Fact-checking: Trump, leader of the wartime pandemic or “backup”?

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WASHINGTON – Is he a war president or a fulcrum? President Donald Trump seems to be going back and forth on this point, or back and forth at the same time, to respond to the coronavirus pandemic which is killing more people on the hour.

In his recent rhetoric, the president who declared “It is a war” and invoked wartime powers to direct the production and shipment of essential medical supplies sought to avoid responsibility for the continuing shortages. “The federal government,” he told the governor of New York, “is only support for state governments. Meanwhile, the government has changed its online description of the national stock to put state responsibility more at the center.

And after public health officials have warned that infection and death are spreading unnecessarily fast because Americans don’t follow social distancing guidelines the way they should, Trump said incongruously that we should all to be “thrilled” with the way it is going. Separately, he boasted incorrectly of his Facebook followers.

A look at how some of the statements from last week compare to the facts:

The threat

ASSET, on a warning that had just been issued by Dr. Deborah Birx of the coronavirus task force that more Americans should take into account the distancing steps ordered by many states and recommended by Washington: “It was not referring to our country, it referred to a state. “- briefing Thursday.

FACTS: No, she was talking about more Americans overall who had to stay away from each other. Specifically, Birx said the epidemic would not now spread to areas with low infection rates if everyone followed the directions. Instead, officials are now seeing cases of people infected after the directives came into effect.

“This shouldn’t happen in new places if people socialize, wash their hands, don’t get together in large groups of more than 10 people,” she said during the briefing where Trump then tried to reduce his warning of concern about “the headlines of tomorrow.”

Birx said, “We see Spain, we see Italy, we see France, we see Germany. When we see others begin to bend their curves, we can bend ours. But that means that everyone has to assume the same responsibility as the Americans. Bending the curve means flattening the rate of increase in cases.

She added, “Yes. There are states that are completely flat. But, you know, everything – what changes the curve is a new Detroit, a new Chicago, a new New Orleans, a new Colorado. “


ASSET: “Four weeks ago, we had the largest economy in the history of the world. The largest in the world – the largest in the history of the world. “- briefing Thursday.

FACTS: Not true. The economy was healthy at the time, but not the best in the history of the United States, let alone the history of the world.

The economic gains have largely followed the lines of an expansion that began over a decade ago under President Barack Obama. And while posting good job and stock market results, Trump never managed to achieve the economic growth rates he promised in the 2016 campaign. The US economy was not the best in the world in history when it started.


ASSET, going back to this period four weeks ago: “And then, one day, I receive a call from Deborah, who is fantastic, and from Dr. Fauci. And he said and she said, “We have a problem. I said, “What’s the problem?” And they said, “We may have to close it.” I said, “Close what?” They said, “Close the country.” And I said, “What’s all this about? “- briefing Thursday.

FACTS: You think Trump just learned of the outbreak of Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health during the phone call. This is not the case.

Trump knew that the United States had “a problem” long before this timeline in early March.

At that time, the United States had restricted international travel, had their first coronavirus infections, and were told to expect the epidemic to spread across the country. The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on January 30.


VICE-PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: “I don’t think the president has ever belittled the threat of the coronavirus. – Interview with CNN Wednesday.

MITCH McCONNELL, Leader of the majority in the Senate: The coronavirus crisis “occurred while we were tied up in the indictment trial. And I think it drew the attention of the government, because everything, every day was a matter of removal. “- Tuesday interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt.

FACTS: Although Pence claims that Trump has always treated the viral threat seriously, McConnell suggests that Trump may not have it because he was distracted by the impeachment. None of these claims is credible.

Trump says he would have done nothing more quickly on the virus, without impeachment. And he actually belittled the coronavirus threat several times from January to mid-March, retaining his position even after the Senate acquitted him on February 5 in his impeachment trial. He dismissed the threat as a small number of US cases that were “under control” and would fall to zero by April.

On February 10, he said “we’re in great shape … we have 12 cases” and told Fox Business that everything would be fine because “in April, supposedly, he died with the warmer weather. “And it’s a great date we’re looking forward to. ”

“When you have 15 people, and the number 15 in the next few days is almost zero, it’s a very good job we did,” he said on February 26. A day later, he said, “It’s going to go away. One day – it’s like a miracle – it will go away “

“The world is boiling but it will work,” Trump told the National County Association on March 3. Along the way, he said the Democrats who called on him to do more were perpetuating a hoax.

On March 9, he tweeted the 546 cases and 22 deaths recorded in the United States at that time were no reason to take drastic action: “Nothing is closed, life and the economy continue.” “

Trump now recognizes that the U.S. could see 100,000 to 240,000 pandemic deaths, even if the current distancing guidelines are maintained. When asked on Tuesday whether the impeachment process had diverted him from the response of the American coronavirus, he replied, “I don’t think I would have acted differently or I don’t think I would have acted faster . “


Social media

ASSET: “I have, you know, hundreds of millions of people. Number one on Facebook. Did you know that I was number one on Facebook? I mean, I just found out that I’m number one on Facebook. I thought it was fine for anything. “- press briefing Wednesday.

FACTS: It doesn’t mean anything because it’s not true. It is far from No. 1.

Trump has 29 million Facebook followers, well below former President Barack Obama, who has 54 million. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese footballer, has 126 million.


Medical supplies

ASSET: “We are a backup. We are not an order clerk. We are a backup. “- briefing Thursday.

FACTS: He has not been entirely consistent on what he views as federal responsibility and his own as president.

On the one hand, he calls himself “in a sense, a wartime president” and maximizes every opportunity to take credit for the silver liners during the crisis. But he doesn’t want to be blamed for things going wrong.

He traveled to Norfolk, Virginia, to send a Presidential President to Comfort, the Navy hospital ship, as he sailed for New York, where his primary function is to house non-COVID- patients. 19 to relieve pressure on the city. hospitals.

He used the defense production law, which is rarely used, but so far has used it more as a tool for persuasion than as a way to order the private sector to make more of what the country needs. But he resisted calls to issue a national home stay order and said that the primary responsibility for emergency supplies rests with the states.

On Friday, the Department of Health and Social Services revised its description of the national strategic stock to minimize its usefulness in the pandemic. The new wording appeared a day after Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, said that the federal stock was “supposed to be our stock,” that is, the federal government. “These are not supposed to be the state stocks they use next. “”

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