[Jan. 22:] “Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?”
The president responded: “No. Not at all. And 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.”
…Trump, however, repeatedly told Americans that there was no reason to worry. On Jan. 24, he tweeted, “It will all work out well.” On Jan. 28, he retweeted a headline from One America News, an outlet with a history of spreading false conspiracy theories: “Johnson & Johnson to create coronavirus vaccine.” On Jan 30, during a speech in Michigan, he said: “We have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully.”
…[Jan. 31:] “Coronavirus,” Hannity said. “How concerned are you?”
Trump replied: “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.”
…The Trump administration could have begun to use a functioning test from the World Health Organization, but didn’t. It could have removed regulations that prevented private hospitals and labs from quickly developing their own tests, but didn’t.
…On Feb. 10, he repeatedly said — in a speech to governors, at a campaign rally and in an interview with Trish Regan of Fox Business — that warm spring weather could kill the virus. “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away,” he told the rally.
On Feb. 19, he told a Phoenix television station, “I think the numbers are going to get progressively better as we go along.” Four days later, he pronounced the situation “very much under control,” and added: “We had 12, at one point. And now they’ve gotten very much better. Many of them are fully recovered.”
…He criticized CNN and MSNBC for “panicking markets.” He said at a South Carolina rally — falsely — that “the Democrat policy of open borders” had brought the virus into the country. He lashed out at “Do Nothing Democrat comrades.” He tweeted about “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer,” mocking Schumer for arguing that Trump should be more aggressive in fighting the virus. The next week, Trump would blame an Obama administration regulation for slowing the production of test kits. There was no truth to the charge.
Throughout late February, Trump also continued to claim the situation was improving. On Feb. 26, he said: “We’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up.” On Feb. 27, he predicted: “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.” On Feb. 29, he said a vaccine would be available “very quickly” and “very rapidly” and praised his administration’s actions as “the most aggressive taken by any country.” None of these claims were true.
…The inconsistent and sometimes outright incorrect information coming from the White House has left Americans unsure of what, if anything, to do.
…“We’re talking about a much smaller range” of deaths than from the flu, he said on March 2. “It’s very mild,” he told Hannity on March 4. On March 7, he said, “I’m not concerned at all.” On March 10, he promised: “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
…Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services, told ABC, “There is no testing kit shortage, nor has there ever been.” Trump, while touring the CDC on March 6, said, “Anybody that wants a test can get a test.”
…He brought up issues that had nothing to do with the virus, like his impeachment. He made clear that he cared more about his image than about people’s well-being, [emphasis: Peanut Gallery] by explaining that he favored leaving infected passengers on a cruise ship so they wouldn’t increase the official number of American cases. He also suggested that he knew as much as any scientist:
“I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”
… In the United States, scientists expect that between tens of millions and 215 million Americans will ultimately be infected, and the death toll could range from the tens of thousands to 1.7 million.
At every point, experts have emphasized that the country could reduce those terrible numbers by taking action. And at almost every point, the president has ignored their advice and insisted, “It’s going to be just fine.”
the nice lady with the emails was right, he’s going to get us killed.