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Donald Trump

More than anyone else, Donald Trump has enabled, fostered, and exacerbated the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 350,000 Americans and sickened more than 19 million.

Trump has ignored the virus, deciding to instead make endless racist statements about China, lie to the American people about COVID's deadly impact, work against governors trying to be responsible, kneecap the economy, and encourage Americans to take part in activities that made them sick.

And when Trump got COVID-19 himself, he *still* held indoor rallies and met with donors at a big event before the news got out, putting thousands more at direct risk and many, many more in the range of the virus. His event announcing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court became its own super-spreader event, having infected dozens of people. Further White House parties did the same.

After vaccines were approved, it also became clear that Trump was uninterested in any vaccine distribution plan. Instead, he's spent his time fighting his clear election loss.

Donald Trump


He Knew That COVID Was Deadly and Lied Continuously About It

  • Early January: Trump is first alerted to the virus growing in China via his Daily Briefing and is soon told that it could turn into a pandemic that infects the entire world.
  • February 7th: Trump admits to Bob Woodward is COVID-19 was remarkably deadly — "more deadly than even your strenuous flus," he says.
  • February 9th: Trump says “I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus. So let’s see what happens, but I think it’s going to work out fine.”
  • February 26th: Instead of telling Americans the truth, Trump said that COVID was "like a flu" and that cases would be "close to zero" within a few days during a White House coronavirus task force briefing.
  • February 29th: Trump again promises that "like a miracle, it’ll just disappear."
  • March 4th: During a phone interview with Sean Hannity, Trump cast doubt on the official infection rate. 
  • March 19th: Trump tells Bob Woodward, "To be honest with you, I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic."

He Got COVID-19 — and Exposed More People to It

  • September 30th: Trump arrives too late in Cleveland for a COVID-19 test. The debate organizers decide to use the "honor system."
  • October 1st: Trump's long-time aide, Hope Hicks, announces that she's tested positive for COVID-19. She flew with Trump on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • October 2nd: News breaks that Trump has tested positive for COVID-19. He finally admits to having COVID-19 after the news breaks.
  • More Republicans begin to come down with the illness, including Sens. Mike Lee and Thom Tillis. It becomes clear that the maskless, close-quarters event celebrating the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Sep. 27th was a super-spreader event.
  • October 5th: Trump leaves Walter Reed early, heading back to the White House on a trip that exposes more agents and employees to COVID-19. White House staff, largely consisting of Black and Latin workers, is kept in the dark.
  • October 6th: Speaking from the White House, Trump eschews advice that he should use his illness as an opportunity urge people to be safe and instead promises that an unproven "cure" will soon be available and free for all Americans. It never happens.

He’s Encouraged and Facilitated Millions of People Being Exposed to the Virus

  • March 7th: Trump tries to keep American passengers on the COVID-stricken Grand Princess cruise ship from docking despite dire conditions. "I like the numbers being where they are. I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault," he says.
  • March 11th: The Grand Princess is allowed to dock but passengers with COVID are forced to ride in helicopters with those who were not infected. One authority on infectious diseases calls it "one of the cruelest human experiments I’ve seen in my entire career."
  • April 17th: As COVID continues to devastate, Trump signals support for armed, maskless militias congregating in state capitols to protest safety regulations. "They seem to be very responsible people to me," Trump says. "They’ve been treated, a little bit rough."
  • Trump, trying to force states to open prematurely, also encourages armed, maskless protestors across the country with tweets like "LIBERATE MICHIGAN."
  • Late April/Early May: Trump encourages states to re-open, in many cases pushing them to move faster than his own White House’s guidelines. COVID cases in these states, including Florida and Texas, skyrocket all summer.
  • June 23rd: Trump holds another large indoor, maskless rally, this one in Arizona. 
  • The same goes for Arizona, where a corresponding spike happened in the same time frame.
  • July 24th: Going against CDC recommendations, Trump threatens to cut federal support for school districts that do not open up for in-person education at the beginning of the new school year. He forces the CDC to withdraw its recommendations and issue new ones.
  • August: Trump's White House hires his favorite Fox News medical pundit, Dr. Scott Atlas of Stanford's Hoover Institute. Atlas spends 130 days advocating for fewer precautions, stopping the White House from dispersing billions of dollars in testing funds, and then resigns at the end of October when his tenure is ending.
  • October 1st: Trump announces that he will be going forward with a rally in Wisconsin, against the advice of his own White House's coronavirus task force.

The Face Mask Saga

  • April 4th: As the CDC recommends that people wear face masks, Trump says "I won’t be wearing one personally." 
  • He continues to refuse to wear a mask for months, politicizing what is seen as the most effective way of stopping the disease’s transmission. Trump publicly states, over and over again, that he won’t wear a mask. 
  • May 5th: Trump visits a Honeywell plant in Arizona. He wears safety goggles but no mask.
  • May 26th: When asked by journalists, Trump says Biden wearing a mask was "unusual."
  • Late August: After wearing masks sporadically, Trump stops wearing them again. He appears at Republican National Convention events without a mask and makes campaign stops maskless, as well.
  • Early September: Trump’s campaign begins conducting near-daily events, with no masks involved.

He Continues to Lie About Drugs and Treatments

  • March 19th: Trump first brings up hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, as a potential treatment for COVID-19. "The nice part is, it's been around for a long time, so we know that if if things don't go as planned, it's not going to kill anybody," he says.
  • March 20th: Dr. Anthony Fauci, when asked whether he thought hydroxychloroquine would be useful against COVID, minced no words: "The answer is no," he says
  • Trump then pushed back at the same press conference, saying, "I’m a big fan… I feel good about it. That's all it is, just a feeling, you know."
  • March 21st: Trump tweets about a French study that shows hydroxychloroquine could help with COVID… the study is said to be flawed and presented to be more successful than it was.
  • April 13th: Hydroxychloroquine is linked to fatal heart issues amongst patients in Brazil. Several days earlier, the American Heart Association issued warnings about the dangers it presents.
  • April 22nd: Trump forces out the FDA vaccine chief. The ousted official, Rick Bright, says his pushing back on the hydroxychloroquine was one of the reasons he was fired.
  • April 24th: FDA issues a warning about hydroxychloroquine, saying that it "has not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19."
  • May 18th: Undaunted, Trump says he’s been taking hydroxychloroquine. Sales skyrocket across the country, despite all the other warnings.
  • All summer: Trump continues to promote hydroxychloroquine, defying the agencies and doctors that say it is not safe for consumption unless prescribed for its actual purpose. 
  • September 8th: He continues to push the fiction that a vaccine will be ready by election day, despite pharmaceutical executives saying that will not be the case.