As CORVID-19 transitions to being a huge issue in the US, it might be easy to forget how we arrived here. Below is an incomplete chronology of quotes, mainly from Trump. (Note some of the list I cribbed from reddit).
January 3: The CDC is first alerted to a public health event in Wuhan, China
January 8: CDC issues first warning.
January 18: Trump dismissed January coronavirus warnings from Health Secretary Alex Azar as ‘alarmist’. Was more interested in vaping ban.
January 22: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
January 29: WH internal memo by Peter Navarro: “The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil,” the memo said. “This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.”
January 30: “We have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully”
February 2: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
February 7: “Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!”
February 9: (Trump) shared with Fox News his view that “China is very, you know, professionally run, in the sense that they have everything under control. I really believe they are going to have it under control fairly soon.”
- Trump erroneously states, “The heat, generally speaking, kills this kind of virus,” he told a meeting. “A lot of people think that goes away in April as the heat comes in.”Trump says without evidence that the coronavirus “dies with the hotter weather”
- “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”
- “I really believe they are going to have it under control fairly soon. You know in April, supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather. And that’s a beautiful date to look forward to.”
February 13: “We think and we hope, based on all signs that the problem goes away in April.”
- “There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm ― historically, that has been able to kill the virus. So we don’t know yet; we’re not sure yet.”
- “I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus.”
February 19: “I think the numbers are going to get progressively better as we go along”
February 20: Stock Market crashes
February 24: 53 Confirmed Cases
- “is very well under control in our country,” Trump told reporters, adding, “We have very few people with it, and the people that have it are in all cases [doing well], I have not heard anything other [than that].”
- Trump tweets that the virus “is very much under control” and the stock market “starting to look very good to me!”
- “We’re really down to probably 10, most of the people are outside of danger right now.”
February 25: 57 Confirmed Cases
- “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”
- “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”
- A senior White House official falsely claims the virus has been “contained”
- Trump falsely claims Ebola mortality was “a virtual 100%”
- Trump falsely claims “nobody had ever even heard of Ebola” in 2014
February 26: 60 Confirmed Cases
- Trump wrongly says the coronavirus “is a flu”
- Trump wrongly says the flu death rate is “much higher” than Dr. Sanjay Gupta said
- “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”
- “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”
February 27: “It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
February 28: 63 Confirmed Cases
- Trump baselessly hints at an immigration link to the virus
- At a rally in South Carolina – “They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything. They tried it over and over. They’d been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning. They lost. It’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax.“
- “Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus, you know that, right? Coronavirus, they’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs. You say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’ They go, ‘Oh, not good, not good.’ They have no clue. They don’t have any clue.”
- “We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”
February 29: Trump exaggerates Tim Cook’s comments about Apple and China
March 1: Azar wrongly says 3,600 people have been tested
March 2: 100 Confirmed Cases
- Trump falsely claims “nobody knew” the number of US flu deaths
- Trump says a vaccine is coming “relatively soon”
- “You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?”
- “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”
March 4: 158 Confirmed Cases
- “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”
- Trump falsely claims Obama impeded testing
- Trump wrongly says as many as 100,000 people died of the flu in 1990
- Trump says “the borders are automatically shut down”
- Trump says he believes there was a coronavirus death in New York, though there hadn’t been one
- Trump falsely claims the Obama administration “didn’t do anything” about H1N1
March 5: 221 Confirmed Cases
- “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”
- “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”
- Trump misleadingly describes a Gallup poll relating to his handling of the virus
- Trump wrongly claims the virus only hit the US “three weeks ago”
March 6: 319 Confirmed Cases
- “I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”
- “Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. And the tests are beautiful…. the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”
- “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.”
- “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”
- As the number of cases and deaths in Italy rises, Trump says the number is “getting much better”
- Trump exaggerates the number of people on the Grand Princess cruise ship
- Trump falsely says US coronavirus numbers “are lower than just about anybody”
- Trump baselessly muses that “maybe” the coronavirus improved US jobs numbers
- “It came out of China… we closed it down, we stopped it.”
- Azar wrongly claims there is no test shortage
- Trump says he crisis is “an unforeseen problem” that “came out of nowhere”.
March 8: “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”
March 9: 704 Confirmed Cases
- Pence says Trump’s “priority” was getting Americans off the ship
- “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant.”
- “This blindsided the world.”
March 10: “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
- “We’re having to fix a problem that, four weeks ago, nobody ever thought would be a problem“
- “Our team is doing a great job with CoronaVirus!”
March 13: 2,183 Confirmed Cases
- National Emergency Declaration
- “I don’t take responsibility at all”
March 14: “It’s something that nobody expected“
March 15: “TODAY IS A NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER. GOD BLESS EVERYONE!”
March 16: “I give myself a 10 out of 10“
March 17: “I’ve felt it was a pandemic before it was called a pandemic. All you had to do was look at other countries…I have always viewed it as very serious.”
March 23: 43,781 Confirmed Cases
- Trump: WE NEED BORDERS
- Sean Hannity: “Anyone that says they saw this coming is full of it”
- WE CANT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM
- “We’ve never closed down the country for the flu. So you say to yourself, ‘What is this all about?’”
