Asked about his previous compliments on China's response to the virus, Trump falsely suggested that the compliments had all come before the virus arrived in the United States and before completing a trade agreement with China. And he doubtfully suggested that he had quickly resolved problems with coronavirus testing, although many public health experts say he was slow to respond and that the country is still far from a sufficient number of tests.
Trump reiterated some old favorite facts about his travel restrictions for China and Europe (they were not completely banned), trade with China (it is not true that the US had never received any money from China), and the Veterans Choice Health Program (President Barack Obama, not Trump, signed it into law).
Trump also made a subjective claim that the US death toll per capita death toll is "very strong." The United States does not have the worst numbers in the world, but it has fared worse than any other country – including South Korea, which had its first confirmed case at exactly the same time in January.
Trump again claimed that South Korean President Moon Jae-in had called him to compliment the administration's work on coronavirus testing, saying, "The testing and the masks and all things: We solved all the problems. We solved it quickly." to CNN that it would not discuss the content of their conversations.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made it clear that there is no certainty that even this timeline will be met. He said, "That's what I'm told by the people responsible for the testing. I'll take them for their words. If that doesn't happen, I'll go to them and say & # 39; What happened here, why didn't it happen? , and how can we fix it? & # 39; "
Trump's compliments on China
When CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta asked Trump about the fact that he had previously been free of China's response to the virus and asked Trump about what has changed since then, Trump called for his trade talks with China.
During the negotiations, Trump said, he was free with China, although he was sometimes not. But after he signed the deal, he continued, "Suddenly we heard that there is a virus and a virus coming in. It changes your mind a lot. It's a whole other thing."
When another reporter followed up later in the incident, Trump said, "Well, I'm making a trade deal with China. This was before the virus – of course I'm going to be free." He said that "the most important thing is that we ended up making a deal before the virus came, and I was very happy with the deal, but later it was replaced by a virus that shouldn't have happened."
For example, while talking to reporters Feb. 18, Trump said, "I think President Xi is working very hard" and "doing it very professionally." Asked if he relied on data coming from China, Trump again praised Xi Jinping: "Look, I know this: President Xi loves the people of China, he loves his country and he does a very good job with a very, very tough situation . "
In a speech with reporters on February 23, Trump was asked whether Xi should do something different in his handling of the crisis. He replied: "No, I think President Xi works very, very hard. I talked to him. He works very hard. I think he does a very good job. It's a big problem. But President Xi loves his country. He works very difficult to solve the problem and he will solve the problem. OK? "
Trump claimed that compared to other countries, the United States has a "very strong" number of coronavirus deaths per million people.
"Our total deaths, the number per million people, are very, very strong. We are very proud of the work we have done," the president said.
First facts: The United States has reported 192 deaths per coronavirus per million per Thursday night. Although it is not the most recorded coronavirus deaths per million, it is not the least. Countries including Belgium, Spain and Italy have had more deaths as a percentage of the population, while countries including South Korea, which had its first confirmed case at about the same time as the US, have had far fewer. (It is important to note that there are questions about the accuracy of figures from countries around the world, both because of suspicions of data manipulation from countries such as China, and because early death counts are imprecise.)
Travel restrictions for China and Europe
Trump once again said his administration put a "ban" on China and Europe, and used travel policy as its primary defense against criticism of its response to the pandemic.
"As you know, very early in January, we put the ban in China," he said Thursday, before adding, "Then we later set the ban in Europe."
First facts: Trump's characterization of these travel restrictions as a "ban" is misleading because both policies included several exceptions, including for US citizens and residents; European policy exempted entire countries. Only foreign nationals who had been to China, Europe's Schengen area, the United Kingdom or Ireland during the past 14 days were directly banned from entering the United States. And while travel restrictions to China were announced in late January, the regulations came into force before February 2.
Tariff revenues and China
Trump stated his trade policy with China and reiterated a common false claim that until he took office, "China never gave our country anything. China gave us nothing. Not 10 cents."
Trump discussed efforts to help veterans and retirees and again claimed credit for implementing the Veterans Choice health program.
With veteran secretary Robert Wilkie in the hall, the president said, "And we are greatly helped by the passing of all the things that we got passed, Robert, especially Choice, so people can go and see their doctor when they need to and especially our elderly."