President Donald Trump has consistently downplayed the threat of COVID-19 since the first COVID-19 case in the United States was confirmed in January 21 to not damage his chances for re-election in November.
Asked in a TV interview on January 22 if he was worried about the first COVID-19 case in the U.S. being confirmed in Washington State, Trump replied: "No we're not at at all. We have it totally under control. One person coming in from China."
Talking about the increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections on January 30, Trump said "We only have five people. Hopefully everything's gonna be great ... But hopefully it's all gonna be great." And on February 10, Trump made one of his most infamous declarations about COVID-19: "Looks like by April ... in theory, when it gets warmer it miraculously goes away. Hope that's true but we're doing great in our country."
April is only two days away and as of Sunday (March 29), the U.S. is the most COVID-19 infected country in the world. It recorded 123,776 total confirmed cases and 2,229 deaths as of Sunday, 07:02 GMT, according to real-time data website, Worldometer. The U.S. accounted for 19% of the world's total cases of 664,621 and 7% of total world deaths (30,892). The U.S. had only 67 COVID-19 cases and one death on February 29.
Despite these truths, its startling to learn Trump's re-election campaign is threatening to sue TV stations that broadcast a campaign advertisement from Priorities USA Action, a Democratic super PAC, reminding Americans about Trump's lies regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ad shows a graph of growing the rising number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., with audio of public statements made by Trump always downplaying or minimizing the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump's campaign took issue with a segment in the ad where Trump called COVID-19 the new hoax against him created by Democrats. Trump's campaign claimed Trump never said COVID-19 is a hoax perpetrated by Democrats.
Fact checking website, Snopes, judged Trump's COVID-19 hoax statement as a mixture of true and false. It said while Trump had used the term in the context of Democrats' efforts to defeat him (the Russia "hoax" and the impeachment "hoax," for example), he had also created confusion about what he meant by downplaying the severity of COVID-19.During the rally where he called COVID-19 a Democrat hoax, Trump compared the COVID-19 fatality rate to that of the less deadly seasonal flu, which is less deadly.