Some media outlets, journalists, pundits and, now, former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, claim President Trump has called the coronavirus a “hoax.”
Recently, according to Business Insider, President Trump’s re-election campaign issued a cease-and-desist letter to television stations that aired what his campaign called a “patently false, misleading, and deceptive” advertisement by a political action committee supporting Democrats.
On March 3 and March 23, Joe Biden tweeted videos in which the sound bites are put together to make it sound as though President Trump is calling the coronavirus a hoax:
“Coronavirus…this is their new hoax,” the above video shows Trump saying.
“Now the Democrats are politicizing, and this is their new hoax,” the second video shows Trump saying, along with other comments.
What did President Trump say? Did he say coronavirus was a hoax?
Here’s what you need to know:
President Trump Made the Comments at a Campaign Rally in South Carolina
Hear the president’s remark at 6:50.
On February 28, President Trump held a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, during which time he made the following comments (transcribed by The Washington Post):
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?’, ‘Oh, nothing, nothing.’ They have no clue, they don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa, they can’t even count. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.’ That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything, they tried it over and over, they’ve been doing it since he got in. It’s all turning, they lost. It’s all turning, think of it, think of it. And this is their new hoax. But you know we did something that’s been pretty amazing. We have 15 people in this massive country and because of the fact that we went early, we went early, we could have had a lot more than that.
President Trump compared the Democrats’ criticism of his response to the coronavirus pandemic to their attempt to impeach him, saying “this is their new hoax.”
The Washington Post found that one of the Biden ads met its fact-checker standards for “manipulated video,” concluding, “The full quote shows Trump is criticizing Democratic talking points and the media’s coverage of his administration’s response to coronavirus. He never says that the virus itself is a hoax.”
Some News Outlets & Politicians Said Trump Called Coronavirus a Hoax
On MSNBC, anchor Brian Williams said bluntly: “He called the coronavirus a hoax.”
During a CNN interview with anchor Jake Tapper, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the Trump administration was calling coronavirus a hoax.
When called out on Twitter for not addressing Ocasio-Cortez’s statement, Jake Tapper responded, “I thought about it, because the president did not call the virus a hoax. But i didn’t because he *did* call a hoax the concerns of those saying that the response from the president was insufficient and that he was downplaying the gravity of the crisis. And that too was a lie.”
Syndicated columnist Dana Milbank tweeted:
“Remember this moment: Trump, in South Carolina, just called the coronavirus a ‘hoax,'” Milbank wrote.
President Trump Defended His Comments
At a press conference the next day, President Trump defended his comments, stating, “No, no, no. ‘Hoax’ referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody, because we’ve done such a good job. The hoax is on them, not — I’m not talking about what’s happening here; I’m talking what they’re doing. That’s the hoax. That’s just a continuation of the hoax, whether it’s the impeachment hoax or the ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ hoax. This is what I’m talking about. Certainly not referring to this. How could anybody refer to this? This is very serious stuff. But the way they refer to it — because these people have done such an incredible job, and I don’t like it when they are criticizing these people. And that’s the hoax. That’s what I’m talking about.”
Hear the president’s remark at 25:30 into the above video.
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