Back in March, I posted “The Top 10 Lies About President Trump’s Response to the Coronavirus.” It’s been just over four months since that post and an update seems to be in order because the lies just haven’t stopped. The media focused its attention on the coronavirus pandemic—after everything from the Russia collusion hoax to the bogus impeachment failed to oust President Trump. The pandemic would be their Hail Mary. Once they were no longer distracted by impeachment, the media began immediately to undermine public confidence in Trump’s response to the coronavirus, and continues to this day. Below I present ten more lies to add to the list.
10. Obama did a better job with H1N1
The common refrain from the left when comparisons are made between the government’s responses to H1N1 and COVID-19 is that only 12,469 died from H1N1, according to the CDC. But this leaves out important context. The CDC estimates that in the United States alone between April 12, 2009, and April 10, 2010, there were nearly 61 million cases of H1N1.
Based on these numbers, H1N1 had a mortality rate of .02 percent. According to the CDC’s latest estimate, the coronavirus has an overall mortality rate of .4 percent for symptomatic cases (or .26 percent if you include asymptomatic cases) meaning that the coronavirus is 13-20 times more deadly than H1N1.
The coronavirus is not only magnitudes more deadly than H1N1, but also more infectious. According to a study from Emerging Infectious Diseases, COVID-19 has a median R0 value (a mathematical term for how contagious a disease is) of 5.7, while H1N1 had an R0 value between 1.4 and 1.6. So, COVID-19 is nearly four times more infectious and 13-20 times more deadly than H1N1.
Ron Klain, who was Biden’s chief of staff at the time and is currently advising his campaign, says it was mere luck that H1N1 wasn’t more deadly. “It is purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of the great mass casualty events in American history,” Klain said of H1N1 in 2019. “It had nothing to do with us doing anything right. It just had to do with luck. If anyone thinks that this can’t happen again, they don’t have to go back to 1918, they just have to go back to 2009, 2010, and imagine a virus with a different lethality, and you can just do the math on that.”
I did the math. If H1N1 had been as infectious as the coronavirus and had the same mortality rate as the coronavirus, there would have been 231 million infections (that’s 70 percent of the country) and 600,704 deaths. Based on Obama’s handling of H1N1, he would have botched coronavirus pandemic too.
9. Trump fired government vaccine expert for questioning the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine
Back in April, the New York Times published a story claiming President Trump fired Dr. Rick Bright, a leading government vaccine expert, because Bright questioned hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness in treating COVID-19. The narrative was quickly spread throughout the mainstream media, but, as PJM’s Tyler O’Neil noted at the time, “Bright championed the use of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus,” and was actually transferred to the NIH, not fired, and was a champion of the controversial drug. “Dr. Bright, who served as director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), specifically asked the FDA to issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the emergency use of ‘oral formulations of chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate for the treatment of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).'” Bright also celebrated the FDA’s approval of hydroxychloroquine in internal emails published by Politico.
Bright may not have been happy about the transfer, but the bogus claim that he was fired for his opposition to hydroxychloroquine appears to have been made up by his lawyers, who, by what must be a complete coincidence </sarcasm>, happened to be Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.
8. Trump wants to reopen schools in spite of science against it
Last month, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany reiterated Trump’s call to reopen schools in the fall, pointing out that it’s “very damaging to our children” to be stuck at home. McEnany noted that other countries had successfully reopened schools and that the United States was “the outlier” by not doing so. She also reiterated that “The science is very clear on this,” that “the risk of critical illness from COVID is far less for children than that of seasonal flu.”
“The science is on our side here, and we encourage for localities and states to just simply follow the science, open our schools,” McEnany continued. “It’s very damaging to our children: There is a lack of reporting of abuse; there’s mental depressions that are not addressed; suicidal ideations that are not addressed when students are not in school. Our schools are extremely important, they’re essential, and they must reopen.”
Yet the media focused on a single sentence, taken out of context, to imply that Trump wanted to reopen schools in spite of the science. “The science should not stand in the way of this,” McEnany said, right before adding, “And as Dr. Scott Atlas said — I thought this was a good quote — ‘Of course, we can [do it]. Everyone else in the…Western world, our peer nations are doing it. We are the outlier here.'”
It was obvious that McEnany never meant to say or to imply that schools should reopen despite science saying it isn’t safe. She was arguing the exact opposite, but NBC News, the New York Times, The Guardian, PBS, the Daily Beast, the Washington Post, and many others deliberately took her out of context in their headlines.
It should be noted here that even the CDC director says it is “in the public health interest” to reopen schools for K-12 students.
7. Trump ignored experts by not shutting down the country earlier
Former Vice President Joe Biden has repeatedly attempted to blame President Trump for America’s coronavirus deaths because he didn’t shut down the country a month earlier than he did.
“This COVID epidemic has basically shut down the country these last three months. And, by the way, if we had shut it down a month earlier, we’d have probably another 45,000 to 60,000 people — would be alive instead of dead,” Biden said on June 1.
