Trump Vastly Misstates Population of Seoul After Saying ‘I Know South Korea Better Than Anybody’ (Video)

POTUS also incorrectly claims U.S. leads world in COVID-19 testing

Last Updated: March 31, 2020 @ 2:06 PM

In another contentious exchange with PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor, President Donald Trump grossly misstated the population of Seoul, South Korea as having 38 million people, just moments after claiming he knew South Korea “better than anybody.”

At a Monday press conference at the White House’s Rose Garden, Alcindor asked, “You’ve said several times that the United States has ramped up testing. But the United States is still not testing per capita as many people as other countries like South Korea. Why is that and when do you think that that number will be on par with other countries?”

“I know South Korea better than anybody. It’s a very tight — do you know how many people are in Seoul? Do you know how big the city of Seoul is? Thirty-eight million people. That’s bigger than anything we have. Thirty-eight million people all tightly wound together,” Trump responded, while also incorrectly claiming that America has done more tests than any other country “by far.”

In 2019, Seoul had a population of just over 10 million people, according to the city government’s website.  The Seoul Capital Area — which includes Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi — had a population of roughly 26 million people in 2018, while the country’s total population was just under 52 million people, according to the government’s 2018 population and housing census.

Later in his response to Alcindor’s question, the president accused the reporter of asking a “snarky question” and said that she should have congratulated the country for its testing efforts instead.

“You should be saying congratulations instead of asking a really snarky question because I know exactly what you mean by that,” Trump said. “If you don’t say it, I’ll say it.”

Watch the president’s response above.

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