- President Donald Trump said during a Feb. 28 rally that Democrats were criticizing the administration’s response to coronavirus, calling it the party’s “new hoax.”
- Media and politicians pounced on the word “hoax” and claimed that Trump said the virus itself was a “hoax.”
- Some networks and politicians tried to set the record straight, while many others continued peddling the altered narrative.
Media and politicians have had a hard time covering the coronavirus outbreak, particularly when President Donald Trump called alarmism around the virus “democrats’ new hoax.”
Trump repeatedly said during his Feb. 28 rally in South Carolina that the coronavirus must – and will be – taken “very, very seriously.” He also clarified his remarks the next day, noting he was referring to how the Democrats criticized the administration’s response to the virus and that they were politicizing the issue.
Still, some media and politicians rushed to push the claim that Trump called the coronavirus itself a “hoax.”
Politico reported the evening of Feb. 28 that Trump “tried to cast the global outbreak of the coronavirus as a liberal conspiracy intended to undermine his first term.”
Check Your Fact, a fact-checking news site produced by the the Daily Caller, ruled Politico’s report as “false.” Politico stood by its report.
The Daily Beast correctly reported on the issue. The publication noted that “he did not seem to be suggesting that the outbreak itself is a hoax.”
Senior producer at MSNBC Kyle Griffin also peddled the Trump “hoax” story, tweeting out Politico’s article.
Biden: “For him to start talking about it being a hoax is absolutely dangerous. It’s just not a decent way to act.”
Buttigieg: “I was particularly disturbed to hear the word ‘hoax’ used.”
Bloomberg: “The president should be putting politics aside.”https://t.co/hvHNFUbuXr
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 29, 2020
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg echoed the false narrative as well. He said that it was “incomprehensible” that the president would “do something as insane as called” the coronavirus a ‘hoax'” on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” Feb. 29.
“60 Minutes” host Scott Pelley pushed back, reminding Bloomberg that Trump was not calling the coronavirus a “hoax.”
Democratic California Rep Ted Lieu, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and former Vice President Joe Biden also claimed Trump called the virus a “hoax.” On the other hand, former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich tried to clarify what the president actually said.
Lieu retweeted Matt Bevan, an ABC News podcast host, who reported out a clip of Trump at the Feb. 28 rally. Bevan claimed Trump was “calling concerns about the coronavirus spread ‘the new hoax’.”
Lieu tried to fact-check Trump by noting the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in America.
CAN YOU PLEASE STOP LYING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE? LIVES ARE POTENTIALLY AT STAKE. https://t.co/rYadoC7XH5
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 29, 2020
Schumer’s comments about Trump allegedly calling the coronavirus a hoax came during a press conference March 1. This followed the president clarifying his Feb. 28 remarks.
Add it to the list.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer perpetuated the lie that President Trump called Coronavirus a hoax during his press conference yesterday.
Remind me again who is trying to score political points with Coronavirus?
That’s right… Democrats. pic.twitter.com/bOAfCILZPS
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 2, 2020
“Some of the stuff he says is so bizarre that you can laugh at it,” Biden told reporters ahead of the Feb. 29 South Carolina primary. “It just so diminishes the faith that people around the world have in the United States. The president of the United States says it’s a hoax? It’s hard to believe. Even for him it’s hard to believe.”
“We got a guy in the White House who doesn’t know anything about patriotism, doesn’t know anything about empathy,” McAuliffe said. “He said the coronavirus was a hoax.”