Late Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump took to the podium in the White House briefing room to give one of his semi-regular updates on the fight against coronavirus. And even by the remarkably low standard for truth that he has set in office, it was a doozy.
“They’re all at least pretty bad, but that was one of the worst Trump press conferences in a while from a truth standpoint,” tweeted CNN fact checker Daniel Dale. “Fast and furious lying.”
I went through the transcript of Trump’s remarks — and his Q&A with reporters — and picked out the lines you really need to see. They’re below.
1. “I thought I would start by talking about some mail-in voting that just was revealed, just the news, half a million incorrect absentee ballot applications were sent out all across the state of Virginia, including to many dead people.”
Yes, due to a printing error, a group sent more than 500,000 absentee ballot applications with an incorrect return address on them. The group acknowledged the error and the director of elections in Fairfax County (Virginia) told a local TV station that there was no evidence “this organization was acting maliciously.” As for Trump’s claims the ballots were sent to “many dead people,” well, I don’t see any reporting on that. Also, isn’t the press conference supposed to be focused on the US’s fight against coronavirus? And away we go!
2. “Our system is not equipped for it. The Post Office is not equipped for it.”
“The Postal Service has ample capacity to adjust our nationwide processing and delivery network to meet projected Election and Political Mail volume including any additional volume that may result as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” — US Postal Service
3. “And your numbers will be — in 90 days or less, your numbers will be very good, I think, much better on the coronavirus or the China virus.”
It’s not at all clear where Trump’s prediction that the coronavirus pandemic will get better in the next 90 days is coming from. In fact, most experts — of which Trump is not one — say that the pandemic could worsen as flu season approaches.
4. “From what I understand, the answer is yes.”
Trump was briefly whisked away from the press conference before returning to the podium. The President was asked by a reporter whether the person shot by the Secret Service as he approached a checkpoint on Monday was armed. He said yes. The Secret Service acknowledged later on Monday that the man was not armed.
5. “The world has been, you look back over the centuries, the world has been a dangerous place, very dangerous place, and it will continue I guess for a period of time.”
6. “I don’t know if anybody got to walk outside, but there were a lot of terrific-looking people ready to go, if something was necessary — people at the highest level of law enforcement, there’s nobody like these people.”
7. “I think we’ll have a vaccine before the end of the year, very substantially and we may have a therapeutic resolvement very quickly, very, very quickly and frankly that’s the one I’d rather have faster, because you in, you give a transfusion or a shot to people that are very ill and they’d be able to come out of the hospital, the next day or a few days later.”
Paging Dr. Trump, Dr. Donald Trump please pick up the white phone.
8. “If we had much smaller testing, we would have fewer, but we feel that having testing is a very important thing.”
OK, for the billionth time: Testing does not create cases. It identifies them.
9. “The new wall is being built, which people don’t talk about. They used to talk about nothing but the wall. Now that it is being built, they’re not talking about it so much.”
“Trump campaigns on border wall progress. There’s not much of it” — Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2020
10. “It should have never been allowed to happen. It should have never been allowed to escape China.”
Two things are true here. First, China was not at all transparent in the scope and seriousness of Covid-19. Second, the virus is very contagious and it’s not at all clear that even if China had been transparent, the virus would have stayed only in that country.
11. “We must stop politicizing the virus and instead be united in our condemnation of how this virus came to America, how this virus came to the world.”
Reader, he really did say this.
12. “But the payroll tax is a big deal for people. It’s a tremendous saving for people. And we are going to be doing it.”
“I’m not a fan of that, I’ve been very clear about that.” — South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 ranking Republican, on the payroll tax cut
13. “I don’t think a man of deep religion would be agreeing to the Bernie Sanders plan.”
Trump previously suggested that Joe Biden, a Catholic, was “against religion.” His evidence for such a major claim appears to be based on a joint agreement of principles released by Sanders and Biden. The 110-page document mentions the word “religious” three total times by my count; It advocates banning religious bias in law enforcement, urges passage of legislation that would do that and advocates a review of the administration’s immigration policies for possible evidence of religious bias. And that’s it.
14. “And I think it’s one of the reasons why, if you look at polls, which I’m not a big believer in polls, I wouldn’t — if I was, I guess I wouldn’t be standing here right now.”
