Thursday, March 12, 2020

The many false statements in Trump's coronavirus speech

The Boston Globe has listed a number of false statements in President Donald Trump's address to the nation about coronavirus from the Oval Office last night.

Trump falsely said he's suspending "all" travel from Europe to the US. In fact, there are many European countries that aren't affected by the new policy. And it doesn't apply to certain groups of people, like US citizens in Europe.

Now, he doesn't need to tell us about every exemption and nuance in the new policy. If that would take too long, he could speak more generally and direct us to a webpage for more details.  But he didn't do that. He chose to speak in absolute terms, using the word "all." "All" is a powerful word, and it's important for the president's words to mean what they say.

(As CNN points out, Trump also neglected to mention that he is banning some people who aren't traveling directly from Europe to the US, but who've been to the restricted European countries within 14 days of coming here.)

Trump falsely said his Europe policy would extend to "trade and cargo." No, we're only limiting people traveling. We should at least give Trump credit for correcting this later in a tweet — but he still doesn't apologize or explicitly admit that he made an incorrect statement in the Oval Office address.

And Trump falsely said that all copays for coronavirus treatment will be waived. (Again, see the Boston Globe article for details on all this.)

How could the president's address to the nation include so many false statements about the issue that's been gripping the country and the world? In a way, having Trump as America's #1 communicator seems worse than having no president at all.

(A full transcript of the speech is at the end of this Haaretz fact check.)


Bob said...

Thought experiment:

At this very moment, who would you rather in the White House -- Trump, Biden or Sanders.

We are still ahead of the game.

John Althouse Cohen said...

In light of Trump's mistake-ridden speech last night, I would rather have President Joe Biden or President Bernie Sanders, even though they were far from my first choice. (My post endorsing Pete Buttigieg explained how I first narrowed it down to him and Amy Klobuchar, and why I found Biden and Sanders more problematic. Here's my post on why I'd vote for Sanders if he were the Democratic nominee.)

John Althouse Cohen said...

I've rejected some comments on this post. I don't consider a comment that broadly says, in effect, "Who cares?," without adding any useful information or insight, to be worth publishing. That doesn't meet my standards.

Comments on this blog have been thoroughly moderated for the whole 12 years the blog has existed, and it's going to stay that way.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I deleted a long, rambling comment with various mischaracterizations of this post, including the mistaken idea that I was merely assuming Trump meant the word "travel" to include shipping cargo. No, I normally wouldn't think "travel" meant cargo. Trump explicitly and incorrectly said the policy applied to "trade and cargo." That's a quote of President Trump, not my interpretation.