Donald Trump scored a self-goal when he claimed it is a “badge of honor” for the US to lead the world in coronavirus infections.

Trump’s controversial claim comes at a time when a federal judge allowed a lawsuit that accuses US President Donald Trump and his family business of collaborating with a fraudulent marketing scheme “to enrich themselves by systematically defrauding economically marginalized people looking to invest in their educations, start their own small business and pursue the American dream”.

The US currently has 1.56 million cases and more than 92,250 deaths. The US has conducted 11.28m tests for the coronavirus, according to figures updated on Monday by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Its population is around 331m.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday afternoon, the president put the high figure down to the volume of Covid-19 tests being carried out on behalf of his administration.

“When we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing – I look at that in a certain respect as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better… So I view it as a badge of honor, really,” he said, adding that this was “a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have don

Back at the White House, the president was busy defending his use of hydroxychloroquine to ward off Covid-19 saying he uses it as a “line of defence” because he interacts with many people each day.

“Look how many people are around this table,” he said, illustrating his point for the assembled press pack. “It doesn’t seem to have any effect on me.”

Trump observed that both a valet and the vice president press secretary Katie Miller had both recently tested positive and yet he himself was still in good health, going on to suggest uncited studies in France and Italy had found the anti-malaria treatment to be effective against Covid-19.

When asked about studies that had found the opposite – and that it can even trigger fatal heart arrhythmia – the president sought to debunk the findings, in spite of their endorsement by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“That was a false study done. Where they gave it to very sick people. Extremely sick people. People that were ready to die. It was given by obviously not friends of the administration. If you look at the one survey, the only bad survey, they were giving it to people that were in very bad shape,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, a federal judge has allowed a lawsuit to press ahead that accuses the president and his family business of collaborating with a fraudulent marketing scheme “to enrich themselves by systematically defrauding economically marginalized people”.

 The suit, which was originally filed in October 2018 and brought by four anonymous plaintiffs, alleges that the president and three of his adult children used his former NBC reality TV show The Celebrity Apprentice and other promotional events as vehicles to boost ACN Opportunity, a telecommunications marketing company tied to a nonprofit using the Trump brand to appeal to teenagers.

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