Fact check: Trump makes another round of misstatements during coronavirus briefing
President Donald Trump told reporters during a daily White House coronavirus briefing that Vice President Mike Pence is calling Democratic governors such as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, despite President Trump saying he should not talk to them if they don’t “treat you right.”
Inaccuracies about the stock market. Baffling statements about a closed GM plant. Stating you can call coronavirus the flu.
President Donald Trump on Friday continued the false and misleading claims that have become a part of White House briefings on coronavirus, wrapping up a week in which the number of confirmed cases across the country topped 100,000.
We are still going through the tape, but here is the developing roundup:
The real state of the stock market 22 days ago
Trump claimed that 22 days ago, “everything was going beautifully” before the US got hit by what he calls “the invisible enemy.” He said, “22 days ago we had the greatest economy in the world, everything was going beautifully, the stock market hit an all-time high”
Facts First: While the market had previously set all-time records under Trump, on March 5, 22 days before Trump’s comments, the Dow dropped 3.6% or 970 points, then its fifth-worst single-day point drop on record, adding to a 3,000-point drop since its peak on February 12. That day’s fall in the Dow followed drops of 1,000 points and 800 points earlier that week.
How unforeseen the coronavirus crisis was
Multiple times throughout Friday’s press briefing, the President claimed the current situation was unprecedented and unforeseen. According to Trump, “nobody was prepared for this,” not even past presidents. He added, “In all fairness to all of the former presidents, none of them ever thought a thing like this could happen.”
Facts First: This is false. The US intelligence community and public health experts had warned for years that the country was at risk from a pandemic. Experts had also warned that the country would face shortages of critical medical equipment, such as ventilators, if a pandemic occurred.
The former GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio
As he did on Twitter earlier on Friday, Trump suggested at the briefing that General Motors should manufacture ventilators at its plant in Lordstown, Ohio.
“…frankly, I think that would be a good place to build the ventilators, but we’ll see,” Trump said.
Facts First: General Motors sold the shuttered Lordstown facility in November 2019. Trump had applauded the potential sale in a tweet in May 2019. Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said on Twitter after Trump’s Friday tweet but before the briefing: “General Motors sold Lordstown. If the President cared about its former workers, he would know that.”