The World Health Organization didn’t even declare COVID-19 a pandemic until March 11. The next day, President Trump declared a national emergency. By then, there were only about 1,300 confirmed cases in the United States.
When President Trump released social-distancing guidelines on March 16, there were fewer than 3,800 confirmed cases in the United States.
While Joe Biden claimed the country should have been closed down a month earlier, he was still holding rallies. In fact, Biden held campaign rallies March 2, 3, 7, 9, 10 — all during the period he claimed the country should have already been shut down. Biden also delivered a speech in Pennsylvania four days after the state had declared a state of emergency. Despite the fact that Biden was holding campaign rallies into March, Biden claimed, “[Trump] didn’t listen to guys like me back in January saying we’d have a problem, an epidemic was on the way.” Biden was lying, and his actions prove this.
On February 16, a month prior to Trump’s social-distancing guidelines being issued, there were only 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. No one was advocating for the country to be shut down, not Joe Biden, not the experts, not even Congress. During this same period of time that Biden said the country should have already been shut down, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi toured San Francisco’s Chinatown section and told Americans that “everything is fine” and “all is well,” and encouraged Americans to shop and eat there. “Come to Chinatown,” she said. “We just want everybody not to be afraid to come to Chinatown.” Pelosi also expressed confidence in the government’s response to the coronavirus. “I have confidence in Dr. Fauci at the National Institutes of Health, who has even further confidence in what we’re doing,” Pelosi told reporters.
In short, no one was pushing for shutting down the country before COVID-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization. Not Congress, not Biden, not even the experts.
6. Trump is to blame for the economic impact of the coronavirus
As expected, Democrats and the media want the public to blame Trump for the current state of the economy, which has been decimated by the coronavirus shutdowns. Joe Biden in particular has been making this a theme of his campaign. The reason they’re blaming the situation on Trump, of course, is that the economy was doing incredibly well prior to the shutdowns, and that fact was the most prominent narrative of Trump’s reelection campaign. After years of economic malaise under Barack Obama, President Trump actually delivered on an economic recovery that could actually be felt by most Americans.
But then the pandemic happened, and things changed. The economic situation we are experiencing is entirely because of the shutdowns, and, as Andy Puzder, a senior fellow at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, noted a few days ago, “the economic shutdown in the U.S. was bipartisan, just as shutdowns around the world had the support of multiple political parties.”
“Governors in the U.S. from both parties shut down their states’ economies in response to guidance from nonpartisan public health experts,” Puzder continued. “The point was to combat the spread of the coronavirus, reduce its impact on our health care system, and protect the health and lives of the American people.”
Both Democrats and Republicans knew the shutdowns would have economic consequences, but most deemed the tradeoffs worth the costs. As expected, we are now experiencing those economic consequences in terms of high unemployment and diminished growth.
That makes it particularly disturbing that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is attempting to blame President Trump for the bipartisan shutdown’s long-anticipated economic consequences. Reacting to the decline in second-quarter GDP, the former vice president said “the depth of economic devastation our nation is experiencing is not an act of God, it’s a failure of presidential leadership.”
Further undermining the argument is that Biden claimed the country should have been shut down earlier than it was. Biden can’t simultaneously blame Trump for the economic impact of the shutdown while also supporting those shutdowns and claiming they should have been implemented earlier.
5. Trump claimed he could delay the 2020 election
As coronavirus cases have spiked in recent weeks, the push for universal mail-in voting out of concern for the public’s health has continued, despite ample evidence that an election by mail would be a complete disaster.
Trump has repeatedly expressed his concerns about universal mail-in voting, and last week posted a controversial tweet on the subject:
With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
The reaction to the tweet was predictable. Many accused Trump of not only wanting to postpone the election, but of claiming to have the power to do so. It’s obvious from the tweet (at least to anyone who can read) that Trump was merely posing a question. “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” he tweeted. Clearly, that was a question. The media was quick to denounce and mischaracterize the tweet, and ran stories about how Trump can’t unilaterally postpone an election, despite the fact he hadn’t claimed he could.
4. Trump was going to deny aid to sanctuary states
Back in April, the media went into a frenzy following remarks from President Trump allegedly threatening to withhold coronavirus aid to states with sanctuary cities. Spoiler alert: he didn’t.
Here’s what happened.
Trump was asked by a reporter about giving aid to states as part of an effort to stimulate the economy during the pandemic. Trump replied, “I think there’s a big difference with a state that lost money because of COVID and a state that’s been run very badly for 25 years. There’s a big difference, in my opinion. And, you know, we’d have to talk about things like payroll tax cuts. We’d have to talk about things like sanctuary cities, as an example.”
Trump added, “But we’re certainly open to talking, but it would really have to be COVID-related, not related for mismanagement over a long time — over a long period of time.”
“And you’re willing to make that distinction — that much of a distinction?” the reporter asked. “I can only imagine what some governors would say.”
“Well, it’s a very simple distinction to make,” Trump replied. “We’re not looking to do a bailout for a state that’s been — it’s unfair to — it’s unfair to many of the states, most of the states that have done such a good job. Okay?”
