“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call with Woodward. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”
Speaking to reporters for weeks afterward, however, Trump repeatedly played down the threat, suggesting that it was not much more dangerous than the seasonal flu.
For instance, on Feb. 26, Trump said, “This is a flu. This is like a flu.”
And on March 14, he said, “You know, we have flu in our country that kills, on average, 36,000 people a year — 36,000 people. And, you know, that’s something that we’re not talking about. But as of this moment, we’ve lost 50” from the coronavirus.
A cynic might suggest that Trump wanted to keep things calm because he was concerned that a plunging stock market would harm his chances for reelection. But let’s lay that aside for the moment and consider Trump’s explanation that he does not want to create panic.
That might be news to the President Trump running for reelection. His YouTube video channel is filled with apocalyptic images of violence, economic despair and disaster. So are the president’s speeches and news availabilities, including at the same venue where he said he did not want to create panic.
Here’s a sampling, drawn mainly from our database of Trump’s false and misleading claims:
“Radical justices will erase the Second Amendment, silence political speech and require taxpayers to fund extreme late-term abortion. They will give unelected bureaucrats the power to destroy millions of American jobs. They will remove the words ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance. They will unilaterally declare the death penalty unconstitutional, even for the most depraved mass murderers. They will erase national borders, cripple police departments and grant new protections to anarchists, rioters, violent criminals and terrorists.”
— Sept. 9
“Joe Biden and the radical, socialist Democrats would immediately collapse the economy. If they got in, they would collapse it. You’ll have a crash the likes of which you’ve never seen before. Your stocks, your 401(k)s.”
— Sept. 7
“Biden wants to surrender our country to the virus, he wants to surrender our families to the violent left-wing mob, and he wants to surrender our jobs to China — our jobs and our economic well-being.”
— Sept. 7
“Biden’s strategy is to surrender to the left-wing mob, which is exactly what he’s doing — I don’t think he even knows what he’s doing — and give them control over every lever of power in the United States government. But when you surrender to the mob, you don’t get freedom; you get fascism. That’s what happens in all cases. You take a look at Venezuela. Look what — look what’s going on there and other places.”
— Aug. 31
“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”
— July 3
“In Joe Biden’s America, rioters, looters and criminal aliens have more rights than law-abiding citizens, and that’s true.”
— June 20
“The entire Democratic field supports deadly sanctuary cities, which release dangerous criminals to terrorize your communities right here in North Carolina, believe it or not.”
— March 2
“Every major Democrat running for president has pledged to eliminate gas-powered automobiles and destroy the U.S. auto industry forever.”
— Dec. 18
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