DONALD Trump’s reelection campaign is trying to have an ad of the president appearing to say the coronavirus is a hoax removed from the air.
Posted online Monday by Priorities USA Action Fund, the video displays an edited timeline of Trump’s downplayed response to the coronavirus since the global outbreak began in January.
“The coronavirus, this is their new hoax. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China,” he says in the video, which includes his quotes from different dates.
“One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” the president says as the video shows the number of infected people in the U.S. growing.
“When you have 15 people, and within a couple of days is going to be down to zero people,”
“We really think we’ve done a great job in keeping [the coronavirus] down to a minimum,” Trump is heard saying.
The video ends with a clip of Trump speaking to the press in the White House Rose Garden, telling reporters: “No I don’t take responsibility at all.”
The video was created by Priorities USA Action Fund, a Democratic super PAC (political action committee).
The PAC is spending $6 million to run the ad on television and throughout digital outlets, and began running it on Tuesday in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida, per Politico.
The Trump campaign sent a cease and desist letter to the PAC to television stations airing the ad, according to a press release from the campaign, which described the video as a “false, negative attack.”
“The ad contains the false assertion that President Trump called the coronavirus a ‘hoax,’ when in fact he was referring to Democrat criticisms and politicization of the federal response to the public health crisis,” his reelection campaign said.
In February, during a campaign rally in South Carolina, Trump said Democrats were trying to use the coronavirus pandemic to undermine his leadership.
“They tried the impeachment hoax. … This is their new hoax,” Trump told the crowd.
He accused Democrats of “politicizing” the virus’ threat and boasted about preventive steps he ordered to try to keep the virus that originated in China from spreading across the U.S.
As of Thursday, more than 1,000 people have died in the U.S. and nearly 70,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus after it quickly spread throughout the country.
Before the outbreak really affected the U.S., Trump did repeatedly downplay the coronavirus. He said his administration had it “very well under control.”
The president compared the deadly virus to the seasonal flu, saying it was nothing that Americans should be overly concerned about and something that would quickly pass.
In January, he said: “We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully.”
“But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for it. …. That I can assure you.”
Soon after, the Trump administration said it would suspend entry into the U.S. by any foreign nationals who had traveled to China in the past 14 days, excluding the immediate family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
By then, more than 200 people had died, and nearly 9,800 had been infected worldwide.
In recent weeks, Trump changed his tune, and declared a national emergency because of the coronavirus.
But over the weekend, the president said he hopes to have the country's economy “reopened” by Easter Sunday on April 12, even as scientists warn the pandemic will continue to get worse.
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