Before the first U.S. death was reported on Feb. 29th, the Trump admin was working to protect the American people
Before the news cycle (finally) turned to stories about the Tara Reade allegations against Joe Biden and the FBI’s apparent shocking malfeasance in entrapping General Mike Flynn, the Washington Post published a story claiming that President Trump ignored Wuhan coronavirus warnings issued throughout January and February in his daily presidential briefing book.
The story was picked up and regurgitated by an anti-Trump activist media intent on undermining Trump by any means necessary, including by burying, as WaPo did, clear refutation of their unsubstantiated claim.
According to the Washington Post, the president’s classified daily briefings included “warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat.”
The unnamed sources were foregrounded, while an actual named source refuting the claim was not mentioned until paragraph eight:
A White House spokesman disputed the characterization that Trump was slow to respond to the virus threat. “President Trump rose to fight this crisis head-on by taking early, aggressive historic action to protect the health, wealth and well-being of the American people,” said spokesman Hogan Gidley. “We will get through this difficult time and defeat this virus because of his decisive leadership.”
As if that’s not bad enough, it’s only in the ninth paragraph that WaPo gets around to noting that the suggestion the president ignored his presidential daily briefing (PDB) has been denied by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the office responsible for the PDB.
This isn’t true. And we told you this before you wrote. And you put the DNI denial of your premise in paragraph 9. https://t.co/kVYJvGxL0r
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 28, 2020
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is responsible for the PDB. In response to questions about the repeated mentions of coronavirus, a DNI official said, “The detail of this is not true.” The official declined to explain or elaborate.
So WaPo contacted the DNI about claims the president ignored Wuhan coronavirus warnings in Jan/Feb PDB’s, and the DNI responded that the “detail of this is not true.” What do they need to explain here? Maybe WaPo needs to provide its list of questions so that we can make that determination ourselves? I’m pretty sure the context would greatly improve our understanding of the DNI response . . . and undermine the WaPo smear, thus the absence of said context.
It’s not actually clear what the point of the WaPo article is except to smear the president with the false implication that his administration ignored the Wuhan coronavirus until March. This smear is completely and demonstrably false.
Of course, the mindless, anti-Trump stenographers who make up the legacy and leftstream media “covered” the questionable story, all linking to this flimsy WaPo hit piece that provides no evidence to support—and that actually refutes—its own claim.
Vanity Fair is now repeating the false Washington Post narrative. As we have said multiple times, this story is not true. https://t.co/0h0jbwiulo
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 28, 2020
Business Insider: “Trump’s daily briefings warned about COVID-19 at least a dozen times before the US outbreak, but he ‘failed to register’ the threat”
CNN: “The intelligence community did its job, but Trump didn’t do his”
MSN: “Trump reportedly ignored intel briefings on coronavirus threat”
NYMag: “Trump Informed of Coronavirus Threat in January in Briefings He’s Known Not to Read: Report”
CNN (again): “Washington Post: US intelligence warned Trump in January and February as he dismissed coronavirus threat”
Setting aside for the moment the fact that a global pandemic of this sort is new to everyone in the world and that no one, including top virologists, has answers, keep in mind that the first U.S. death from Wuhan coronavirus was reported on February 29th in Seattle.
What was Trump doing about the Wuhan coronavirus in January and February when he was supposedly ignoring the potential crisis?
Oh, right, setting up a coronavirus task force and issuing travel restrictions on China, well before the first U.S. death occurred. How did he know to take these actions if he was ignoring his daily briefings? Weird, right?
Classic. If the President says “up,” Democrats must say “down,” regardless of what they’ve said before. https://t.co/dqvJPhpBjx
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) April 27, 2020
✳️The President cut off travel from China – where the virus originated – before there was a single known death in the U.S.
The mainstream media & Joe Biden immediately criticized the decision. The restrictions saved American lives and experts agree it was the right move!
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) April 29, 2020
✳️While President Trump requested billions of dollars to combat the coronavirus, Nancy Pelosi was urging people to congregate in San Francisco's Chinatown.
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) April 29, 2020
You can view a more complete timeline of the Trump administration’s response, but here are some highlights from January and February when the media claims Trump was ignoring the then only potential pandemic:
December 31: China reports the discovery of the coronavirus to the World Health Organization.
January 3: CDC Director Robert Redfield sent an email to the director of the Chinese CDC, George Gao, formally offering to send U.S. experts to China to investigate the coronavirus.
January 5: CDC Director Redfield sent another email to the Chinese CDC Director, George Gao, formally offering to send U.S. experts to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak,
January 6: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a level I travel notice for Wuhan, China due to the spreading coronavirus.
January 7: The CDC established a coronavirus incident management system to better share and respond to information about the virus.
January 11: The CDC updated a Level 1 travel health notice for Wuhan, China.
