The Lost Month Of February: Trump’s Refusal To Take Coronavirus Seriously Cost Lives

14 mins read

The Lost Month Of February: Trump’s Refusal To Take Coronavirus Seriously Cost Lives

By The End of February:

US Only Conducted ~4k Tests vs ~85k in South Korea

Trump Was Comparing Coronavirus To The Flu

Trump Shipped 17 Tons Of PPE to China

Trump Cut National Stockpile Budget Request By 75%

Trump Was Still Golfing, Attending Fundraisers & Rallies, Meeting Diamond & Silk

WATCH: What Trump Did Instead of Preparing Country to Deal with Coronavirus

Yesterday at the White House coronavirus briefing, Trump attempted to rewrite the facts on his response to coronavirus in the United States. From the briefing room, Trump even showed a propaganda video attempting to cover up the reality of his response to the crisis, but no matter how many lies or misleading facts they managed to include in the video, they still couldn’t answer for what happened in the month of February.

So what was Trump doing in February? He was golfing, attending fundraisers and downplaying the crisis instead of testing Americans and securing medical supplies.

Here’s a rundown of what Trump did (and didn’t) do in the month of February to prepare the country for the coronavirus:

Trump Downplayed the Crisis, Refusing To Take It Seriously

Trump repeatedly claimed that the virus would disappear as the weather started to warm. 

  • On February 7th, Trump tweeted the coronavirus would “hopefully become weaker and then gone” as “the weather starts to warm.” On February 10: Trump said “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”

Trump continued to insist that the virus was under control and that the number of cases in the U.S. would soon be zero. 

  • On February 10th, Trump said: “We’re in very good shape. We have 11 cases and most of them are getting better very rapidly. I think they’ll all be better.”  On February 24th, Trump tweeted that the coronavirus was “very much under control.” On February 25, Trump continued to insist coronavirus was “very well under control in our country” insisting “We’re down to probably about 10 [cases]. Most of the people are outside of danger right now.” On February 28th, Trump said one day “like a miracle” coronavirus would disappear.

Trump repeatedly compared coronavirus to a flu. 

  • On February 26th, Trump said: “It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.” At a South Carolina rally on February 28, Trump said: “So a number that nobody heard of that I heard of recently, and I was shocked to hear, 35,000 people on average die each year from the flu. Did anyone know that? Thirty-five thousand, that’s a lot of people. It could go to a hundred thousand. It could be 20,000. They say usually a minimum of 27, goes up to 100,000 people a year die, and so far we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States. Nobody. And it doesn’t mean we won’t and we are totally prepared. It doesn’t mean we won’t. But think of it, you hear 35 and 40,000 people and we’ve lost nobody.

Trump suggested coronavirus was a Democratic “hoax” and criticized the press for being in “hysteria mode” about the impending crisis. 

  • On February 26th, Trump tweeted that “Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC” and CNN were “doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible.” At a rally in South Carolina on February 28th, Trump said: “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.” Trump went on to say: “You wonder if the press is in hysteria mode. “

Trump Refused To Take Testing Seriously 

By the end of February, the United States had only conducted approximately 4,000 tests for coronavirus while other countries tested tens of thousands. 

  • As other countries ramped up mass testing, the United States’ inability to secure a functioning test let it fall behind. On February 29th, South Korea had conducted 85,693 tests (roughly 28.6 tests per hundred thousand people) and Italy had conducted 18,661 tests (roughly 5 tests per hundred thousand people). On February 29th, the United States had only conducted a tiny fraction of that — just over 4,000 tests (roughly 0.1 tests per hundred thousand people).

The Trump administration’s inability to secure functioning tests led the CDC to impose narrow criteria about who could get tested and meant the U.S. lost crucial time that could have allowed it to better secure the virus. 

  • By February 8th, public health labs had started to notify the CDC of troubles with its test. Four days later, officials acknowledged the problem during a news conference. Because the CDC tests gave inconclusive results, the CDC instructed state labs to stop testing. By mid-february, the U.S. was only testing about 100 samples a day. Because of the CDC’s limited testing capacity, it maintained extremely narrow testing criteria for weeks, only allowing people who had recently traveled to China or been in contact with someone who had the virus to be tested. This allowed the virus to spread without detection for weeks. 

