Donald Trump speaks with Fox TV at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, May 3 2020
In his latest lie about the Coronavirus crisis, Donald Trump says he was not told by US intelligence agencies until January 23 about the outbreak.
In a “Town Hall” on pro-Trump Fox TV on Sunday night, Trump also downplayed the information as unimportant:
On January 23rd, I was told that there could be a virus coming in but it was of no real import. In other words it wasn’t, “Oh we gotta do something, we gotta do something.” It was a brief conversation and it was only on January 23rd.
In fact, Trump received information from intelligence agencies soon after Chinese officials confirmed the outbreak on January 3 to the Center.
But multiple US officials say Trump ignored the intelligence in the President’s Daily Brief from mid-January throughout February.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar briefed Trump about the threat on January 18, but Trump ignored the warning and changed the subject to vaping.
On January 22, two days after confirmation of the first US case, Trump said in a TV interview, “We have [Coronavirus] totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
At the end of January, Azar tried again to brief Trump but was told that he was being “alarmist”.
Trump declared in late February, after the initial outbreak in Washington State and as the virus was moving undetected in areas such as New York, “Within a couple of days, [it] is going to be down to close to zero…It’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
He told the Conservative Political Action Conference that the virus was no worse than flu,: “The reason [the media] are paying so much attention to it today is that they think this is going to bring down the president.”
And on March 10, the day before the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, Trump said, “Just stay calm. It will go away.”
A Town Hall of Disinformation
Trump declared on Sunday that his inaction had saved “millions of lives”.
Pushing aside his initial denials of “close to zero”, he belatedly acknowledged that the death toll — now more than 67,000 — could be up to 100,000.
But he tried to push blame on others such as China and pushed false claims that the Obama Administration had done nothing about illnesses: “We will be AIDS-free within 8 years. We started, 10 years. Should’ve started in the previous administration. They did nothing. It started at my administration.”
Both the George W. Bush and Obama Administrations pursued comprehensive programs to combat AIDS at home and abroad. The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, helped people with HIV gain health insurance coverage.
Trump continued to assail Democratic Governors such as Washington’s Jay Inslee and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, lying that State leaders had not raised concerns about the Federal Government’s failure to supply medical equipment and provide testing.
Continuing to cover up his ignorance or dismissal of medical advice, Trump falsely claimed that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s infectious diseases expert, said the Coronavirus was “going to pass, not going to be a big deal”.
Scrambling over his promotion of hydroxylchloroquine as a “wonder cure”, Trump continued to push false information about the anti-malaria drug.
Trials have failed established any palliative effect and instead have highlighted potentially deadly side effects. But Trump minimized the findings and insisted, “There were studies that came out that say it’s very good.”