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After Endorsing Trump, Jack Nicklaus Back In The News Over Covid Comments

After Endorsing Trump, Jack Nicklaus Back In The News Over Covid Comments

 

Jack Nicklaus has been off the golf scene for decades. He won his last PGA major championship at age 46 — the oldest ever — in 1986. He’s 80 now. But suddenly, he’s all over the news.

After endorsing President Trump last week in a lengthy post on social media, Nicklaus on Friday questioned the death toll from COVID-19 and said he had the virus — but got better in two days.

In an interview with the Palm Beach Post, Nicklaus said Trump has done about as good a job as anyone could do to handle a pandemic.

“Has he saved millions of lives or has he cost us lives? Nobody is going to know that. If you’re objective about it, nobody knows that. I think he’s done the best he can with the people he’s had,” he said.

But he went on to say: “I don’t think the deaths are a correct number. I hate to say that.”

“Nicklaus told a story about two people he knows whose parents died from something other than COVID and, according to Nicklaus, they were asked if the cause of death could be changed to COVID and declined,” the paper reported.

“The hospital gets more money with COVID death than they do another death,” Nicklaus said. “I’m sure there’s been a lot of that.”

Experts have pushed back against claims that medical examiners have been ordered to list COVID-19 on death certificates as a “default diagnosis” and that the COVID-19 death toll has been inflated.

“Death certificates are basically federal, and each state has a public health division that answers to the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] for death certification,” Sally Aiken, the president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, told FactCheck.org in April. “For all practical purposes death certification is directed by the feds, via health departments.”

The CDC’s guidance issued on April 2 read: “If COVID–19 played a role in the death, this condition should be specified on the death certificate. In many cases, it is likely that it will be the [underlying cause of death], as it can lead to various life-threatening conditions, such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In these cases, COVID-19 should be reported on the lowest line used in Part I with the other conditions to which it gave rise listed on the lines above it.”

Nicklaus also said he and his wife, Barbara, also 80, tested positive for the virus in March. While his wife was symptomatic, Nicklaus said he had a sore throat and cough, adding he got better in two days.

Nicklaus said he was asked by President Mike Pence if he would endorse Trump. “I’m delighted to do that,” said the famed golfer. “I said, ‘You know how I feel about him. He’s been very supportive to everything we’ve ever done. He’s asked for nothing. If I can just on my own do that, I would be happy to do it.’

“And I know it was going to cause me some grief. So, that’s what I did,” he added.

Here’s what Nicklaus said in his endorsement of Trump: “I know we are only a few days from Nov. 3 and Election Day, but I am certain many of you have not yet made up your minds. But if we want to continue to have the opportunity to pursue the American Dream, and not evolve into a socialist America and have the government run your life, then I strongly recommend you consider Donald J. Trump for another 4 years. I certainly have and have already cast my vote for him!”

Trump thanked the golfer known as The Golden Bear on Twitter, writing: “Jack, this is a Great Honor. Thank you!”


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