Donald Trump Jr. is mimicking his father by undermining scientists. On the day he downplayed the COVID-19 death toll, nearly 1,000 people in the United States died from the virus.
President Donald Trump is not the only person in his family spreading misinformation about the coronavirus. While appearing on Fox News, Donald Trump Jr. falsely claimed that the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the US is lower than what is reported by public health experts.
“The [death toll] is almost nothing because we’ve gotten control of this thing,” the president’s eldest child told Fox News Host Laura Ingraham on Thursday.
On that same day, roughly 1,000 Americans died from the virus. As of Oct. 22, Johns Hopkins University recorded that more than 9 million people in the US have contracted COVID-19. The total number of cases will soon rapidly increase with the country bracing for an emerging third wave of the virus.
Trump Jr. is directly taking cues from his father by undermining scientists and falsely stating that the virus is “rounding the corner.” At a rally in The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, the president criticized major cable news networks—particularly CNN and MSNBC—for its fixation on the coronavirus.
“All you hear is COVID, COVID, COVID,” Trump said, repeating the word 11 times in total. “That’s all they put on because they want to scare the hell out of everyone.”
The president also claimed that the pandemic would quickly end. “You look at what is going on, and we’re rounding the turn, we’re rounding the corner. We’re rounding the corner beautifully,” Trump added.
In March, the president confessed to veteran journalist Bob Woodard that he knowingly downplayed the coronavirus and knew it would be more deadly than the common flu.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump reportedly told Woodward on audio released in September. “I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”
Since January, the president has tried to convince the public that the coronavirus will simply go away on its own at least 38 times. To help make sense of these moments, here is a timeline breaking down the several instances the president has denied the severity of the virus:
Jan. 22: 1 case, 0 deaths
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms the country’s first coronavirus case. Trump told a CNBC reporter that his administration is not worried about a pandemic and has it “completely under control.”
Feb. 27: 17 cases, 0 deaths
During a roundtable with Black leaders, the president said a “miracle” might make the coronavirus “disappear.”
“It could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows,” said Trump.
March 10: 782 cases, 0 deaths
After a meeting with Republican senators, President Trump said the White House is “prepared” and “doing a great job with” managing the virus.
“It will go away,” he said. “Just stay calm.”
April 3: 280,000 cases, 9.3K deaths
The CDC announces its first cloth mask recommendation. President Trump said it is “voluntary,” and he will likely not wear a mask.
May 19: 1.5 million cases, 89.7K deaths
A few days shy of 100,000 known coronavirus-related deaths, President Trump told reporters the high number of cases in the US is a “badge of honor.”
“So, when we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing,” he explained. “I look at that, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better.”
June 16: 2.1 million cases, 114.4K deaths
Before signing the Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities, the president said that even without a vaccine, the coronavirus will go away.
June 17: 2.2 million cases, 115.1K deaths
President Trump organizes a big rally in Oklahoma. In an interview with Gray Television’s Washington Bureau Chief Jacqueline Policastro, President Trump said he isn’t worried about people getting sick because the number of coronavirus cases was “minuscule” and is “dying out.”
July 19: 3.8 million cases, 136.6K deaths
During a Fox News Sunday interview, the president said some people without severe symptoms are incorrectly confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19.
“Many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day,” Trump said. “They have the sniffles, and we put it down as a test.”
Sept. 21: 6.9 million cases, 195.2K deaths
At a campaign rally in Swanton, Ohio, Trump falsely states the coronavirus “affects virtually nobody,” despite over 200,000 Americans dying because of the virus.
Oct. 6: 7.5 million cases, 206.3K deaths
A few days after the White House announced the president and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus, the former reality TV star tells the nation to “not be afraid” of COVID.
“Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen,” Trump said about the virus in a video message. “We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines, all developed recently, and you’re going to beat it.”
Oct. 16: 8 million cases, 213.9K deaths
Once again, Trump claims the pandemic will end without a vaccine at a campaign rally in Ocala, Florida.
“It’s gonna run its course,” the president said. “It’s gonna end. They’ll go crazy.”.