Trump was quite clearly indicating that he wanted to give aid for COVID-19 relief rather than hand out “blank checks” to poorly managed states and cities exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to get bailed out. While some states have been hit hard economically because of the coronavirus, others have been mismanaged for years. For example, a couple of years ago, Illinois was said to be on the path to bankruptcy. Should the government bail out Illinois for being so poorly managed? Other states with financial issues that predate the coronavirus could be looking at the pandemic as a quick fix to their financial problems, and it’s quite obvious that Trump doesn’t want to enable these poorly-run states.
3. There was a ventilator shortage
Desperate for narratives, the mainstream media tried all sorts of angles to make President Trump’s response to the coronavirus inefficient. One angle they tried was to claim there was a shortage of ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE). Governor Cuomo claimed New York needed 40,000 ventilators and accused Trump of letting New Yorkers die for not providing them. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont claimed that his state was on its own because the Strategic National Stockpile was depleted of medical supplies and PPE.
The Strategic National Stockpile was lacking in PPE, but the reason for that can be traced back to Barack Obama, who depleted the stockpile of N95 respirator masks during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and never restocked it.
When asked about the stockpile, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany explained, “We refilled that stockpile. We got the N-95 masks out — ventilators are another good example, not a single American died for lack of a ventilator — a hundred thousand ventilators in a hundred days, three-times what is produced in the average year. Three-times the amount of N95 respirators our health care industry uses.”
“We have delivered,” she continued. “We have cleaned up the mess that was very clearly left by President Obama and we got that out.”
The Trump administration should be commended for cleaning up Obama’s mess at the same time it delivered unprecedented amounts of equipment for states in need during the pandemic. Cuomo, who wanted 40,000 ventilators, ended up with about 6,000, and that was more than he actually needed; he eventually started giving them to other states who needed them more. In fact, the ventilator shortage was another politicized hoax, as Mayor de Blasio was blaming Trump for not getting him the ventilators he needed at the same time Governor Cuomo was giving ventilators away to other states.
2. Trump said people should inject bleach to cure themselves
One of the most ridiculous false claims by the media was the allegation that Trump had suggested that people should inject bleach or Lysol into their bodies to cure themselves of the coronavirus.
The false claim originated from the following exchange during the White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing on April 23, where possible treatments were discussed, including UV light treatments, and Trump said, “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.”
As PJM’s Tyler O’Neil noted at the time, “Trump wasn’t telling people to drink or inject bleach — he was asking whether or not it would be possible to clean inside the body with a similar disinfectant. He also insisted, ‘you’re going to have to use medical doctors with’ any such practice. In other words, ‘don’t try this at home, kids.’”
But there’s more. Later is the same briefing a reporter asked, “The president mentioned the idea of cleaners, like bleach and isopropyl alcohol you mentioned. There’s no scenario that could be injected into a person, is there?”
It was Trump who replied, “It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work. But it certainly has a big effect if it’s on a stationary object.”
It was a reporter who actually connected bleach to injections, not Trump, who made a point to correct the reporter.
1. The United States ‘leads the world’ in COVID-19 deaths
Every COVID-19 milestone reported on by the media seems to want to paint the United States as having the worst record against the virus. “US Leads the World in Death Toll from Coronavirus with 150,000,” the Associated Press reported on July 29. Many other outlets have published similar stories over the past few months. This is obviously by design, as the media selectively uses raw numbers over per capita statistics, or ignores proper context. For example, confirmed cases have skyrocketed in the United States, but the United States is also leading the world in tests given, both in raw numbers and per capita. Naturally, case numbers for the United States are going to go up relative to other countries. Of course, I’ve always maintained that comparing countries by confirmed cases, even per capita, is not a great metric because those numbers rely so much on testing capability, which varies from country to country.
COVID-19 deaths per capita is a far more reliable metric to base a comparison on, so let’s look at the numbers as compiled by Statista.
- Belgium (861.93 per million)
- United Kingdom (694.87)
- Peru (613.14)
- Spain (608.79)
- Italy (581.72)
- Sweden (563.97)
- Chile (513)
- USA (472.59)
- France (450.29)
- Brazil (449.25)
The United States doesn’t have the highest number of deaths per capita in the world. Oh, but wait, there’s more. In the past, I’ve pointed out how Governor Cuomo botched New York’s response to the pandemic, turning New York (and more specifically, New York City) into the epicenter of the pandemic for the entire world—skewing the United States’ numbers. I’ve previously shown how the rankings change when you separate New York from the rest of country. Let’s see how the rankings look today:
- New York State (1,688 per million)
- Belgium (861.93)
- United Kingdom (694.87)
- Peru (613.14)
- Spain (608.79)
- Italy (581.72)
- Sweden (563.97)
- Chile (513)
- France (450.29)
- Brazil (449.25)
New York State comes in on top, while the rest of the United States drops out of the top ten entirely, sinking to #12 with 372.58 deaths per million. So much for “leading the world” in COVID-19 deaths.
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis
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