TIMELINE: Trump Consistently Downplayed The Coronavirus

Kayleigh McEnany claimed today that Trump “never downplayed the virus.” Not only is Trump on tape saying “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down,” but he has consistently and repeatedly publicly downplayed the virus. Here’s a timeline of Trump’s comments downplaying the coronavirus before his interview with Bob Woodward on March 19:


“We do have a plan, and we think it’s going to be handled very well. We’ve already handled it very well. CDC has been terrific. Very great professionals. And we’re in very good shape. And I think China is in very good shape also.

“We’re– we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s—going to be just fine.

“We have one person right now, as you know, in quarantine. And we got lucky, actually but we are in great shape. We have — CDC did a fantastic job, immediately got the person and we think we are in good shape. And I think China is in good shape too, by the way.


“China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”


We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five.  And those people are all recuperating successfully.  But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for it. So that I can assure you.”

“And we are in great shape. China is not in great shape right now, unfortunately. But they’re working very hard. We’ll see what happens. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries.”


“Well, we pretty much shut it down coming in from China. We have a tremendous relationship with China, which is a very positive thing. Getting along with China, getting along with Russia, getting along with these countries …”


“Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus. He feels they are doing very well, even building hospitals in a matter of only days. Nothing is easy… but he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone. Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!”

QUESTION: “Are you concerned that China is covering up the full extent of coronavirus?” TRUMP: “No. China is working very hard. Late last night, I had a very good talk with President Xi, and we talked about — mostly about the coronavirus. They’re working really hard, and I think they are doing a very professional job. They’re in touch with World — the World — World Organization. CDC also. We’re working together. But World Health is working with them. CDC is working with them. I had a great conversation last night with President Xi. It’s a tough situation. I think they’re doing a very good job.”


“Now, the virus that we’re talking about having to do — you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April. We’re in great shape though. We have 12 cases — 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now. So — but a very good question.”


“Well, we’re working on it very closely. I spoke to President Xi two days ago. They’re working on it very professionally. It’s a problem we think and we hope, based on all signs, that the problem goes away in April because … Which is not too far down the road, because heat kills this virus, we think. Now we’re going to find out, Geraldo, but we think.”


“And I spoke with President Xi of China, and he’s working very hard on this. It’s a tremendous problem. But they’re very capable and they’ll — they’ll get to it. There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm — historically, that has been able to kill the virus. So we don’t know yet; we’re not sure yet. But that’s around the corner, so that’ll be a great thing in China and other places.”


I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April and the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus. So let’s see what happens, but I think it’s going to work out fine. I think they’re working very hard. I spoke to president Xi, and they are really working hard at it.”


“Yeah, we’re very much involved. We’re very — very cognizant of everything going on. We have it very much under control in this country.


The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”


I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away.”

We’re fortunate so far and we think it’s going to remain that way.’”

But we had, essentially, 12 people. Many of them are getting better now. Soon, they’ll all be better, we hope. And we’re watching very carefully. So we’ve had a very, very good stretch of — let’s just say we’re fortunate so far. And we think it’s going to remain that way.”

“So let’s see how it all works out, but I think it’s going to work out fine. I hope so. We’re working very hard. We’re spending a tremendous amount of money also on — we just asked for two and a half-billion dollars on getting everything ready just in case something should happen, and also helping other nations that really aren’t equipped to do it.”

We think we’re in very good shape in the United States. We’ve essentially closed the border to areas where we had to close them. And we had very few. We took in 32 people over the last two days because they were sick and they’re Americans, and they’re great people. You know, what are you going to do? They’re in quarantine.”

“You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country. We have very few people with it, and the people that have it are — in all cases, I have not heard anything other.”

There’s a big difference, in case you don’t know, between Ebola and coronavirus.  A big, big difference.  It’s like day and night.  And I felt that we should bring them back.  They’re Americans.  We should bring them back. With Ebola, it was — it’s very explosive.  It’s very terrible.  We’re making tremendous strides on Ebola with the things that we’re doing, as you know.”


“What it’s going to do is keep people home, and they’re going to travel to places that we have. We have the greatest — it’s the greatest tourism country in the world. So instead of leaving our country, leaving our shores, they’ll stay here. And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.

“Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible. Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape! @CDCgov”

“President Donald Trump on Wednesday attempted to ease growing fears over the spreading coronavirus, saying at the White House that his administration has the situation under control and is ‘ready to adapt’ if the virus spreads. ‘Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low,’ Trump said. ‘We’re ready to adapt and ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads, if it spreads.’”

“This ends. This is going to end. Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later.

“But we are very, very ready for this for anything, whether it’s going to be a breakout of larger proportions or whether or not we are you know we are at that very low level, and we want to keep it that way, so we are at the low level. As they we get better, we take them off the list so that we are going to be pretty soon at only five people, and we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we have had very good luck.”

‘Treat this like a flu…You want to wash your hands a lot. You want to stay, if you’re not feeling well, if you feel you have a flu, stay inside.’”

