During a press briefing on the global pandemic that's killed nearly 25,000 Americans, President Donald Trump prioritized his ego over potentially lifesaving information.
Near the beginning of the official White House briefing, the President played a compilation of clips purporting to show pundits, governors, and reporters praising his response to the virus after initially criticizing it.
In addition to selectively edited clips and remarks robbed of their context, the video's timeline leaps from February 6 to March 3, almost completely skipping February—the month in which Trump assured that the virus would disappear like a "miracle" and said that 15 cases would soon drop to zero.
As every American now knows, that didn't happen.
Watch the misleading video below.
https://t.co/6fEymjTjUM— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1586824379.0
CBS reporter Paula Reid noticed the gap and pressed Trump on it in a heated exchange.
Watch it here.
#CBS reporter Paula Reid questions President #Trump about what his administration did the entire month of February… https://t.co/RfGq56xhoW— PDF Streaming (@PDF Streaming) 1586845745.0
After Trump boasted his largely ineffective travel restrictions on China near the beginning of the U.S. outbreak, Reid asked:
"What did you do with the time that you bought, with the month of February?...The entire month of February, your video has a complete gap. What did your administration do in February with the time your travel ban bought you?"
Trump gave a vague answer of "a lot," but that wasn't enough for Reid, who pressed him on what his administration specifically did.
"In fact, we'll give you a list...We did a lot. Look, you know you're a fake. You know that. Your whole network, the way you cover it is fake."
Despite Reid's efforts to keep Trump on the subject, the conversation inevitably devolved into an all-too-routine display of childishness from a 73 year old man.
Trump was somewhat true to his word, however, about providing a list of actions to curb the virus that were taken in February, when he was still claiming the media was overblowing the virus to undermine his presidency.
The Trump campaign tweeted the list later that night.
Media keep asking what the Trump Administration was doing in February to combat the coronavirus after restricting t… https://t.co/QZnRe1toho— Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022) 1586817114.0
It was a master class in grasping at straws.
First off, five of the items on the list aren't in February, and other items are largely meaningless, such as "Trump told reporters the CDC is working with China" to fight the virus and "Trump vowed in his State of the Union address to 'take all necessary steps'" to combat it.
The list also boasts that Trump's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began delivering vital testing kits to labs on February 6, but it doesn't mention that these tests were faulty and had to be recalled, greatly slowing testing accessibility at the crucial early stages of the U.S. outbreak.
Bafflingly, it tries to present the World Health Organization's delegation to Wuhan, China as an achievement of the Trump administration. Trump himself has criticized the WHO's response to the virus and even threatened to defund it.
The memo touts that the Trump administration requested $2.5 billion in emergency funding from Congress to fight the virus. This request was panned at the time by Democrats and Republicans alike because the Trump administration was asking for too little. It was accused of "lowballing" the amount of money that would be needed to secure medical equipment and prevent a shortage.
Sure enough, that shortage did occur, and Congress passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package that dwarfed the paltry $2.5 billion requested by the Trump administration.
People noticed the rampant flaws in the memo.
Well, no wonder they left out 26 days. There was pretty much nothing happening. https://t.co/IFLHJDz7rL— Charles Johnson (@Charles Johnson) 1586827290.0
Trump campaign came out with a list of stuff Trump did as a result of last nights #TrumpMeltdown. This is incredib… https://t.co/b5hAXEnveQ— Aquatic Ecologist (@Aquatic Ecologist) 1586874921.0
So, you filled a bunch of pages with words. Okay, bud. https://t.co/NOrDSMtOZJ— Redredwiiiine 🌊 (@Redredwiiiine 🌊) 1586875989.0
This is the best case they can muster for taking action in February. Basically, they were talking about thinking ab… https://t.co/kUvgJAd5zT— Jay Bookman (@Jay Bookman) 1586831976.0
me trying to meet my billable hours during quarantine lol https://t.co/6U9gxhyuJ0— Sewertown News (@Sewertown News) 1586875106.0
During the month of February, Trump held no fewer than five campaign rallies and golfed at least twice, all the while dismissing the threat the virus posed.
People were quick to remind him of that.
Yesterday, @realDonaldTrump couldn't really answer when asked what he did to mitigate the #coronavirus in February.… https://t.co/SA0FOXPtDO— Democratic Coalition (@Democratic Coalition) 1586876805.0
Where's all the golfing trips and campaign rallies? https://t.co/uPYDW50KjL— ralphgarman (@ralphgarman) 1586833910.0
Save your strength....Simply put: golf, scream at rally, golf, scream at rally.......... https://t.co/N6R1JHExVd— Mary Christa Carbonneau (@Mary Christa Carbonneau) 1586870856.0
We know what you were doing in January and Febuary. You were Golfing and you were at Rallies telling Lies and inst… https://t.co/cmU0iJYVSK— Pamela Dubsky #BoycottNRA (@Pamela Dubsky #BoycottNRA) 1586877747.0
Don't fall for the Trump campaign's attempt to rewrite the history of its bungled response.