January 17: The CDC began implementing public health entry screening at the 3 U.S. airports that received the most travelers from Wuhan – San Francisco, New York JFK, and Los Angeles.
January 20: Dr. Fauci announces the National Institutes of Health is already working on the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus.
January 21: The CDC activated its emergency operations center to provide ongoing support to the coronavirus response.
January 23: The CDC sought a “special emergency authorization” from the FDA to allow states to use its newly developed coronavirus test.
January 27: President Trump tweeted that he made an offer to President Xi Jinping to send experts to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak.
January 27: The CDC issued a level III travel health notice urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to China due to the coronavirus.
January 27: The White House Coronavirus Task Force started meeting to help monitor and contain the spread of the virus and provide updates to the President.
January 29: The White House announced the formation of the Coronavirus Task Force to help monitor and contain the spread of the virus and provide updates to the President.
January 31: The Trump Administration:
Declared the coronavirus a public health emergency.
Announced Chinese travel restrictions.
Suspended entry into the United States for foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
January 31: The Department of Homeland Security took critical steps to funnel all flights from China into just 7 domestic U.S. airports.
. . . . February 2: The CDC expanded enhanced entry screening to eight major airports across the nation.
February 4: President Trump vowed in his State of the Union Address to “take all necessary steps” to protect Americans from the coronavirus.
February 5: The Trump Administration and health officials briefed lawmakers on the Federal Government’s coronavirus response efforts.
February 6: The CDC began shipping CDC-Developed test kits for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus to U.S. and international labs.
February 7: President Trump told reporters that the CDC is working with China on the coronavirus.
February 9: The White House Coronavirus Task Force briefed governors from across the nation at the National Governors’ Association Meeting in Washington.
February 11: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expanded a partnership with Janssen Research & Development to “expedite the development” of a coronavirus vaccine.
February 12: The U.S. shipped test kits for the 2019 novel coronavirus to approximately 30 countries who lacked the necessary reagents and other materials.
February 12: The CDC was prepared to travel to China but had yet to receive permission from the Chinese government.
February 14: The CDC began working with five labs to conduct “community-based influenza surveillance” to study and detect the spread of coronavirus.
. . . . February 24: The Trump Administration sent a letter to Congress requesting at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Febraury [sic] 25: HHS Secretary Azar testified before the Senate HELP committee on the Administration’s coronavirus response efforts.
February 26: President Trump discussed coronavirus containment efforts with Indian PM Modi and updated the press on his Administration’s containment efforts in the U.S. during his state visit to India.
. . . February 29: The Trump Administration:
Announced a level 4 travel advisory to areas of Italy and South Korea.
Barred all travel to Iran.
Barred the entry of foreign citizens who visited Iran in the last 14 days.
It’s impossible to see how this executive branch response, beginning in early January (the 3rd), suggests the president was ignoring or not reading Wuhan coronavirus material in his daily briefings, and it’s hard to see what more the administration could have done given the information available at the time.
During this time period, the media itself and their Democrat overlords were focused on impeachment and on downplaying the Wuhan coronavirus threat. The latter point, though, can be excused since no one knew what to expect, but they seem to imagine Trump should have some sort of prophetic ability, an ability that they themselves—his self-declared intellectual and moral superiors—do not possess.
Yet during his February 4th State of the Union (SOTU) address, Trump assured the nation that he would do everything necessary to protect the American people from the Wuhan coronavirus.
We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the coronavirus outbreak in China. My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.
How did he know about it in early February if he was ignoring his Jan/Feb briefings? Things that make you go “hmmm.”
And let’s not forget that Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of the SOTU speech on national television, claiming she could find not one word of truth in the whole thing. Was she downplaying the threat?
Also good to remember, though Pelosi herself seems to have memory-holed it:
At the same time President @RealDonaldTrump was taking action to slow the spread of the coronavirus from China…
…Nancy Pelosi was trying to limit the President’s authority to restrict entry into the U.S. when it could keep Americans safe.
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) April 27, 2020
Also of note:
"The evidence suggests it's probably not" serious, he said. pic.twitter.com/Ckcko3tucp
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) April 28, 2020
The president, for his part, is looking forward, as he should be, and attempting to get the country reopened as quickly and safely as possible.
We have been covering Media Hoaxes, here are our posts to date:
- Media Hoaxes: No, There Has Not Been A Spike In Calls To Poison Control Because Of Trump’s Recent Comments
- Media Hoaxes: No, Trump does not owe $200 million to Bank of China (UPDATE: Politico issues statement noting other reporting errors)
- Media Hoaxes: No, Trump Did Not Send 17 Tons of Public U.S. Coronavirus Supplies to China
- Media Hoaxes: No, Trump Did Not Call Coronavirus a Hoax, and No, Fauci Was Not “Muzzled”
- Media Hoaxes: No, Trump did not “disband” WH pandemic office, cut CDC work from “49 to 10” countries, or refuse WHO “testing kits”
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