March 25: 68,211 Confirmed Cases
- “The LameStream Media is the dominant force in trying to get me to keep our Country closed as long as possible in the hope that it will be detrimental to my election success. The real people want to get back to work ASAP. We will be stronger than ever before!”
March 26: 81,896 Confirmed Cases
- The USA has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world.
March 28: 123,578 Confirmed Cases
- “I say Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington, you’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan. It doesn’t make any difference what happens. You know what I say? If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.”
- “The federal government’s done a hell of a job”
March 29: “My administration has done a job on really working across government and with the private sector, and it’s been incredible. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, I have to say.”
March 31: 163,788 Confirmed Cases
- “I haven’t heard about testing in weeks,” Trump said on the call. “We’ve tested more now than any nation in the world. We’ve got these great tests…. I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”
- “I don’t think I would have done any better if I had not been impeached,” Trump told reporters in the White House briefing room Tuesday evening. “I don’t think I would have acted any differently, or I don’t think I would have acted any faster.”
- “I think I handled it pretty well, but I guess it probably did. I mean, I got impeached. I think you know I certainly devoted a little time to thinking about it, right?” Trump said, referring to his impeachment as a “hoax” perpetrated by House Democrats.
- “I knew everything. I knew it could be horrible, I knew it could be maybe good,” Trump said. “I don’t want to be a negative person.”
- “This is really easy to be negative about. But I want to give people hope too. You know I’m a cheerleader for the country – we are going through the worst thing that the country has probably ever seen,” Trump said.
- Pence: “I don’t believe the president has ever belittled the threat of the coronavirus.”
- “I don’t think I would have done any better had I not been impeached, okay?” Trump said. “And I think that’s a great tribute to something, maybe it’s a tribute to me, but I don’t think I would have acted any differently, or I don’t think I would have acted any faster.”
April 2: 240,344 Confirmed Cases, 5,807 Dead
- Trump at the White House coronavirus press briefing: “I just found out I’m number one on Facebook. I thought that was very nice. For whatever it means, it represents something.”
April 3: 273,777 Confirmed Cases, 7,028 Dead
- “It’s Not Like We Have a Massive Recession or Worse,” Says Trump After 10 Million Lost Their Jobs in Two Weeks
Some other useful links
- The Atlantics ‘This Is Trump’s Fault‘
- The Bulwalk has a COVID-19 timeline article, that covers prior years events too.
- Politifact has a good timeline article.
- The Independent newspaper which has a helpful graph of quotes and timeline.
- Mercury News goes through many of these quotes and fact checks them.
- The Financial Times some good information with lots of graphs/stats.
- Bloomberg has CORVID-19 tracking page.
- NBC Corona timeline
- How “World-Renowned Idiot” Donald Trump Has Changed His Coronavirus Story
“I’ve felt it was a pandemic before it was called a pandemic. All you had to do was look at other countries…I have always viewed it as very serious.”Donald TRUMP (MAR 17 2020)
Wait. What? If we believe him, that makes the months of saying ‘it’s not a problem’ much much worse after all he ‘felt’ it was a big problem. If he’s lying (what’s new) then after realizing it really is a problem he’s lying through his teeth. So now we are supposed to believe this guy who has just flipped 180 and now ‘doing stuff’ is doing the right things for the right reasons and doing them well? No. He’s still the same corrupt, lying, incompetent, gas-lighting narcissist he was before.
We also can’t forget the playing the violin whilst Rome burns meme that Trump tweeted out. It’s hilarious aMiRiTe? No. If it makes sense – it means he’s laughing at your adversity. Or it doesn’t make sense because he doesn’t understand what it means. Maybe it’s both.
In the past Trump and his administration has been described as malice tempered by incompetence. There is some truth here perhaps in that if he wasn’t so inept the amount of damage he could have inflicted could have been far worse.
With CV-19 we are in an exciting new phase of ‘malice and incompetence’.
In a normal world he would resign. But we know that’s not going to happen not least, because if he does and some of his surrounding lackeys are likely going to jail.
One thing Trump and co put a lot of time and effort into is lies and covering up. Unfortunately because Trump, the Republicans and the surrounding entourage of grifters, sycophants and apologists, the ‘checks and balances’ have been broken and ignored. Even inept cover ups work surprisingly well. The population at large deals with this largely by a combination of ignoring it and excuses.
There may have been a slight shift, even some conservative pundits are now openly criticizing him. I wouldn’t hold your breath for Republicans to do anything meaningful. They are all in on driving off the cliff.
That impeachment acquittal is not aging well is it? It was obvious then and now – forgetting everything else (like obvious crime) – Trump is unwilling and unable to do the job.
There is plenty more that can and should be said about this. I wrote this post mainly to record the prior events. Who knows quite how this will play out – but hoping for the best and preparing for the worst is sensible. That the next danger, over and above the obvious is, how Trump and Republicans will use “never let a good disaster go to waste”?
Don’t panic. Be safe and careful out there.