BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ – NOVEMBER 20: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and Kris Kobach, Kansas secretary of state, pose for a photo following their meeting with president-elect at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images): Getty Images

A Republican congressional candidate in Kansas claimed that the number of people that have died due to the coronavirus has been exaggerated to hurt Donald Trump.

Kris Kobach, who is running for a Senate seat in Kansas and previously served as its secretary of state, appeared on a YouTube channel and claimed the number of cases and deaths was a lie.

“I believe that the numbers are being cooked,” he said. “The books are being cooked.”

During his interview on the show National File, Mr Kobach said hospitals were misdiagnosing coronavirus cases and repeated Mr Trump’s claims that more testing would result in higher numbers.

“There are so many things that are happening that indicate that they are overstating the positive numbers. Of course, we’ve all heard about hospitals, they will test someone who comes in for a liver problem, or for an auto accident, and they test positive and they are – or people who die of something else, but they’re also Covid-positive, they’ll be treated as a Covid death,” Mr Kobach said.

“And of course, the fact that we have whatever the number is, five times, four times as many tests now as we did in March. And so, if you’re testing a greater population, you’re going to see a proportional increase in the number of positive results.”

Mr Kobach went on to claim that the numbers were purposefully being misconstrued “at least on the political left” to “scare the public and to scare the political leadership into shutting down”.

He then claimed the overall goal of the Democrats is to undermine the economy to cause Mr Trump’s downfall in the 2020 US election.

Almost 150,000 people have died as a result of the coronavirus in the US.

This isn’t the first time Mr Kobach has backed Mr Trump. The Senate hopeful once served on Mr Trump’s “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity” where he stoked fears over voter fraud that have been frequently debunked by experts.

He was fined $1,000 in 2018 for demonstrating “deceptive conduct and lack of candour” during a trial defending a voter identification law he supported from the ACLU.

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In the early days of the Trump administration, Mr Kobach was one of the driving forces behind reinstating a “Muslim registry” that was put into place in the wake of 9/11.

Today, he is the favoured candidate of tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who has pumped more than $1m into Mr Kobach’s Senate campaign.

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