“I want you to understand something that shocked me when I saw it that I spoke with Doctor Fauci on this, and I was really amazed, and I think most people are amazed to hear it. The flu in our country kills from 25,000 people to 69,000 people a year, that was shocking to me and so far if you look at what we have with the 15 people and they are recovering one is–one is pretty sick but hopefully will recover, but the others are in great shape.”

QUESTION: “A number of your supporters online have embraced these theories or forwarded to these theories that the CDC may be exaggerating the threat of coronavirus to hurt you politically. Rush Limbaugh the other day said this has been advanced to weaponize the virus against you.” TRUMP: “You don’t mean my supporters, you mean my–my–people that are not supporting me.” QUESTION: “Right.” TRUMP: “Yeah.” QUESTION: “Your opponents.” TRUMP: “I agree with it. I agree.”


“We have done an incredible job, we’re going to continue. It’s going to disappear one day. It’s like a miracle, it will disappear. And from our shores, it could get worse before it gets better, could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows.”

“Those people are all doing well. They’re doing very well. The 15 of the 15, most of them are doing very well. One of them is quite sick, frankly. Most of them are doing really well, and the 15 will soon be down to 3 or 4 because we take them off the list as they get better. And they recuperate. Like if you have the flu, you recuperate, you get better, and they’re recuperating. But think of it: we’re at 15 people, and we would’ve been at many, many people had we not closed the border. So we don’t get credit for it. The press doesn’t write it.”

“‘Anti-Trump network @CNN doing whatever it can to stoke a national coronavirus panic. The far left network pretty much ignoring anyone who they interview who doesn’t blame President Trump.’ @Trish_Regan @FoxNews media refuses to discuss the great job our professionals are doing!


“Well, I think that the media is — yes, I think that CNN is a very disreputable network. I think they’re doing everything they can to instill fear in people and I think it’s ridiculous.  And I think they’re very disreputable.”

“But I say so let’s get this right, a virus starts in China, bleeds its way into various countries all around the world, doesn’t spread widely at all in the United States because of the early actions that myself and my administration took against a lot of other wishes and the Democrats’ single talking point, and you see it is that it is Donald Trump’s fault, right? It’s Donald Trump’s fault.”

“The president also claimed that ‘the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus.’ ‘One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia. That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax,’’ Trump said. ‘This is their new hoax,’ he added, apparently in reference to Democrats’ criticisms of his administration’s response to the virus.”


“Additional cases in the United States are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover. And we think that will be a statement that we can make with great surety now that we’ve gotten familiar with this problem. They should be able to recover should they contract the virus. So, healthy people, if you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine.”

“As far as what responsibility: My great responsibility — I think the biggest decision we made was going very early. And that was a decision made against a lot of people that thought we shouldn’t do that. That’s why we’re at 22 instead of a much higher number. It would have been a much higher number. That was a big decision. It was a hard decision because it had never been done before anyway. I mean, not even early or late. It had never been made, a decision like that. So that was big.”

“On January 31st, I imposed travel restrictions on foreign nations who had — and anybody that had been to China or people coming out of China. And I want to say that China seems to be making tremendous progress. Their numbers are way down. And if you read, Tim Cook of Apple said that they are now in full operation again in China. Their numbers are way down.”


QUESTION: “Mr. President, is it safe or appropriate to be holding rallies during a public health crisis like this?” TRUMP: “Well, these were set up a long time ago. And others are. I mean, you could ask that to the Democrats because they’re having a lot of rallies. They’re all having rallies. That’s what they’re doing. They’re campaigning.” QUESTION: “But do you think it’s safe?  Are you worried at all?” TRUMP: “I think it’s very safe. Yeah.  I think it’s very safe.

QUESTION: “And are you also considering a national emergency declaration that would allow states and local governments to tap FEMA aid?” TRUMP: “I don’t think you’ll need that because I really think we’re in, you know, extremely good shape. We’re prepared for anything and we could always do that at a later date if we need, it but I don’t think we need that at this stage.”

The United States is right now ranked by far number one in the world for preparedness. Earlier today, when I met with the pharmaceutical companies, things were discussed and learned honestly the media didn’t know, nobody knew, they have never heard this before, and we learned a lot, and maybe that had the impact on the stock market.”


“But we’re doing a fantastic job. The professionals are doing a great job. We’re really happy with the job they’re doing. They have — they have been just ahead of it. And we’re ahead of it by having stopped so much earlier than — nobody wanted us to cut off access to our country, and I did it early. By doing that, that was a big step. Otherwise, many more people would be infected.”

QUESTION: “Do you regret downplaying the coronavirus initially?” TRUMP: “No, not at all. No, not at all. But we’re doing a fantastic job. The professionals are doing a great job. We’re really happy with the job they’re doing.”


