Trump's Big COVID Lie

Trump didn't shut it down coming in from China. And he lied and golfed as the virus flew in from Europe.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Steve Scalise is a big liar.

Like Trump, he’s embracing the Nazi law of propaganda: “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.”

Trump has been telling a Big Lie about the coronavirus since at least February 2. That’s when he told Sean Hannity: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China… we can’t have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus. We’re going to see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.”

Scalise repeated Trump’s Big COVID Lie at the Republican National Convention last night, claiming: “Trump saved lives by shutting down flights from China and Europe.”

It’s an odd lie to keep telling, especially when the facts have been widely reported: I’ll even give you the Fox News link so you can share it with your Republican friends and relatives.

“Some 430,000 people flew from China to US after coronavirus first detected.”


Trump’s failure to save lives has led to the deaths of 181,000 Americans and counting. America leads the world in death from COVID-19 precisely because Trump failed to shut it down coming in from China.

How big a fail was it? For perspective, the number of people who flew in from China after the coronavirus outbreak began was larger than the entire population of Minneapolis.

Minneapolis: 2019 Population 429,000. Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

And what did Trump do after he supposedly shut it down coming in from China? He wasted 70 days. He rejected the tests from the W.H.O. that other countries used, even after his Administration bungled the rollout of U.S.-made tests. As The Washington Post reported:

The most consequential failure involved a breakdown in efforts to develop a diagnostic test that could be mass produced and distributed across the United States, enabling agencies to map early outbreaks of the disease, and impose quarantine measures to contain them…. (Meanwhile) other failures cascaded through the system.

Last night, Scalise made Trump’s Big COVID Lie even bigger than the entire city of Minneapolis. He claimed that shutting down flights from Europe also “saved lives.”

The facts tell a different story.

Nearly two million unscreened passengers arrived in NY from Europe in February

In February, Trump lied and said passengers from Italy, by then the global epicenter, were being screened. They weren’t. As nearly two million travelers arrived in the U.S. from Italy and other European countries, Trump’s failure to put a testing and contact tracing strategy in place CAUSED the disaster that unfolded in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and beyond.

As Dr. Fauci would later admit, the virus seeded in NY while “everybody was looking at China.”

Trump didn’t announce a partial ban on flights from Europe until March 12. But by then it was too late. When asked about his bungled response to the emerging pandemic on March 13, Trump famously said “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

That same day, March 13, Trump also encouraged reporters to judge his coronavirus response on the number of U.S. fatalities, which then stood at 40. “Compare that with other countries that are many, many times that amount,” he said.

Today the U.S. death toll is more than 181,000. In Europe, the only country to record more than 40,000 deaths is the UK. In Germany, the death toll is just over 9,000. In Ireland, it’s under 2,000.

Yesterday, France had the highest death toll in Western Europe at 15. Both the UK and Germany recorded just 4 new deaths.

Yesterday, more than 500 Americans died of COVID-19.

And Steve Scalise stood in front of America and repeated Trump’s Big COVID Lie.

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