Fact check: Trump denies saying anything else he said and makes more false statements during the coronavirus briefing


Speaking Tuesday at the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump denied making a comment that he made. He criticized the World Health Organization for the same thing he had done before. He wrongly implied that he was the only national leader to impose travel restrictions on China. He said he “authorized” governors to lift restrictions on coronaviruses even though that power still lay with the governors. He again falsely claimed that “no one ever thought” that there would be a crisis like this. And he repeated some of his favorite false claims about his tariffs on China.

Here’s a look at Trump’s claims and the facts about them.

After criticizing the World Health Organization for praising China’s supposed transparency on the coronavirus, Trump was urged to praise his own for China’s supposed transparency. “I’m not talking about China’s transparency,” replied Trump. “You know, if I’m so good for China, how come I’m the only person, the only leader in a country who has closed our borders against China? “

The facts first: Trump praised China and its president, Xi Jinping, for its supposed transparency. In addition, Trump has not completely stopped travel between China and the United States; nearly 40,000 people have traveled from China to the United States after announcing travel restrictions, according to an April 4 New York Times analysis data collected in both countries. And Trump was far from the only leader to impose travel restrictions from China. A Washington Post Analysis found that 38 countries have imposed significant travel restrictions on China “before or at the same time as the US restrictions were put in place.” (The Post’s analysis did not count 12 other countries “that took some action before the United States but with measures that were not as drastic.”)

Trump has explicitly praised China for its “transparency” related to the virus. Sure January 24, he tweeted, “China has been working very hard to contain the coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and their transparency “and that” in particular, on behalf of the American people, I want to thank President Xi! (On March 21, Trump defended his original claim that China had acted transparently, arguing that “China was transparent at the time, but when we saw what happened, they could have be transparent much earlier than they have been. ”)

Trump constantly downplays the severity of his travel restrictions to China. They did not constitute a complete closure of the border: they did not apply to United States citizens, permanent residents or to many family members of citizens and permanent residents. The New York Times reported that nearly 40,000 people have traveled to the United States from China since Trump’s restrictions took effect on February 2.

“Allow” the governors to reopen

Trump said at the Monday briefing that he has “full” authority to decide when states will lift their social and economic restrictions related to coronaviruses. Going back on Tuesday, he said, “I will speak to the 50 governors very soon and then allow each governor of each state to implement a reopening and a very powerful reopening plan for their state both in and out of it. most appropriate way. “

The facts first: Trump asserted the authority of many jurists say it does not have one. There is no legislation that explicitly gives the power to authorize (or refuse to authorize) governors to lift their own restrictions, and many jurists argue that governors have long-standing constitutional authority over matters public health in their states. In other words, Trump was claiming to give governors room to maneuver that was never his to distribute in the first place.

Trump’s assertion on Tuesday came against the backdrop of his reversing his suggestion on Monday to force the governors to lift the restrictions against their will. On Tuesday, he asserted power while saying that he was not going to use everything. But the claim was still inaccurate.

As we explained after Trump said on Monday that “the president has complete authority” over restrictions against coronaviruses, there is no law that explicitly empowers the president to override state public health measures. Many jurists said on Monday that states have well-established constitutional authority to resolve public health issues. Some Republican lawmakers, including Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, also denounced Trump’s statement on Monday.

Trump also said on Tuesday that he would keep close watch on the governors and that he would “attack them very hard” if they did not do a good job. He may have meant that he would criticize them strongly or do something else in his power.

You can read a full fact check on Trump’s claim Monday here.

Trump’s opinion on funding for the Kennedy Center

Trump said on Tuesday that he “hated” a $ 2.2 trillion pandemic relief bill that provided $ 25 million to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. He accused the Democrats of this provision.

“The last time, they put Kennedy Center. I hated putting Kennedy Center. I have a lot of respect for Kennedy Center, but I hated putting it in the bill because it just isn’t appropriate, right? But they wanted it for some reason; they had their own political reason. And, John, I said, “Look at the way it explodes. “And it exploded – I think it exploded in their faces,” said Trump.

The facts first: Trump defended funding for the Kennedy Center the day the Senate passed the relief bill, March 25. he then say that “they need funding” because “the Kennedy Center has suffered a lot because nobody can go there”.

Trump told reporters on March 25 that he believed funding for the Kennedy Center would be a “lousy bite,” and noted that it was a Democratic request. But he also said, “I’ll tell you what: I approved of it. And he said, “I’m a fan of that,” although he doesn’t know if he was referring to the funding arrangement in particular or to the Kennedy Center itself. He then complimented the Kennedy Center by saying that “they are doing a great job”.

In a March 26 Fox News interview, Trump described funding for the Kennedy Center as a concession to the Democrats that was less objectionable than the other concessions the Republicans had to make.

“So we end up giving them something for the Kennedy Center.” We end up giving them something for – much worse than that. Listen, say whatever you want about the Kennedy Center … you know, the Kennedy Center has been hit hard. I mean, there are not too many people watching, I said today: “Romeo and Juliet,” OK? … You can’t really get in because of – what’s going on with the virus. But beyond – far beyond the Kennedy Center, we give things we don’t want to give. “

How unexpected the coronavirus crisis was

At Tuesday’s briefing, Trump blamed any shortage of medical equipment or resources on past administrations and reiterated his belief that no one could have been prepared for the current situation because these circumstances were unforeseen. “In fairness to previous administrations, no one has ever thought that something like this was going to happen,” said the president.

The facts first: It’s wrong. The American intelligence community and public health experts have warned for years that the country is threatened by a pandemic. Experts also warned that the country would face a shortage of essential medical equipment, such as ventilators, in the event of a pandemic.

You can read here a full fact check on some of the pandemic warnings. Here you can read a full check of the facts regarding the warnings about the need for additional fans in the event of a pandemic.

Trade with China

After CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked if the president wanted to reverse his previous comments praising China for its transparency, Trump replied that he was “still respectful of China.” He then highlighted the trade agreements signed between the United States and China, saying that China had paid the United States “nothing in any previous administration.” Later, he added, “They also pay us 25% or $ 250 billion in customs duties. So we take – wait a minute – we take billions of dollars for China, from China. They never paid us 10 cents. This is a good thing. “

The facts first: Study after study has shown that Americans, not China, pay most of the cost of Trump’s tariffs. Other than that, it is not true that the Treasury never received “10 cents” from tariffs on China or obtained “nothing in any previous administration.” The United States has applied tariffs to China for more than two centuries. FactCheck.org reported that the United States generated “an average of $ 12.3 billion in customs duties per year from 2007 to 2016, according to the American Commission for International Trade DataWeb”.


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