In Latest Briefing, Trump Asks Americans to Ignore Reality
April 10, 2020
Throughout today’s briefing, Trump asked Americans to put aside all evidence to the contrary and believe that his response to the coronavirus pandemic has not been a massive failure.
SPINNING HIS FAILURES:
Trump tried to take credit for a lowered projection of American lives lost, despite the fact his delayed response to the pandemic exacerbated this crisis.
TRUMP: “The minimum number was 100k lives, and I think we’ll be substantially under that number. Hard to believe that if you had 60k–you can never be happy but that’s a lot fewer than we were originally told and thinking.”
Washington Post: “[Trump] spent the initial weeks of the outbreak suggesting the situation was ‘under control’ and floating the idea that the virus could suddenly, miraculously disappear. The number of deaths he’s now talking about would be substantially higher than the seasonal flu and swine flu numbers he has repeatedly compared the current situation with — and in the latter case argued signified a failed response.”
Trump once again blamed previous administrations for his failure to quickly ramp up coronavirus testing.
CNN’s Michael Holmes: “Trump again talks of inheriting ‘a broken system’ after nearly 3.5 years in office.”
FactCheck.org: “It was a month after the administration declared a public health emergency that it took steps to allow testing to be conducted more broadly, and then several days more before the private sector announced testing availability.”
CNN: “A weeks-long testing delay that effectively blinded public health officials to the spread of the coronavirus in the US might have been avoided had federal agencies fully enacted their own plan to ramp up testing during a national health crisis. … But, smothered by bureaucratic inertia and disinterest at the highest levels of the Trump Administration in pandemic preparation, that agreement, known as a memorandum of understanding, today remains far from being fully realized, scientists say.”
DOWNPLAYED THE CRISIS:
Trump falsely claimed the U.S. has enough PPE and that stories of health care workers saying they’re under-supplied was “fake news.”
CBS News’s Kathryn Watson: “Trump says the U.S. has enough tests and PPE like masks. (Some health care workers and governors might disagree.)”
Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey: “Trump claims that doctors and elected officials say on CNN that they don’t have enough materials because they know they won’t get on TV unless they say it.”
HuffPost’s S.V. Dáte: “Trump is now claiming we have ALL the stuff. There are no shortages. ‘A lot of it’s fake news.’”
NPR: “At one New York City hospital, a doctor’s used mask tore as she performed CPR on her infected patient. In Seattle, a nurse compares walking into her intensive care unit to bathing in COVID-19. And in St. Louis, a nurse slips her used N95 mask into a paper bag at the end of her shift and prays that it’s disinfected properly. These are scenes playing out in hospitals across the country, based on interviews with more than a dozen residents, doctors and nurses who go into work every day feeling unprotected from the disease they’re supposed to treat.”
Trump once again contradicted health experts by saying areas that have few confirmed coronavirus cases don’t need tests, ignoring the fact that without tests there cannot be confirmed cases and the virus can continue to spread unchecked.
CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Trump asked about need for testing: ‘Certain sections,’ like Iowa, Nebraska, Idaho, are very ‘capable states’ with ‘lot of land’ and few cases. (Idaho, Iowa: 1300+ confirmed.) He claims, ‘You don’t need testing there’ to say ‘let’s get the tractors moving and let’s get the corn’”
MSNBC’s Joy Reid: “Trump just said that in states with few current cases, ‘you don’t have to test every person to open up’ — and he includes West Virginia and Iowa. Does he think that if you don’t know whether anyone is infected in a state you should just go for it and see what happens?”
Politico: “As the coronavirus marches from America’s coastal cities to its heartland, testing gaps in the South and Midwest are crippling efforts to contain emerging hotspots in smaller cities and rural areas. … State officials are worried that without adequate testing, the disease will spread stealthily into rural areas and overwhelm communities already underserved by doctors and hospitals.”
FAILED TO LEAD:
Trump claimed he used the Defense Production Act “like a hammer,” but he refuses to use the full power of the act to ramp up production and coordinate distribution of critically needed supplies.
PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor: “President Trump says he has used the Defense Production Act ‘like a hammer’ to threaten companies and get them to manufacture much needed medical supplies. Note: Today @NYGovCuomo said the DPA should be used more widely to ensure states get enough ventilators, masks, gowns, etc.”
Politico: “Three weeks after mobilizing against the coronavirus outbreak, chaos is still swirling around the federal government’s response, which has been hobbled by the weak and scattershot application of the powerful emergency law called the Defense Production Act.”
After insisting he couldn’t direct governors to issue stay-at-home orders, Trump suggested he had the power to instead force governors to reopen, risking further spread of the virus.
Washington Post’s Cathleen Decker: “Trump, who declined to order governors to close their states to prevent the spread of coronavirus, implies he could order governors to open up their states: ‘I have great authority if I want to use it.’”
TRUMP on Saturday: “We have a thing called the Constitution, which I cherish … And as you know, I want the governors to be running things.”
MORE FALSE CLAIMS:
Trump claimed there are “not a lot of issues with testing.” It was a lie last month, it was a lie last week, it’s a lie today.
CNN’s Manu Raju: “‘There’s not a lot of issues with testing,’ Trump says, continuing his praise over testing despite lingering concerns about its availability. ‘Vast areas of the country don’t need it,’ he says of testing. In March, he falsely said: ‘Anybody that wants a test can get a test.’”
RealClearPolitics’s Susan Crabtree: “California definitely has a testing shortage, according to state and local officials, and the state needs it in order to know when to get back to work, especially in crowded S.F.”
NBC News: “Diagnostic testing kits to identify patients or staff members with the virus were also in short supply, according to the inspector general. Hospitals said they were struggling with ‘a severe shortage of test kits,’ limiting their ability to monitor the health of patients and staff members, the report said. There were also problems with incomplete testing kits missing nasal swabs or reagents to detect the virus.”