President Donald Trump has been under constant criticism over the past several months for this response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With more than 170,000 reported deaths across the US, his slow response to the immediate medical needs of millions has been nothing disastrous and scandalous. In addition to the official measures taken by the federal government, Trump has been called out for repeated obfuscation and dishonesty that have unnecessarily complicated the discourse surrounding this virus. So it was only a matter of time before he was asked if he has any regrets about all the lies he’s told to the American people.

During a press conference last Thursday Trump took questions from reporters about the federal government’s position on a disputed funding measure proposed by House Democrats, the state of COVID-19’s rate of infection, and other matters. When called upon, S.V. Dáte, Senior White House Correspondent for HuffPost, asked the president “do you regret at all all the lying you’ve done to the American people?” Dáte posed his question in a way that suggested his interest in Trump’s dishonesty goes beyond the response to COVID-19, and covers the length of his administration thus far. Trump asked Dáte to clarify, as if he didn’t hear or misunderstood the question. When asked again, Trump moved on to the next reporter without further comment.

Dáte has covered the extensive nature of lies and misdirection from the Trump White House and throughout the federal government. Earlier this year he referred to this as the “Ministry of Untruth.” Dáte noted that Trump’s incessant falsehoods cover just about every topic and is not limited to certain venues. It’s normalized the act of lying from the White House from a number of officials and representatives. These are assertions that are backed up by the Washington Post’s fact-check database, which has a collection of over 20,000 misleading and false statements to come directly from Trump since his inauguration. Glenn Kessler, editor of this project, and Meg Kelly and Salvador Rizzo, reporters and fact-checkers, said they were surprised he’d reached the 20,000 mark at this point. After starting up the project during Trump’s first 100 days. They were skeptical he could reach this level of dishonesty before his first term comes to an end in January of next year.

By their count, Trump made an average of five lies or willfully misleading claims a day. They expect the number to increase as time goes on. Since the end of his impeachment trial and the beginning of this pandemic, leaving millions infected and out of work, protests against police shootings and systemic racism have encouraged Trump to increase the rate at which he lies, making it harder on journalists and pundits to relay information to the public while undermining the positions taken by the White House. When it comes to the seriousness of COVID-19, the database over the Washington Post was able to track about a thousand false statements from Trump about the pandemic in just a few months. Continuing to undercut the severity of the virus, its symptoms, communicability, and warnings and guidance from public health experts has made it impossible to achieve a national slowdown of infections. Trump’s mission to reopen businesses and schools as soon as possible, is something he justifies by saying that COVID-19 will “go away” without much human intervention, driving rates of infection and mortality back to their highest points of the pandemic.