Trump’s FDA waited until the end of February to finally relax testing rules that were preventing the approval of tests that might actually work — unlike the CDC tests. 

  • On February 29th, Trump’s FDA finally relaxed testing rules after leaving independently developed coronavirus tests, including one developed by the University of Washington, on hold for as many as 11 days. 

Trump Refused To Take The Need For Medical Supplies Seriously 

Trump cut HHS Secretary Azar’s February 5th budget request to buy medical supplies by 75%. 

  • A Washington Post report showed that Donald Trump cut HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s budget request to buy respirator masks and other supplies for the national stockpile by 75%. On February 5, HHS Secretary Alex Azar requested $2 billion — but Trump slashed that to only $500 million when his White House eventually submitted a budget request weeks later. Now a mask shortage is forcing healthcare workers to use bandanas & scarves. 

On February 7th, the Trump administration sent 17.8 tons of personal protective equipment to China as the WHO warned of the “limited stock of PPE.” 

  • The same day the WHO warned of a “limited stock of PPE,” the Trump administration announced it was transporting nearly 17.8 tons (more than 35,000 pounds) of personal protective equipment including masks, gowns, gauze, respirators, and other vital materials to China. 

Trump mocked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for asking for more than $2.5 billion to prepare for the coronavirus crisis. 

  • On February 25th, Trump tweeted: “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare for Coronavirus. If I asked for more he would say it is too much. He didn’t like my early travel closings. I was right. He is incompetent!”

On February 28th, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said he could use the Defense Production Act but didn’t “need it.” 

  • Trump Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar acknowledged that he had the power to use the Defense Production Act to increase production of crucial medical supplies, but said “I don’t have any procurements I need it for now.” 

Instead of Taking The Crisis Seriously, What Was Trump Doing?

He was praising Chinese leader Xi Jinping. 

  • On February 7th, Trump praised China’s response to coronavirus. On February 26th, Trump again praised China, calling President Xi “very tough and very smart.”

He was golfing. 

  • On February 1st, Trump golfed at Mar-a-Lago. On February 2nd, Trump golfed at Mar-a-Lago and hosted a Super Bowl party that cost taxpayers $3.4 million. On February 14th, Trump landed at Mar-a-Lago to golf. On February 15th, Trump golfed from 9:39 AM to 4:03 PM.

He was holding fundraisers. 

  • On February 12th, Trump delivered remarks at a Fundraising Committee Reception at the Trump international Hotel. On February 15th, Trump held a fundraiser at the Palm Beach home of billionaire Nelson Peltz where invitations reportedly cost $580,600. On February 19th, Trump held a fundraiser in Rancho Mirage, California. 

He was holding rallies. 

  • On February 10th, Trump held a political rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. On February 19th, Trump held a political rally in Phoenix, Arizona. On February 20th, Trump held a political rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado. On February 21st, Trump held a political rally in Las Vegas, Nevada. On February 28th, Trump held a rally in South Carolina.

He was visiting his campaign headquarters. 

  • On February 13th, Trump made an unscheduled visit to the RNC Annex Office to visit his campaign headquarters.

He was meeting with conservative provocateurs Diamond & Silk In The White House. 

  • On February 29, Trump sat down with conservative provocateurs Diamond and Silk: “As markets continued their dizzying downward spiral and other countries took heroic measures to fight coronavirus, President Trump sat down at the White House Thursday evening with two leading public-health authorities: Diamond and Silk. Trump told the online provocateurs and other African American supporters about his ‘incredible,’ ‘very good,’ ‘great,’ ‘best’ and ‘fantastic’ response to the virus. ‘It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle,’ he told them. The real problem, he said, is Democrats and the press, who aren’t giving him ‘credit,’ who are trying to ‘build this up,’ and who are demanding a bigger federal response.”

He Was Mocking His Rivals At CPAC.

  •  During an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 29th, Trump complained about Greta Thunberg winning Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, he joked about Hillary Clinton’s emails and Russia, and called Mitt Romney a “low life.”

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

One Thing is More True Than Ever

Next Story

Wednesday's Actions: Letter Writing with Swing Left, Virtual Town Halls and More

Latest from Explainer

%d bloggers like this: