In Latest Briefing, Trump Shows More Of the Same
March 31, 2020
Despite claims that Trump showed a “new tone” (we’ve heard that before) in tonight’s briefing, we only heard more of the same: Trump continued to spread lies, downplay the crisis, and create more confusion.
DOWNPLAYING THE CRISIS:
Trump tried to argue the White House’s projections of 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. deaths due to coronavirus was on the lower end of possible outcomes thanks to his actions.
BuzzFeed News’s Miriam Elder: “Trump appears to be trying to temper concern over the 100,000 death toll by saying ‘what would’ve happened if we did nothing,’ pointing to a death toll of 1.5/1.6 million to 2.2 million people.”
CBS News’s Caitlin Huey-Burns: “The president continues, in an unsettling way, to focus on the ‘if we did nothing’ number of over 2 million versus the current projections of 100K-200k people. He says ‘think of what would happen if we didn’t do anything.’ Who was advocating for doing nothing?!”
Trump continued to downplay the ventilator shortage and suggested once again that states and hospitals did not need more, despite them pleading for the equipment.
NBC News’s Kelly O’Donnell: “The president says some hospitals and some states think they need more ventilators and the federal government does not agree. That is a major friction point.”
Vox’s Aaron Rupar: “Trump on states asking for ventilators: ‘Some people, frankly, think they need them and they don’t need them. I don’t want to mention names.’”
MORE FALSE CLAIMS:
Trump once again claimed that spikes in coronavirus cases “came from nowhere” — he was warned months ago but refused to act.
CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Trump outlines efforts to help Louisiana, a state he says again was doing well and then ‘all of a sudden it just reared up. Came from nowhere.’”
New York Times: “White House economists published a study last September that warned a pandemic disease could kill a half million Americans and devastate the economy. It went unheeded inside the administration.”
Trump continued to try to falsely blame the Obama administration for faulty testing.
Vox’s Aaron Rupar: “‘We inherited obsolete tests’ — Trump ludicrously tries to blame Obama for the fact that the CDC he oversees failed to develop a functional test in January and February. Pence then takes the podium to try to clean up the mess.”
PolitiFact: “Trump said that his administration inherited a broken test. That flies in the face of logic. There could be no test until the virus emerged. We rate this claim Pants on Fire.”
Trump continued to cause confusion about the distribution of essential supplies, stating that governors struggling to get supplies should simply give him a call — after saying he was withholding 10,000 ventilators because he didn’t think states really needed what they were asking for.
NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell: “The president says he does not want states to compete for purchase of ventilators after @NYGovCuomo compared the bidding war to being on Ebay. Trump says states should call the feds to get ventilators to avoid driving up the price. Another friction point.”
ProPublica’s Lydia DePillis: “Why are they holding back 10K ventilators? ‘We have requests for ventilators from states and cities that don’t need them, in our opinion….If they do need them, they’ll be able to move very quickly.’”
Trump still can’t say when everyone in the country that needs a test will be able to get a test as governors throughout the country say their states still can’t get ahold of tests.
CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Asked when everyone who needs a test will be able to get one, Trump says ‘I can only say’ that we’re doing more testing than anyone in the world. (The US has not tested as much per capita as other countries have over the course of the crisis, though it’s now narrowing the gap.)”
CBS News: “Rural-state governors tell Trump they need tests and medical supplies, too”
ALL ABOUT HIMSELF:
Trump still managed to try to take credit and make it about himself.
TRUMP: “I think only good things can be said when you look at the job we’ve done.”
TRUMP: “I’m sure people are enjoying it. I will say this: It’s an incredibly dark topic, an incredibly horrible topic, and it’s incredibly interesting. That’s why everybody is going crazy, they’re going crazy, they can’t get enough of it.”