Whenever Trump is in a mess he can’t lie his way out of, his fallback position is to appear on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show and allow him to guide Trump toward the proper spin. After a Twitter eruption where, on the day that tapes were released of him admitting that he “downplayed” the coronavirus, Trump had no words on the subject or on journalist Bob Woodward, who released the tapes.
For that, he needed the help of Sean Hannity.
Remember this: Trump is *still* downplaying the Coronavirus. The deliberate disinformation is not confined to his misleading dismissals in the spring. Just a week ago, he shared a conspiracy theory questioning the death toll.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) September 9, 2020
Hannity gave him an introduction to lead Trump to his talking points. He scorned the “mainstream media” for telling lies and creating hoaxes just 55 days before the election, implying that reports that Trump has disparaged the military and failed to inform the public about the threat of COVID-19. He insisted that those coronavirus statements reported, in particular, are all false, pointing to Trump’s travel ban on China. He ignores the fact that Trump allowed 140,000 people to travel to the U.S. from China after implementing the ban, that the first cases of the virus came to the U.S. from Europe, and that Trump’s response is clearly a failure since nearly 200,000 people are dead.
However, the introduction was nothing more than a starting point for Trump to twist words and deflect.
This is at least reckless endangerment and it's potentially criminally negligent homicide–or worse. 180,000 Americans should still be with us. How many more will die? And for what? Still no calls for Donald’s resignation @nytimes @washingtonpost?#HeKnew #VOTE
— Mary L Trump (@MaryLTrump) September 10, 2020
Both Hannity and Trump focused on Trump’s “response” to the virus, listing accomplishments and praise from other officials. Neither addressed the many statements Trump made publicly downplaying the virus and how those statements did not match what the president wasn’t telling the American people.
"It was China's fault" — Trump to Hannity on the coronavirus pic.twitter.com/wbCrKCHnxy
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 10, 2020
Trump also repeated claims that he didn’t want Americans to “panic,” which is why he downplayed the virus. There is, however, a big difference between keeping the public calm and outright lying to them. The quotes in Woodward’s article, all caught on tape, prove that Trump lied to the public about COVID-19 repeatedly.
“I can’t be jumping up and down scaring people,” Trump said on Hannity just now. No, he can’t—but he does.
— Jonathan Alter (@jonathanalter) September 10, 2020