Saturday, March 14, 2020

Coronavirus crisis history and updates - When it comes to Trump, the buck stops nowhere

At The Bulwark Jonathan V. Last makes this observation in a Cult Watch.

In the space of two days we seem to have gone from:

  • This is all a hoax perpetrated by the media to get Trump. The Wuhan Flu is nothing more than the common cold!


  • President Trump has done an amazing job rallying the country in the face of this deadly emergency. It’s a heroic response, especially compared to how Biden-Obama screwed up H1N1.

So how did we get from there/then to here/now?

Tim Miller, writing at The Bulwark, presents [The Coronavirus According to Donald Trump][miller]. A tick-tock of the President’s remarks over the last seven weeks as the COVID–19 viral disease outbreak grew into a pandemic.

Before Trumpworld memory-holes this, we’ve compiled a list of the most egregious false or misleading statements from the president and his top advisers about the coronavirus.

So keep this around. Print it out. Forward it to your friends. Keep it for your files. And check back for updates.

January 22: Trump: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

February 2: Trump: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

February 10: Trump: “A lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat—as the heat comes in.”

White House acting budget director Russell Vought: “Coronavirus is not something that is going to have ripple effects.”

February 24: Trump: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… . Stock Market starting to look very good to me.”

Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow: “You should seriously consider buying these [stock market] dips”

[Note: The Dow Jones ended February 24 at 27,960. It closed March 11 at 23,553.]

February 26: Trump: “[The number of people infected is] going very substantially down, not up.” “The 15 [cases] within a couple of days, is going to be down to zero.” [Note: Two weeks later, as we compiled this list on March 11, there were over 1,000 confirmed cases in the United States.]

February 27: Trump: “It’s going to disappear one day, it’s like a miracle.”

February 28: Eric Trump: “In my opinion, it’s a great time to buy stocks or into your 401k. I would be all in … let’s see if I’m right.” [Note: The stock market closed at 25,409 on February 28. It closed at 23,553 on March 11.]

March 2: Trump on a coronavirus vaccine: “I’ve heard very quick numbers, that of months.” [Note: Immunologist Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has repeatedly said that a vaccine will not be available for a year or year and a half.]

March 6: Trump: “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.”

Trump: “I didn’t know people died from the flu.”

Trump on whether or not to bring coronavirus patients on a cruise ship to shore: “I like the numbers being where they are.”

Trump: “Anybody who wants a test gets a test.” [Note. This was a lie at the time and remains dangerously untrue today. The previous day, Vice President Mike Pence said, “We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.”]

Larry Kudlow: “We stopped it, it was a very early shut down, I would still argue to you that this thing is contained.”

Larry Kudlow: “Investors should think about buying these dips.” [Note: The Dow Jones closed at 25,864 on March 6, over 2,300 points lower than the previous time Kudlow suggested investors “buy the dip.”]

March 9: Trump: “Good for the consumer, gasoline prices coming down!”

Trump: “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.”

March 10: Trump: “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

March 11: Trump: “If we get rid of the coronavirus problem quickly, we won’t need [economic] stimulus.”

Trump [in response to a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta asking what he would “say to Americans who say you are not taking this seriously enough and that some of your statements don’t match what health experts are saying”]: “That’s CNN. Fake news.”

March 12: Trump: “We have ’em very heavily tested. If an American’s coming back, or anybody’s coming back, we’re testing. We have a tremendous testing setup where people coming in have to be tested. And if they are positive, and if they’re able to get through—because, frankly, if they’re not, we’re not putting them on planes, if it shows positive…” [Note. This is not true.]

The “fake news” playbook reaches its limits when people are dying and forced to self-quarantine in their homes.

Over the past seven weeks, the president promised the country the virus would go away within a couple of days, then promised it would go away by April. He and his advisers repeatedly advised the public to buy stocks as the market plunged and stocks lost value.

These comments were not your usual Trumpian word salad. They were direct and declarative statements that happened amidst an ongoing outbreak—a national emergency and global pandemic—that required the U.S. government to be transparent, forthcoming, and responsive.

Finally, on Wednesday night he attempted a pivot to taking the growing threat seriously, mere hours after dismissing concerns as fake news.

Why would anyone trust or believe him?

UPDATE: Trump held a press conference Friday in which a parade of CEO’s and government officials to a [wo]man lavished praise on King Donald for his timely and appropriate actions. (Scriber’s observation.)

Here are some reactions.

Remember this? Did Trump Administration Fire the US Pandemic Response Team? As a new coronavirus spread in 2020, so did concerns about the United States’ preparedness for a potential pandemic.
Snopes rates it as true.

Joy Reid on Twitter: “I don’t take responsibility at all.” That’s the headline from today’s Trump statement and press conference.

Twitter: President Trump calls @Yamiche’s question “nasty.” Then, when she tries to follow up, he talks over her, and the White House staff silences her mic.

Also of note: BuzzFeed News reports: 7 Times Trump Shook Hands Or Touched People At The Coronavirus Press Conference. Trump declared a national emergency due to the coronavirus. He also touched a lot of hands. Remember Rick Wilson’s obsevation? Everything (now every one) Trump touches dies. I hope not for sake of those who got the touch.

Only one CEO did the elbow-bump with Trump in lieu of a handshake.

[Paul Krugman] observes It’s a MAGA Microbe Meltdown. Trump utterly fails to rise to his first real crisis.

The good: In any case, it’s clear what we should be doing now that there must already be thousands of cases all across the United States. We need to slow the disease’s spread by creating “social distance” — banning large gatherings, encouraging those who can to work from home — and quarantining hot spots. This may or may not be enough to prevent tens of millions from getting sick, but even spreading out the pandemic over time would help prevent it from overloading the health care system, greatly reducing the number of deaths.

The bad: According to Reuters, the Trump administration has ordered health agencies to treat all coronavirus deliberations as classified. This makes no sense and is indeed destructive in terms of public policy, but it makes perfect sense if the administration doesn’t want the public to know how its actions are endangering American lives.

I suppose we should be glad that at least something is happening to lessen the impact of the coronavirus. But the Real Donald Trump made his appearance Friday.

What we’re seeing here is a meltdown — not just a meltdown of the markets, but a meltdown of Trump’s mind. When bad things happen, there are only three things he knows how to do: insist that things are great and his policies are perfect, cut taxes, and throw money at his cronies.

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