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 May 2nd-3rd. 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:–

May 2—“She [Nicolle Wallace] was thrown off The View like a dog, Zero T.V. Personas. Now Wallace is a 3rd rate lapdog for Fake News MSDNC (Concast). Doesn’t have what it takes! https://t.co/F8azYEJHm5.”

May 3— “We are very confident we are going to have a vaccine by the end of the year.”

May 3– “We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people. That’s a horrible thing.” [In April Trump predicted 60,000 American lives would be lost.]

May 3—(asked why he didn’t act earlier on the epidemic, Trump said that on 23 January he was briefed thus) “There could be a virus coming, but it was of no real import. In other words, it wasn’t: ‘Oh, we’ve got to do something, we’ve got to do something.’ It was a brief conversation.”

May 4– “It’s not fair to the Republicans because all the states that need help — they’re run by Democrats in every case. Florida is doing phenomenal, Texas is doing phenomenal, the Midwest is, you know, fantastic — very little debt.”

May 5– “Dr. Fauci will be testifying in front of the Senate and he looks forward to doing that. But the House, I will tell you, the House, they should be ashamed of themselves and frankly the Democrats should be ashamed because they don’t want us to succeed. They want us to fail so they can win an election which they’re not going to win.”

May 5– “Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.”

May 5– “There’ll be more death, the virus will pass, with or without a vaccine. And I think we’re doing very well on the vaccines but, with or without a vaccine, it’s going to pass, and we’re going to be back to normal.”

May 5– “We have to get our country back. You know, people are dying the other way too. When you look at what’s happened with drugs, it goes up. When you look at suicides, I mean, take a look at what’s going on. People are losing their jobs — we have to bring it back, and that’s what we’re doing.”

May 5— (as he boarded his plane to campaign in Phoenix, Arizona) “We’re going to do it again, and that’s what we’re starting, and I view these last couple of days as the beginning. We’re going to build the greatest economy in the world again, and it’s going to happen pretty fast. [as Trump’s plane touched down in Phoenix, the state reported that it had 33 deaths on May 4th, its single highest daily death toll.]

May 6– (responding to an ABC News interviewer who said: “You’re three years into your term. What did you do when you became president to restock those cupboards that you say are bare?) “Well, I’ll be honest, uh, I have a lot of things going on.”

May 6– “Let me tell you this. I closed the border if you want to use that term, I banned people from coming into China [sic]. I came in and what I did is, I said against many people, including Anthony Fauci, who I like very much, including Deborah, who I like very much, the doctors, and many other people…”

May 6– “The taskforce will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. We may add or subtract people to it, as appropriate. The taskforce will also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics.” [Trump said the day before he planned to replace the taskforce with “something in a different form”.]

May 6— (replying to a nurse who said she wore the same N95 mask for “a few weeks” and that her health system’s supply was “sporadic”) “Sporadic for you, but not sporadic for a lot of other people. Because I’ve heard the opposite. I have heard that they are loaded up with gowns now. We had empty shelves and empty nothing because it wasn’t put there by the last administration.”

May 6– “We have to be warriors. We can’t keep our country closed down for years. Hopefully that won’t be the case … but it could very well be the case.”

May 6– “We went through the worst attack we’ve ever had on our country, this is worst attack we’ve ever had. This is worse than Pearl Harbor, this is worse than the World Trade Center. There’s never been an attack like this. And it should have never happened. Could’ve been stopped at the source. Could’ve been stopped in China. It should’ve been stopped right at the source. And it wasn’t.”

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