Democrats over the past week have attacked the president’s handling of the coronavirus in political advertisements and mischaracterize the president’s statements.
In addition, some members of the media have suggested Trump is to blame for the coronavirus, also mischaracterized his statements, and attacked him or his allies for criticizing Democrats for playing politics.
Here are the top ten examples of those attacks and mischaracterizations:
New York Times Op-Ed Calls Coronavirus the “Trumpvirus”
1. New York Times columnist Gail Collins on February 26, 2020, linked President Trump to the coronavirus in an op-ed piece titled, “Let’s Call It Trumpvirus.” “If you’re feeling awful, you know who to blame,” the sub-headline read.
Collins wrote that Trump blamed the recent stock market slide on Democrats’ performance at the last debate and suggested he thought the coronavirus was “not necessarily a big deal.”
However, what Trump said was that he thought statement(s) from the Democrat candidates “has a huge effect. Asked whether the coronavirus also played a role, he said, “Oh I think it did, I think it did.”
Bloomberg Makes Coronavirus into a Campaign Advertisement
2. Democrat presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg on Saturday evening aired a campaign advertisement on the spread of the coronavirus and its economic effects. He said in the ad:
I know this has been a worrisome week for many Americans. The coronavirus is spreading and the economy is taking a hit. Markets have fallen because of uncertainty. At times like this it’s the job of the president to reassure the public that he or she is taking all the necessary steps to protect the health and wellbeing of every citizen.
He did not mention any of the steps President Trump has taken, including issuing a travel ban from affected areas on January 31, 2020, which health leaders are saying bought the United States time to react to the virus. NPR published a report headlined “Trump Administration Issues Drastic Travel Restrictions…” before editing it.
Politico: ‘Trump Rallies Base to Treat Coronavirus as a Hoax’
3. Some media outlets also published reports that implied President Trump had called the coronavirus a “hoax” during a rally in South Carolina on Friday. Politico published an article titled, “Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a ‘hoax.'”
Politico claimed: “President Donald Trump on Friday night tried to cast the global outbreak of the coronavirus as a liberal conspiracy intended to undermine his first term, lumping it alongside impeachment and the Mueller investigation.”
Trump had called Democrats’ criticism about his handling of the coronavirus a “hoax,” not the coronavirus itself. He clarified that himself during a White House press briefing on Saturday.
“‘Hoax’ referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody, because we’ve done such a good job. The hoax is on them, not — I’m not talking about what’s happening here; I’m talking what they’re doing. That’s the hoax,” Trump said.
Despite Trump’s clarification, reporters and Democrats continued to claim Trump was referring to the coronavirus as a “hoax.”
The Times‘ Edward Wong said on CBS News on Sunday that the administration is grappling with transparency. He said, “You saw president Trump come out and say it was a new hoax,” adding there was “valid criticism” of his remark.
Bloomberg tried to get away with it on Sunday, too, but was corrected by CBS News’s Scott Pelley. Bloomberg ignored his correction.
Michael Bloomberg repeated the false claim that President Trump referred to the coronavirus as a "hoax."
CBS News' Scott Pelley pointed out that President Trump actually said the media & Democrat hysteria about the government coronavirus response was a hoax, NOT the virus. pic.twitter.com/HmSWsnaQFw
— Francis Brennan (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@FrancisBrennan) March 1, 2020
Democrat Presidential Candidates Criticize Trump over Coronavirus
4. Last Tuesday during the Democrat debate, candidates took turns criticizing Trump over the coronavirus. According to the Times‘ Neil Vigdor:
With the Dow Jones industrial average suffering its worst two-day loss in history on fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Democratic presidential contenders on Tuesday night tried to turn the tables on President Trump in an area long perceived as one of his strengths: the economy.
They characterized the Trump administration’s response to the outbreak as chaotic and misinformed during a Democratic primary debate in South Carolina.
Bloomberg and Biden Falsely Claim Trump Has Cut CDC Funding
5. During the debate, Bloomberg and fellow Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden falsely claimed that Trump has cut funding for the Centers for Disease Control, according to the Associated Press.
Bloomberg said about Trump, “He’s defunded Centers for Disease Control, CDC, so we don’t have the organization we need. This is a very serious thing.” Biden said, “We increased the budget of the CDC. We increased the NIH budget. … He’s wiped all that out. … He cut the funding for the entire effort.”
However, as the AP reported, “They’re both wrong to say the agencies have seen their money cut.” According to the AP:
He’s proposed cuts but Congress ignored him and increased financing instead. The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren’t suffering from budget cuts that never took effect.
NYT Op-ed: ‘Trump Makes Us Ill’
6. Times columnist Maureen Dowd penned an op-ed titled, “Trump Makes Us Ill” — that criticizes the president and his allies for criticizing Democrats for criticizing him and “scaremongering” over the coronavirus. She also raised the prospect of a “stock market crash” and the election of a “real populist promising Medicare for All.” “That would be a very Trumpian arc indeed,” she wrote.
CNN’s Jake Tapper Criticizes Don Trump Jr. for Criticizing Democrats Politicizing Coronavirus
7. Along the same lines as Dowd, CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview with Vice President Mike Pence criticized the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., for criticizing Democrats for seemingly wanting the coronavirus to kill Americans and hurt Trump.
“It seems like very extreme rhetoric,” Tapper said of Trump Jr.
Garamendi Threatens Trump Jr. for Criticizing Democrats Politicizing Coronavirus
8. Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) warned in an MSNBC interview that Trump Jr. should not say that near him or there would be a “serious altercation.”
Here are Democrat Rep. John Garamendi’s threatening remarks about @DonaldJTrumpJr: “He shouldn’t be near… There would be a serious altercation… Don Jr. better not get any place close to me. It would not be a healthy situation.”
No pushback from MSNBC. pic.twitter.com/jW8rdBWJ9T
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 1, 2020
Biden Spreads Debunked Claim CDC’s Anthony Fauci Is Being ‘Muzzled’
9. Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden on Sunday continued to spread the debunked story by the Times saying the National Institute of Health’s Anthony Fauci was being “muzzled,” after Fauci himself said at a press conference he was not.
Fauci said Saturday: “Let me clarify: I’ve never been muzzled ever and I’ve been doing this since the administration of Reagan. I’m not being muzzled by this administration.”
But Biden claimed the administration was “muzzling the scientist. Mr. Fauci’s been here, and, anyway,” he said, trailing off.
Joe Biden just touted the debunked talking point that President Trump had muzzled Doctor Fauci form discussing the coronavirus.
This is what Fauci had to say about that claim yesterday:
"I’ve never been muzzled ever and I’ve been doing this since…Reagan."
ROLL THE TAPE! pic.twitter.com/1HAcLl3qes
— Francis Brennan (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@FrancisBrennan) March 1, 2020
House Democrats Make Ad Attacking Trump over the Coronavirus
10. House Democrats are planning to run a digital ad campaign targeting the Trump administration over the coronavirus, ABC News reported on Monday:
Amid heightened concerns from Democrats over the Trump administration’s handling of the novel coronavirus, House Democrats are investing in a new digital ad campaign targeting Republicans in key districts ahead of the highly-anticipated general election — the latest move in an ongoing political fight over the outbreak.
In the ads, which will appear on Facebook in both English and Spanish, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) takes aim at Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar over his recent comments about the affordability of vaccines for the virus.