herd mentality is a term to describe how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis, as per Wikipedia. It is an inclination towards what a larger group thinks or does instead of going by independent analysis.
In fact, Oxford Dictionary defines it as: “The tendency for people's behavior or beliefs to conform to those of the group to which they belong.”
Did Trump mean herd immunity?
Apparently, Trump mistook the word “herd mentality” for “herd immunity,” which is a phenomenon that occurs when enough individuals develop immunity to prevent the spread of disease.
Earlier this September, the White House had denied that it ever considered the “herd immunity” approach for Covid-19 infections. According to The Hill, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters during a briefing: “The herd immunity so-called theory was something made up in the fanciful minds of the media. That was never something that was ever considered here at the White House.” As per the same report, the goal of herd immunity is to get as many “healthy” people infected as possible in order to build widespread resistance.
‘Battle’ with the English language
Now, Trump is not only being slammed for referring to it but also his misstatement on calling it a “herd mentality” instead of “herd immunity.” Jim Acosta posted, “Trump talks about ‘herd mentality’ when he means to say ‘herd immunity.’ Earlier this month WH officials blamed the media for bringing up the topic of ‘herd immunity.’ Seems to have been on Trump’s mind,” and Maddow Blog wrote, “Herd mentality?? You mean herd immunity? That's what you're pursuing for us as a country, and you don't even know what it is? And you think it might be the same thing as herd mentality?”
Joe Scarborough said, “Donald Trump battles the English language in an attempt to let voters know he now supports herd immunity (3 million US deaths) as the solution to COVID: ‘You’re going to develop, you’re going to develop herd mentality; it’s going to be, going to be herd developed.’”
Trump talks about “herd mentality” when he means to say “herd immunity.” Earlier this month WH officials blamed the media for bringing up the topic of “herd immunity.” Seems to have been on Trump’s mind. https://t.co/M4j1faz1yY https://t.co/b8HGJSCdz6— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) September 16, 2020
Herd mentality??— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) September 16, 2020
You mean herd immunity?
That's what you're pursuing for us as a country, and you don't even know what it is?
And you think it might be the same thing as herd mentality? pic.twitter.com/9anh7OUZnq
Donald Trump battles the English language in an attempt to let voters know he now supports herd immunity (3 million US deaths) as the solution to COVID:— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) September 16, 2020
“You’re going to develop, you’re going to develop herd mentality; it’s going to be, going to be herd developed.” https://t.co/vJVp0kcyFF
Ronald Klain wrote: “This is the key point. Everyone on Twitter is mocking Trump's misstatement (‘herd mentality’ v ‘herd immunity’). That's a goof. But if Trump's strategy is to simply let the virus ‘run its course,’ that could mean 2m deaths in the next 12 months. That's the real headline.” In fact, Eric Feigl-Ding went on to post: “‘Herd mentality’ is what his cult followers have. ‘Herd immunity’ without vaccine is deadly. Trump’s idiocy on science is killing us. #COVID19.”
This is the key point. Everyone on Twitter is mocking Trump's misstatement ("herd mentality" v "herd immunity"). That's a goof.— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) September 16, 2020
But if Trump's strategy is to simply let the virus "run its course," that could mean 2m deaths in the next 12 months. That's the real headline. https://t.co/RxeTWUMDfl
That's not all, when a first-time voter asked Trump why he downplayed the pandemic after audio recordings from interviews with Bob Woodward were leaked which proved he said it in an attempt to not cause a panic, Trump denied it. “I didn't downplay it. I, actually, in many ways, I up-played it, in terms of action. My action was very strong,” Trump said. “Yeah, because what I did was, with China, I put a ban on. With Europe, I put a ban on and we would have lost thousands of more people had I not put the ban on. So that was called ‘action,’ not with the mouth but in actual fact.”
The “20/20” special event aired from 9 pm to 10.30 pm ET on ABC and ABC News Live along with pre-and post-show coverage for more context and analysis. As per reports, ABC offered to host a similar town hall with Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden but could not pin down on a mutually agreeable date.