In Latest Briefing, Trump Lies About His Coronavirus Response
April 8, 2020
Trump used today’s briefing to lie about ignoring early warnings about COVID-19, his record downplaying the disease, his failure to ramp up testing early, and whether the U.S. has enough ventilators and masks.
SPINNING HIS FAILURES:
Trump claimed he only learned about the severity of coronavirus shortly before implementing his travel restrictions on China, but his administration knew as early as November, and Trump was briefed in early January.
Vice News’s Todd Zwillich: “Trump says he first learned about the gravity of coronavirus shortly before he ordered travel restrictions on China January 31. ABC reports today the outbreak was in the President’s Daily Brief ‘in early January.’”
Even if he wasn’t briefed on U.S. intelligence’s warnings until late January, Trump admitted he knew better while he spent months downplaying the threat publicly and failing to order lifesaving medical supplies.
TRUMP: “When I learned about the gravity of it was sometime just prior to closing the country to China.”
ABC News: “The U.S. restricted entry from China on Jan. 31. The intelligence community warned of COVID-19 as early as November.”
TRUMP on March 6: “It will end … people have to remain calm.”
Associated Press: “US ‘wasted’ months before preparing for coronavirus pandemic”
FAILED TO LEAD:
Trump bragged about ordering masks months after he should have and delivering a fraction of the masks needed, while refusing to invoke the full power of the DPA to take control of an erratic supply chain.
Los Angeles Times’s Jackie Calmes: “Another day, another Trump Report and another boast about sending out 11 million N95 masks. The requests are for Billions.”
New York Times: “In the United States, the federal government has decided against commandeering American factories to create a new stream of masks. Instead, federal officials are competing against states, hospitals and medical suppliers for the same pool of masks, which come mostly from China.”
Trump keeps claiming that he has been proven right about states not needing as many ventilators as they requested, but states are still desperate for them and have started taking drastic measures.
LA Times’ Eli Stokols: “Trump: ‘The ventilators, we’re all set…I’m not getting calls about ventilators any more…we got that right.’”
PBS News’s Yamiche Alcindor: “President Trump again makes the point that some states that were requesting medical equipment didn’t need it and are taken care of. This is another dig at NY Gov Cuomo who requested 40,000 ventilators.”
NBC New York: “Some NY Hospitals Start Splitting Ventilators to Buy Time for Coronavirus Patients”
USA Today: “As states across the country beg for ventilators to help patients suffering with respiratory issues from COVID-19, the University of Mississippi Medical Center is building its own makeshift ventilators with supplies found at a hardware store.”
MORE FALSE CLAIMS:
Trump accused the World Health Organization of “minimizing the threat” of the coronavirus. That’s, in a word, projection. Trump claimed the threat was minimal for weeks and rejected WHO’s tests, allowing the virus to spread through the country.
PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor: “President Trump is going after the WHO saying the organization was ‘minimizing the threat’ of coronavirus and got everything ‘wrong.’ Reminder: Pres Trump downplayed the virus for weeks and has been accused of being too slow to respond to it.”
Washington Post’s Aaron Blake: “Trump on WHO: ‘I mean, they got it very wrong. In many ways, they were wrong. They also minimized the threat very strongly, and not good.’ Trump [spent] nearly 2 months downplaying the threat.
The Guardian: “In a key setback, the administration rejected World Health Organization testing kits in favor of developing its own, which turned out to be faulty.”
Trump again falsely claimed the U.S.’s coronavirus testing system was the envy of the world. The U.S. has lagged far behind other countries in testing, and Trump’s failure to ramp up testing early severely worsened the crisis facing the U.S.
Washington Post’s Aaron Blake: “Trump says we’re testing ‘exponentially more than anybody, by far.’ This is not true, regardless of whether you’re talking about per capita or raw numbers.”
CNN’s Michael Holmes: “Trump praising #coronavirus testing – which health experts and others have said has been woefully lacking from the start.”
New York Times: “The Lost Month: How a Failure to Test Blinded the U.S. to Covid-19”
Trump claimed there is “a lot of evidence” of voter fraud, but was unable to provide any — because the only recent example of voter fraud was committed by a Republican.
Los Angeles Times’s Eli Stokols: “Q: Where is the evidence of all this voter fraud? Trump: ‘I think there’s a lot of evidence and we’ll provide you with some.’”
CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Trump: ‘There’s a lot of fraudulent voting…in this country.’ False. All evidence suggests voter fraud is extremely rare.”
PBS NewsHour’s Meredith Lee: “Trump says ‘evidence’ of vote-by-mail fraud ‘is being compiled right now,’ when he’s asked for proof to back up his claims yesterday that mail-in voting is ‘corrupt.’ There is evidence that a Republican operative illegally harvested absentee ballots in North Carolina in 2018.”
USA Today’s Courtney Subramanian: “Trump has pushed this before – a panel he created to look into election corruption found no real evidence of voter fraud before he abruptly closed the commission in early 2018.”