But numbers tell stories, too.
Presidential historians and others will plumb them as they assess outgoing US President Donald Trump’s legacy,
Trump’s presidency is reflected in a broad range of numbers representing everything from the US death toll during the coronavirus pandemic to the miles of his “big, beautiful wall” along the border with Mexico to the tens of thousands of tweets he sent during four years in office.
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Some of the numbers that are part of Trump’s legacy:
- 325,000 and counting: Number of US deaths attributed to COVID-19.
- 6: Coronavirus vaccines being developed and-or distributed under Trump’s Operation Warp Speed program.
- 2: Coronavirus vaccines – by Pfizer and BioNTech, and a separate one by Moderna – that U.S. regulators approved in 2020 for emergency use.
- 0: Comprehensive health care overhaul plans Trump introduced despite repeated promises to replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act with a plan that would cover everyone at a lower cost.
- 3: Justices added to the Supreme Court, establishing a solid 6-3 conservative majority.
- 221: Federal trial-level and appeals court judges added to the judiciary.
- US$3.1 trillion: 2020 budget deficit, the largest in dollar terms in US history. Trump had pledged during the 2016 campaign to eliminate the gap between federal spending and revenue. Tax cuts Trump enacted in 2017 contributed to the imbalance, and it ballooned further after Congress passed US$2.4 trillion in economic relief earlier this year to help unemployed workers, business owners and others weather the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
- 3: In-person meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (in Singapore, Vietnam and the Korean demilitarised zone).
- US$21 trillion: US Federal debt in December, when it exceeded the size of the economy for the first time in history outside World War II.
- 82: Number of Trump administration environmental and public health rollbacks tracked on Harvard University’s rollback tracker.
- 4: Men who served as acting secretary of defense, the most in any administration.