Trump Struggles Through Weekend COVID-19 Press Conference


On Saturday afternoon, as the Coronavirus outbreak continued to rage, President Donald Trump stepped into the White House briefing room for another press conference. He promptly launched into his familiar racist and self-centered tropes, even as Americans continue to get sick and die from a disease that has yet to be contained at any significant scale. Within minutes, he referred to the Coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” — which has no basis but racism — and he also lauded untested treatments for the disease that public health officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was standing right there, have already rebuffed.

In his initial remarks, Trump shared:

‘We’ve also reached agreements with Canada and Mexico on new travel rules at our northern and southern borders to halt the entry of the Chinese virus while continuing trade and commerce.’

The term “Chinese virus” has been criticized even by officials at the World Health Organization, but Trump doesn’t seem to care. The virus itself has no nationality, and the president’s implication otherwise is ludicrous and ignorant — some of the most staggering spread hasn’t even taken place in China. This Saturday, Italy announced over 6,500 new Coronavirus cases and almost 800 new deaths. No matter the facts, Trump has kept up with his petty insistence on referring to the outbreak as caused by the “Chinese virus.”

Trump also referenced malaria treatments that he’s been touting. At a press conference the day before, both Fauci and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn had insisted that the drugs were not in any way ready to be used for Coronavirus treatment, because they’d not even been used in a controlled clinical trial. The “evidence” for their effectiveness is only anecdotal — but Trump barged ahead anyway, delivering listeners’ potentially false hope in the process.

After glibly praising malaria treatments earlier in the day on Twitter as a potential Coronavirus treatment, Trump commented at the Saturday press conference:

‘Most excitingly to me is what the FDA has done in order to get, possibly, a very successful number of, not just one or two, a number of therapeutics, medicines that can help people that are already sick, help people not get sick, and obviously you know about the vaccine… but the vaccine is moving along. But this is something that for right now, for right now, this is what we really — it’s incredible.’

In reality — again, the drugs that Trump has been touting are not proven to be effective for the Coronavirus, and Nigeria even recently reported poisonings from the medications’ usage. That doesn’t seem to have slowed the president down one bit from his profound irresponsibility.

Also at the Saturday press conference, Vice President Mike Pence said that he and his wife Karen would soon get tested for the Coronavirus after a staffer in the vice president’s office tested positive. Tests have consistently proven rather hard to come by for struggling Americans, and on Saturday, Fauci encouraged asymptomatic individuals with no apparent reason to believe they have the virus to stay away from testing in order to help preserve supplies. Trump has largely refused to even admit that there have been issues with the medical supply process, and how are Americans supposed to move forward if the president won’t even face reality?