“Well, I just say that it’s, you know, a very, very small number in this country. And we’re going to try and keep it that way as much as possible. I will say, though, the H1N1, that was swine flu, commonly referred to as swine flu. And that went from around April of ’09 to April of ’10, where there were 60 million cases of swine flu. And over — actually, it’s over 13,000. I think you might have said 17,000. I had heard it was 13,000, but a lot of — a lot of deaths. And they didn’t do anything about it. Interestingly, with the swine flu, children were — in particular, they were vulnerable, sort of the opposite in that respect. But children were very vulnerable to the swine flu. But they never did close the borders.”


“But it’s an unforeseen problem. What a problem. It came out of nowhere. We’re taking care of it. We have big news on the ship, and a lot of things are happening on the ship. People are being tested right now.”

“I do think — I do think what’s happening, though, is you have people that are sick, but they don’t go to the hospital or they’re not very sick; it’s a more minor case and it could be of this virus. But you have a lot of people that aren’t going to the hospitals. So we’re not seeing those people. And if you did see those people, I believe — if you did see those people — the statistics actually become much better, because they heal, they get better, they don’t see a doctor, they don’t see a hospital, they have a problem, they have the sniffles or a cold or all — you know, some of the symptoms. And over a period of time, a short period of time or even longer period of time, they get better.

QUESTION: “Isn’t it a risk if there’s that many people close together?” TRUMP: “It doesn’t bother me at all and it doesn’t bother them at all.”


QUESTION: “Are you concerned that the virus is getting closer to the White House and D.C.?” TRUMP: “No, I’m not concerned at all. No, I’m not. No, we’ve done a great job.”


So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

“The Fake News media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the coronavirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant. Surgeon general, ‘the risk is low to the average American.’


“‘We’re taking this unbelievably seriously,’ Trump said after his meeting at the Capitol. ‘It will go away, just stay calm.’


The vast majority of Americans: The risk is very, very low. Young and healthy people can expect to recover fully and quickly if they should get the virus. The highest risk is for elderly population with underlying health conditions.”

“And they’re great companies, but we’re having to fix a problem that, four weeks ago, nobody ever thought would be a problem. Nobody — you read about them. You read about them from 1917 and you read about them from lots of other times. But nobody thought that we would seeing — we were just discussing that. This came out of nowhere. And it actually came out of China, which is the way it works.”


“But we think we’ll reestablish very quickly once this ends, and it’s just a question of time. And I think it’ll go pretty quickly. Stay away from people and wash your hands, and do all of the things that we’re supposed to be doing a little bit anyway. But it’ll be — it’ll go very quickly.”

“I’ll be — my rallies are very big. They’re very big rallies. And we’ll be making a decision at the appropriate time. I mean, the next one scheduled is for the 25th, and that’s in Tampa. But we’ll have to see whether or not we do it. No, I’m not going to do it if I think it’s going to be negative at all. If people are — if we haven’t made that turn yet. We’ll make the turn. The question is when, and the question is how many people will die. And I don’t want people dying. That’s what I’m all about.”


“Sleepy Joe Biden was in charge of the H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic which killed thousands of people. The response was one of the worst on record. Our response is one of the best, with fast action of border closings & a 78% Approval Rating, the highest on record. His was lowest!’”

“Again, we don’t want everybody taking this test; it’s totally unnecessary. And this will pass. This will pass through, and we’re going to be even stronger for it. We’ve learned a lot. A tremendous amount has been learned.”

“We’ve been working very hard on this. We’ve made tremendous progress. When you compare what we’ve done to other areas of the world, it’s pretty incredible. A lot of that had to do with the early designation and the closing of the borders.”


“We just completed a very good meeting of the Coronavirus Task Force. And we — we’re really — they’re really doing a great job, our professionals. The results are very — very, very good. And when you compare this to what’s happening around the world, we’re very proud of our people.


“We see what’s happening. We see what’s going on in other countries. We’re looking at — we’re learning from watching other countries, frankly. This is a very contagious — this is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control over.


But this came up — it came up so suddenly. Look, he was surprised; we were all surprised. We heard about it. We heard about reports from China that something was happening and all of a sudden — we did make a good decision; we closed our borders to China very quickly, very rapidly. That was a — that was a — otherwise, we’d be in a very — as Tony has said numerous times, we’d be in a very bad position, much worse than we would be right now. You look at what’s happening in other countries: Italy is having a very hard time.”

“‘I don’t, number one, determine recession,’ Trump said. ‘I just say this: We have an invisible enemy. We have a problem that, a month ago, nobody ever thought about.’

QUESTION: “And on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your response to this crisis?” TRUMP: “I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job.


“One day, we’ll be standing, possibly up here, and we’ll say, ‘Well, we won.’ And we’re going to say that. As sure as you’re sitting there, we’re going to say that. And we’re going to win, and I think we’re going to win faster than people think, I hope.”

“Somebody was asking about the day, ‘When will you know? When will you know?’ We’re going to know. All of a sudden, we’re going to say, ‘Wow, that’s looking good. That’s looking good. That’s looking good.’ And we’re going to be on the other side of the curve.