15. “And by the way, our poll numbers are going up very rapidly, as you know, and Joe’s are going down very rapidly.”
16. “But no, if you look at the manifesto, I call it the manifesto, a lot of people are calling it the manifesto, my opinion, it’s further left than where Bernie was before.”
“I call it the manifesto, a lot of people are calling it the manifesto”
17. “But the individual mandate will always be with us — the individual mandate termination will always be, they can’t start it up.”
Wait, so we will have the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act? Or we will always have the termination of the individual mandate? I. Don’t. Know.
18. “And I saw that Sen. Schumer said today on a show, I don’t remember which show but he said today on a show that we should meet and we should do something but you know, where has he been for how many weeks have you been negotiating?”
Donald Trump watches a lot more cable television than you do. Like, a lot more.
19. “It would have been so much easier than doing it the way we did it, but we did something that’s very important and frankly it’s been well received, very well received.”
This is Trump on the quartet of executive orders he signed over the weekend. “The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop,” said Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse about the moves.
20. “Well, I think it’s, I’ve been to Gettysburg numerous times. It’s a national park. It’s a national historic site. It’s incredible. You know it’s the history. It’s incredible, actually, to me.”
21. “The White House would be very much easier for Secret Service. You see what just went on here. They’re all here. Just like you have your seats, they have their seats at the White House. So there wouldn’t be any expense or any extraordinary expense and the White House would be a lovely place to do it also.“
Trump is considering delivering his acceptance speech of the 2020 Republican presidential nomination at either Gettysburg — or the White House, which is sort of dicey, legally speaking.
22. “And you know who else is not happy with us winning? Russia. The phony people that tell the story, the fake news stories about Russia.”
The intelligence community, special counsel Robert Mueller and the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee all agree on this: Russia engaged in a broad and deep campaign to meddle in the 2016 election.
23. “So if we win the election, we’ll have deals with a lot of countries very fast.”
What evidence did Trump provide for this bold claim? Oh, none.
24. “So you will have a crash like you’ve never seen before. And I’ve been very good at predicting these things.”
OK, so if Biden wins, the stock market will crash. Because, uh, Trump is an expert prognosticator? Or something? On a related note: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
25. “So I don’t know. You know what I’m telling you? I’ll tell you who’s meddling in our elections. The Democrats are meddling.”
Trump was asked directly whether Russia was seeking to meddle in this election. This was how the President responded. Not exactly comforting. (Also, US intelligence has made very clear Russia is seeking to interfere in the 2020 contest.)
26. “Take a look now at this one in Virginia, where they mailed out 500,000 applications and they’re going to people that aren’t supposed to be getting an application.”
Just to reiterate: The issue in Virginia was that more than 500,000 absentee ballot applications had an incorrect return address on them. Not that people got them who shouldn’t have.
27. “No, I wouldn’t have done that. I think it’s — I think it’s been amazing what we’ve been able to do.”
Trump was asked, if 160,000 Americans had died on President Obama’s watch, whether he would have called for the 44th president to resign. So, um, this Trump tweet from 2014: “If this doctor, who so recklessly flew into New York from West Africa,has Ebola, then Obama should apologize to the American people & resign!”
28. “The closest thing is in 1917, they say right, in the Great — the Great Pandemic certainly was a terrible thing where they lost anywhere from 50 to 100 million people. Probably ended the Second World War, all the soldiers were sick.”
World War II ended May 8, 1945.
29. “And you know at the beginning there was a big shortage of ventilators. Nobody had stock piles or anything comparable to what you had to have.”
30. “So no, I think we’re a very large country. We are one person.”
So, uh, well, what?
31. “But they’ve done a — really an extraordinary job. They’ll never be given the credit and I’m not talking about me.”
[narrator voice] He’s talking about him.
32. “[Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s] great. He’s — and I hear he’s doing well. He’s recovered from having Covid. Having Covid-19, as they say.”
“As they say.”
33. “Well look, the Obama campaign spied on our campaign.”
34. “I think it’s the political crime of the century and they’ve been caught. So let’s see what happens to them all.”
Yeah, this feels like a good place to end.
The post Analysis: The 34 wildest lines from Trump’s wildly inaccurate press conference appeared first on CNN.