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From threats to denial - five Donald Trump coronavirus shockers that had us shook

Trump has often elected to spread misinformation and deny the impact of the virus, despite several warnings from experts

22 April 2020 - 11:21 By Cebelihle Bhengu
February was a crucial month for the US in terms of instituting measures to mitigate and control the coronavirus. Here's evidence that US President Donald Trump missed the boat.
February was a crucial month for the US in terms of instituting measures to mitigate and control the coronavirus. Here's evidence that US President Donald Trump missed the boat.
Image: REUTERS/Leah Millis

From his response to the coronavirus, to his handling of reporters and controversial moves concerning immigration and the WHO, US President Donald Trump continues to raise eyebrows.

Here are five moments that left the global community shooketh.

Delayed mass quarantine and misinformation 

February was crucial for America, as health experts made recommendations regarding steps the president needed to take to prevent a crisis in the US. Some of these measures included conducting mass screenings and testing of travellers coming into the US so as to get started on isolation and mass quarantine.

This did not immediately happen as a Reuters survey found that “only a handful” of passengers had been screened in February 8.

CNN made a compilation of all the president's fails in the month of February which included him spreading misinformation that the US would have a coronavirus vaccine “ready by the summer”, despite experts saying developing a vaccine would take far longer.

New York is reporting at least 66,497 positive cases of Covid-19 and more than 1,300 related deaths. This means that nearly three in 1,000 people in New York City is infected. Medical workers share their experience in the life-or-death fight against the virus.

Trump has, on numerous occasions, dismissed coronavirus either as “just a flu” or a “once-off thing”, all while saying the US had it under control and was “in good shape”.

Asked by CNBC in January if he was worried about the potential disaster the virus would cause in the US, he responded “we totally have it under control. It's one person coming in from China, we have it under control, it's going to be just fine.”

Immigration suspension

Trump has been accused of using the coronavirus pandemic to crack down on immigration in the US. This followed his announcement on Monday that green card recipients would be prevented from entering the US for 60 days to slow the spread of coronavirus. He also said this would allow Americans to have access to the job market without competing with immigrants.

According to the Washington Post, Trump also said the temporary ban would help preserve “vital medical resources”.

Threatens withdrawal of WHO funding 

Two weeks ago, Trump blamed the World Health Organisation (WHO) for not doing enough to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the US. He threatened during his press conference that he would withhold funding to the organisation, as he said it displayed bias towards China.

“We're going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO and we'll see. It's a great thing if it works but when they call every shot wrong, that's no good.”

One week later he announced that a review into the role of WHO in the US would be conducted and funding withheld until the review was completed. 

He accused WHO of mismanagement and covering up the extent of the spread of coronavirus to protect China. He said halting funding, even amid a global pandemic, was the only way to hold the WHO accountable. 

“I am instructing my administration to halt funding while a review is conducted to assess the WHO role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus. The WHO failed in its duty and must be held accountable.”

Attack on journalist - 'you're a terrible reporter'

On Friday last week, Trump attacked a NBC journalist who challenged him for being overly optimistic about the coronavirus treatment. During the White House task force briefing, Trump said he had a “good feeling” about the anti-malaria drug, chloroquine.

“It may work and it may not work. I feel good about it. If you want it, you get a prescription and by the way, it's very effective.”

Asked to give a message of hope to Americans who may be scared due to the thousands of deaths related to coronavirus, Trump said, “I say that you're a terrible reporter. That's a nasty question and bad signal that you're putting out to the American people.

“The American people are looking for answers and hope and you're doing some sensationalism.”

Opening up the states, encouraging protests

Trump tweeted in support of Americans who were protesting against the lockdown and its restrictions, just one day after he addressed state governors and gave them guidelines on how they could ease some of the lockdown rules in an orderly manner, according to New York Times. 

He was criticised on social media and by different commentators for inciting violence and dividing the country. 


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