Toward the end of February, there were about 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. President Donald Trump vowed that those cases would be down to zero by the following week.
Since then, there are over 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and the death toll has surpassed 100. Both of those numbers are expected to sharply increase in the coming weeks.
Republicans at the time were largely following Trump's lead in dismissing the threat posed by the virus—but at least one Senator said in private what's becoming all too apparent to the public in the weeks following Trump's slow response to what has since become a pandemic.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) was secretly recorded speaking with a high profile group of constituents.
At the same time that Trump said the virus would "disappear" one day "like a miracle," Burr was saying the diametric opposite to North Carolina business interests.
"There's one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history. It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic."
"There will be, I'm sure, times that communities, probably some in North Carolina, have a transmission rate where they say, let's close schools for two weeks, everybody stay home."
You can listen to the full recording here.
As most know by now, Burr's warning was prescient. Schools around the nation have closed, not set to reopen for far longer than two weeks. Bars and restaurants have shuttered across numerous states as well.
His recording just went to show that at least one Republican knew the threat the virus would become, but kept silent while Trump dismissed it.
Anyone who withholds critical information from the American public that we could use to save lives, should be voted… https://t.co/PZ4pfrNGRz— Adeline (Recognize Trumpism as cult worship) (@Adeline (Recognize Trumpism as cult worship)) 1584630817.0
weep weep for the @GOP and its *choice* to live in supine craven cowardice from an American President who is a… https://t.co/roqEOsIdSE— ScottishPanda (@ScottishPanda) 1584628950.0
They knew. https://t.co/xmpGYbbhPV— Karen 200mph 🌊 (@Karen 200mph 🌊) 1584630403.0
Pandering to Trump may have cost lives. https://t.co/stUHOepWSQ— Danielle #DemCastOK #OneVoice1 ✍️🆘️ (@Danielle #DemCastOK #OneVoice1 ✍️🆘️) 1584629741.0
This does not square with the oath he swore when he assumed the duties of his office. https://t.co/algkDlrIcg— RonLichtinger (@RonLichtinger) 1584628900.0
Meanwhile, Americans largely feel that COVID-19 is as big a threat as Burr warned weeks ago.
We face two dire threats. One is a pandemic. One is a mandemic. The COVID-19 has created a serious risk for million… https://t.co/yE0nNXdBra— David Rothkopf (@David Rothkopf) 1583977171.0
The covid 19 response by our government is irresponsible and disastrous but it was completely predictable. The GOP… https://t.co/VMQzyVqe6P— Daryl Sturgis✊🏽 (@Daryl Sturgis✊🏽) 1584621009.0
In this moment, our biggest common enemy is COVID-19 and its disastrous effects on our communities. I and my collea… https://t.co/7G2zdGoETx— Rep. David E. Price (@Rep. David E. Price) 1584546260.0
Wash your hands. Stay inside. Vote in November.