Trump Shows Off His ‘New Tone’ In Latest Coronavirus Press Briefing
March 19, 2020
In his latest press briefing, Trump showed off his “new tone” — he joked about coronavirus to attack the media, continued a tirade of false attacks, contradicted his own administration, refused to take responsibility, repeated falsehoods and continued to downplay the severity of the crisis.
We didn’t hear a “new tone” — we heard the same failed leadership that got us into this mess:
Trump minimized the severity of the situation, choosing to lament the loss of a reelection talking point rather than the health and safety of Americans.
TRUMP: “It’s too bad” there is a coronavirus outbreak “because we never had an economy as good as the economy we had.”
MADE FALSE CLAIMS:
Trump incorrectly said the FDA approved a drug for treatment of COVID-19. That’s not true, according to the FDA.
Bloomberg: “At a press conference at the White House Thursday, Trump and the head of the FDA gave apparently conflicting comments about the availability of the drug. Trump said chloroquine had been approved and could be given to patients by doctors with a prescription…Minutes later, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, said that use of the drug would be in a clinical trial to find out whether or not it works, and if so, what dose would safe and effective.”
Trump falsely claimed the United States was “surprised” by coronavirus. The outbreak was headline news for weeks before it entered our country, but Trump did nothing to prepare for it and he remains far behind other countries in responding to the outbreak.
TRUMP: “I would view it as is something that just surprised the whole world. And if people would have known about it, it could have been stopped in place. … China, if we would have known about it, if they would have known about it.”
Reuters: “The first coronavirus case in the U.S. and South Korea was detected on the same day. By late January, Seoul had medical companies starting to work on a diagnostic test — one was approved a week later. Today, the U.S. isn’t even close to meeting test demand”
Trump lied that nobody “in their wildest dreams” would’ve thought we needed tens of thousands of ventilators.
TRUMP: “Nobody in their wildest dreams would’ve ever thought we needed tens of thousands of ventilators.”
Washington Post: “A planning study run by the federal government in 2005 estimated that if America were struck with a moderate pandemic like the 1957 influenza, the country would need more than 64,000 ventilators. If we were struck with a severe pandemic like the 1918 Spanish flu, we would need more than 740,000 ventilators — many times more than are available.”
Trump falsely claimed that he was prepared for coronavirus and then blamed the media for unfairly covering the crisis.
TRUMP: “We were very prepared… The only thing we weren’t prepared for was the media. The media has not treated it fairly.”
New York Times: “A Cascade of Warnings, Heard but Unheeded, Before Virus Outbreak”
FAILED TO LEAD:
Trump refused to take responsibility for ignoring early warnings about a looming medical supplies shortage and instead blamed governors, saying the federal government isn’t supposed to help states obtain medical supplies or testing.
CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Asked why he isn’t pulling the trigger re using Defense Production Act, Trump says: ‘Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work…the federal government’s not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of item and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.’”
CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Trump says the same goes for coronavirus testing — ‘the governors are supposed to be doing it,” not the federal government.”