The media are claiming that President Donald Trump called the coronavirus a “hoax” while speaking at a campaign event in South Carolina on Friday.
But video of Trump’s remarks show otherwise.
What are critics saying?
Dana Milbank, a Washington Post syndicated columnist, outright claimed Trump called the disease a “hoax.”
Remember this moment: Trump, in South Carolina, just called the coronavirus a "hoax."
— Dana Milbank (@Milbank) February 29, 2020
Several media outlets then followed suit with whole stories dedicated to the claim.
- Politico: Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a ‘hoax’
- NBC News: Trump calls coronavirus Democrats’ ‘new hoax’
- CNBC: Trump says the coronavirus is the Democrats’ ‘new hoax’
Joe Biden even seized on the claim as an opportunity to bash the president.
“Some of the stuff he says is so bizarre that you can laugh at it. It just so diminishes the faith that people around the world have in the United States,” Biden said. “The president of the United States says it’s a hoax? It’s hard to believe. Even for him it’s hard to believe.”
What did Trump actually say?
As TheBlaze reported, Trump did not call coronavirus itself a “hoax.”
Rather, he told supporters that Democrats are “politicizing” the disease and using it as another opportunity to attack him, alleging that he has somehow done something wrong in managing the U.S. response to the global outbreak.
Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. 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. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa. 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 you got in. It’s all turning, they lost, it’s all turning. Think of it. And this is their new hoax.”
First Democrats tried Russia, Russia, Russia.
Then they orchestrated the impeachment sham.
Now Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus and spreading misinformation about the Trump Administration's efforts to protect the American people.
This is their new hoax! pic.twitter.com/qaxrtnYKFE
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) February 29, 2020
The transcript and video make it clear that Trump did not call coronavirus a “hoax,” but rather emphasized that Democrats are using the disease — as they used Russia and impeachment — to attack him politically.