Let’s Look At A Few Fact Checks From The Pence/Harris Debate Shall We. Fact Check Five.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) claimed during the vice presidential debate on Wednesday night that President Donald Trump called the coronavirus a hoax.
They knew and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax,” Kamala Harris said of the coronavirus.
Here are Trump’s remarks from a campaign rally in South Carolina on February 28:
Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs. You say, “How’s President Trump doing?” They go, “Oh, not good, not good.” They have no clue. They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa; they can’t even count. No they can’t. They can’t count their votes.
One of my people came up to me and said, “Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.” That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything; they tried it over and over. They’ve been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning, they lost, it’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax.
During a Feb. 28, 2020, campaign rally in South Carolina, President Donald Trump likened the Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to the new coronavirus outbreak to their efforts to impeach him, saying “this is their new hoax.” During the speech he also seemed to downplay the severity of the outbreak, comparing it to the common flu.
Despite creating some confusion with his remarks, Trump did not call the coronavirus itself a hoax.
AP FACT CHECK: Biden distorts Trump’s words on virus ‘hoax’
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is presenting a distorted account of President Donald Trump’s words on the coronavirus, wrongly suggesting Trump branded the virus a hoax.
In fact, Trump pronounced Democratic criticism of his pandemic response a hoax.
Biden tweeted a video mashup of Trump’s rhetoric on the crisis, sampling the many times the president has underplayed the severity of the pandemic.
BIDEN VIDEO: “Trump in public: ‘Hoax.’ Trump in private: ‘Killer.’”
BIDEN VIDEO, showing Trump saying at a Feb. 28 campaign rally in South Carolina: “The coronavirus — and this is their new hoax.”
THE FACTS: Accusation and selective video editing are misleading. At the rally featured in the video, Trump actually said the phrases “the coronavirus” and “this is their new hoax” at separate points. Although his meaning is difficult to discern, the broader context of his words shows he was railing against Democrats for their denunciations of his administration’s coronavirus response.
“Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus,” he said. “You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it.” He meandered briefly to the subject of the messy Democratic primary in Iowa, then the Russia investigation before returning to the pandemic. “They tried the impeachment hoax. … And this is their new hoax.”
Asked at a news conference the next day to clarify his remarks, Trump made clear he was not referring to the coronavirus itself as a hoax.
“No, no, no,” he said. ”‘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 taking what they’re doing. That’s the hoax.”
He continued: “Certainly not referring to this. How could anybody refer to this? This is very serious stuff.”
The video’s reference to “Trump in private” calling the virus a “killer” comes from the president’s interview in April with author and journalist Bob Woodward, whose new book “Rage” contains Trump’s acknowledgement that he was playing down the virus threat in public, so as to avoid panic.
But it is incorrect for Biden to suggest, as the video does, that Trump insisted the virus was a hoax before ultimately acknowledging to the author in April that it was deadly and serious.