What the President Continues to Say (About the Plague)

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

In two previous pieces in CounterPunch I compiled Donald Trump’s statements on the COVID-19 pandemic up to April 19th (early evening). Here is a continuation of that list.

Rather than place Trump’s statements in strict chronological order, I have sometimes put 2 or more of statements from different days together, to highlight Trump’s contradictions and subsequent deviations– these are prefaced by an asterisk. I have retained Trump’s numerous linguistic infelicities. It should be noted that Trump sometimes refers to himself in the third person:–

April 19– “We’re going to — that’s something — somebody said to me, President, you look tired. I said, I should be tired.”

April 19– “Is it — does it remind you of something? Reminds you of this. Right? One’s a swab, ones a Q-tip. It’s actually different. It’s very sophisticated actually but it’s a little bit like — so this is the swab and we’ve ordered a lot of them.”

April 19— “It was hard to get it aroused and it is hard to get it aroused but we got it aroused.”

April 19– “Some people believe in it like they can’t exist without testing and other people don’t believe in it nearly as much.”

April 19– “It’s not the same thing as a flu at all.” [To quote Trump from Feb 26: “This is a flu. This is like a flu.”]

April 19– “You know, it’s a very complex subject. You need buildings or you have to do tents or you have to do a lot of different things, a lot of different ways.”

April 19– “Nervous Nancy is an inherently ‘dumb’ person. She wasted all of her time on the Impeachment Hoax. She will be overthrown, either by inside or out, just like her last time as ‘Speaker’. Wallace & @FoxNews are on a bad path, watch!”

April 19– “So nobody ever thought this could have happened, a thing like this.”

April 19– “No, no, we’re going to be safe. We have to be safe. We don’t want to close anything. We’re not going to be closing. But we’re going to be doing it beautifully, systematically.”

April 19— (to a female reporter) “Nice and easy, nice and easy, just relax.”

April 19— (to the same female reporter) “Keep your voice down, please. Keep your voice down.”

April 19— “They were excoriated by people like you that don’t know any better because you don’t have the brains you were born with. You should be praising people that have done a good job, not doing what you do.” [some reporters seemed puzzled by this remark]

April 19– (to a CNN reporter) “That’s why your ratings are so bad, because you’re pathetic. Go ahead, let’s go. Your ratings are terrible. You got to get back to real news. Go ahead.”

April 19– “I’m not a fan of Mitt Romney. I don’t really want his advice.”

April 21– “We’ve tested more than any country in the world, even put together.” [said as daily news reports report backlogs in labs across the country, and many people with symptoms — including health workers — are still unable to access tests. To date, the US has tested 1 in every 80 people, while Germany has tested every 1 in 63 people.]

April 21– “Our mortality rate remains roughly half that of other countries. It is one of the lowest in any other country in the world.” [The US rate is 5.4% — more than double the rate of Japan and South Korea (2.2%), and several times the rate of Singapore, with a rate of 1%.]

April 22— (about a possible recurrence of COVID-19 in the winter) “What we’ve just gone through, we will not go through.”

April 23– “Medical doctors should see if there any way to apply light and heat to cure. It’s just a suggestion. If heat is good and if sunlight it good, that’s. a great thing as far as I’m concerned.”

April 23– “We’re very close to a vaccine. We’re not close on testing” the vaccine”.

April 23– (responding to Dr Fauci’s comment that he’s not “overly confident” about the US’ testing capacity) “No I don’t agree with him on that. No I think we’re doing a great job on testing. If he said that, I don’t agree with him.”

April 23—(addressing his COVID-19 adviser Dr Deborah Birx) “I see the disinfectant that 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?”

April 24– (after his disastrous “can injecting disinfectant be a cure?” news briefing) “What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!”

April 27—(asked if he takes any responsibility for reports of people ingesting disinfectant after his remarks at a previous press briefing) “No, I don’t.”

April 27– “We’re doing very serious investigations … We are not happy with China. We believe it could have been stopped at the source. It could have been stopped quickly and it wouldn’t have spread all over the world.”

April 27– “There has been so much unnecessary death in this country. It could have been stopped and it could have been stopped short, but somebody a long time ago, it seems, decided not to do it that way. And the whole world is suffering because of it. 184 countries, at least.”

April 27– “I built the greatest economy in the history of the world. I built it.”

April 28—(when asked by a CNN reporter how the US got from Trump’s prediction of zero to 1 million cases) “Well, it will go down to zero ultimately.”

April 29– (speaking about governors who have reopened their states for business) “I am very much in favor of what they’re doing. They’re getting it going.”

Kenneth Surin teaches at Duke University, North Carolina.  He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.