For months, the president has downplayed the severity of the pandemic, overstated the impact of his policies and potential treatments, blamed others and tried to rewrite the history of his response.
By Linda Qiu March 27, 2020
Hours after the United States became the nation with the largest number of reported coronavirus cases on Thursday, President Trump appeared on Fox News and expressed doubt about shortages of medical supplies, boasted about the country’s testing capacity, and criticized his predecessor’s response to an earlier outbreak of a different disease.
“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,” he said, alluding to a request by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York. The president made the statement in spite of government reports predicting shortages in a severe pandemic — and he reversed course on Friday morning, calling for urgent steps to produce more ventilators.
Speaking on Fox on Thursday, Mr. Trump suggested wrongly that because of his early travel restrictions on China, “a lot of the people decided to go to Italy instead” — though Italy had issued a more wide-ranging ban on travel from China and done so earlier than the United States. And at a White House briefing on Friday, he wrongly said he was the “first one” to impose restrictions on China. North Korea, for one, imposed restrictions 10 days before the United States.
He misleadingly claimed again on Friday that “we’ve tested now more than anybody.” In terms of raw numbers, the United States has tested more people for the coronavirus than Italy and South Korea but still lags behind in tests per capita.
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