Saturday, January 21, 2023

Some nonsense from ChatGPT about file system immutability flags in OpenBSD

 I was thinking about writing a blog post about file system immutability flags in OpenBSD, and thought I'd ask ChatGPT to write it for me. It appears to have gleaned its content from OpenBSD man pages, but it is highly misleading and inaccurate, misrepresenting the key distinction between system and user immutability flags.

What it got right is that only the superuser (root) can set and unset the system immutability flag (schg/noschg) while users (if they own the file) can set and unset the user immutability flag (uchg/nouchg). But either flag can be set or unset on any kind of file.

The user immutability flag can be unset (nouchg) by either the superuser or the owner of the file regardless of the system security run level (-1 to 2), but the system immutability flag can only be unset (noschg) by the superuser when the system security run level is 0 (insecure mode) or -1 (permanently insecure mode).

During boot, the system normally starts in single-user mode at security run level 0. The init process raises the run level to 1 (secure mode) when booting to multi-user mode, and to 2 (highly secure mode) if the rc.securelevel config file so specifies. The system secure level can also be raised if the superuser changes it with the sysctl command, setting the kern.securelevel variable. The permanently insecure mode (-1) can be set with sysctl only while in insecure mode, which will cause the init process to not raise the security level to 1 during boot to multi-user mode.

The man page for securelevel gives an overview of the restrictions at each security level. I run my systems at secure level 2, highly secure mode. Secure mode (secure level = 1) and above prevent lowering the secure level except by the init process (when the system is shutdown back to single user mode), do not allow /dev/mem or /dev/kmem to be opened, make raw disk devices read only, and disallow unsetting of system immutability flags (or unsetting the related system append-only flags, sappnd, using nosappnd), along with a few other restrictions. Highly secure mode (securelevel = 2) also prevents setting the time backward or close to overflow, and prevents changing host firewall rules (pf filter and NAT rules), though IP addresses may still be added or removed from tables. The most significant difference between the system and user immutability flags is not what files they are set on, but that the user immutability flags can be turned off at any time by the file owner or superuser, while the system immutability flags can only be changed while in insecure modes, i.e., after a shutdown from multi-user operation.

I use system file immutability flags on most configuration files, system binaries, and system libraries as an obstacle to an attacker in the event of a compromise and escalation of privileges. If an attacker has console access to a system, they can bypass these flags by shutting down the system and unsetting the flags. If I left certain config files without file system immutability flags set, an attacker could modify one of those config files that leads to execution during system startup to insert commands to unset the flags, and then reboot the system so that those commands execute while the system is in insecure mode.

These flags can get in the way and cause problems without an efficient way to manage them, as they need to be unset in order to do system patches and updates--it's bad news if you try to do a system upgrade while many files are set with immutability flags. They also block features like OpenBSD's kernel address randomized link (KARL) and library reordering address space layout randomization (ASLR) features, which relink the kernel and certain key libraries on reboot to make blind return-oriented programming (BROP) attacks more difficult. I use scripts called syslock/sysunlock to manage the immutability flags. These scripts have a config file (kept immutable, of course) that specifies which files and directory contents to set immutable, and defines groups so that I can unlock what I need at a particular time with a single command. When I want to allow KARL and library ASLR to occur, I do a sysunlock -s (unlock system files) while in single user mode and then boot. I've also defined groups for things like "everything in /etc", "everything related to DNS", etc.

My rc.securelevel config file contains a command to sleep for a period of time, then do a syslock -s after raising the system security level, giving the system time to do the relinking, so I don't need to issue a command to re-lock those files. This is a process I also follow when installing kernel patches, as syspatch fails to do kernel relinking when in single-user mode. That is, I boot to single-user mode, unlock the system files with "sysunlock -s", then exit back to multi-user mode and the KARL process (/usr/libexec/reorder_kernel) and library ASLR (part of /etc/rc) run without error.

syslock/sysunlock may be found at and on Github at

Anyway, after that long introduction, here's what ChatGPT had to say about all this; my prompts are in red:

write a few paragraphs explaining immutable flags in OpenBSD including the commands for setting them and the difference between system and user immutable flags

In OpenBSD, immutable flags are used to protect files from being modified or deleted. These flags can be set on both system and user files, and are useful for preventing accidental or malicious changes to important system files.

To set an immutable flag on a file, the "chflags" command can be used. The command takes the form "chflags immutable [filename]" and can be used to set the flag on a single file or multiple files at once. To remove the immutable flag, the command "chflags noschg [filename]" can be used.

The difference between system and user immutable flags is the level of protection they provide. System immutable flags are set on system files and are only modifiable by the superuser. User immutable flags are set on user files and can be modified by the owner of the file. This allows users to protect their own files, while also allowing the system administrator to protect important system files.

It's important to note that while immutable flags provide a level of protection, they should not be considered as a replacement for proper file permissions and security practices. It's still important to use appropriate permissions to control access to files and to keep your system updated to protect against known vulnerabilities.

Can I set the user immutable flag on a system file or the system immutable flag on a user file?

In OpenBSD, the system immutable flag can only be set on system files, and the user immutable flag can only be set on user files. Attempting to set a user immutable flag on a system file or a system immutable flag on a user file will result in an error.

This is because the system immutable flag is intended for use on system files that should not be modified by anyone other than the superuser. Setting this flag on a user file would not provide any additional security, as the user already has full control over their own files. Similarly, the user immutable flag is intended for use on user files that should not be modified by the owner. Setting this flag on a system file would not provide any additional security, as the superuser already has the ability to modify system files.

It's important to use the appropriate immutable flag for the type of file you are working with to ensure that the file is protected as intended.

[UPDATE, 22 Jan 2023:]

That is incorrect. The system immutable flag can be set on user files and the user immutable flag can be set on system files. The difference is not what files they can be used on, but that the system immutable flag can only be unset by the superuser when the system is in insecure mode, while the user immutable flag can be unset by the file owner or superuser at any system security run level.

I apologize, you are correct. The system immutable flag can be set on user files, and the user immutable flag can be set on system files. The difference between the two flags is not the type of file they can be applied to, but rather the level of protection they provide and who can unset them.

The system immutable flag provides a higher level of protection and can only be unset by the superuser when the system is in insecure mode, This means that once the system flag is set, the file cannot be modified or deleted without booting in insecure mode.

On the other hand, the user immutable flag can be unset by the file owner or the superuser at any system security run level. This means that the file can be modified or deleted by the owner of the file or superuser at any time.

Again, I apologize for the confusion in my previous answer. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

Books read in 2022

 Not much blogging going on here still, but here's my annual list of books read for 2022.

  • Heather Adkins, Betsy Beyer, Paul Blankinship, Piotr Lewandowski, Ana Oprea, and Adam Stubblefield, Building Secure and Reliable Systems: Best Practices for Designing, Implementing, and Maintaining Systems (2020)
  • Oliver Bullough, Butler to the World: How Britain Helps the World's Worst People Launder Money, Commit Crimes, and Get Away with Anything
  • David Edmonds, The Murder of Professor Schlick: The Rise and Fall of the Vienna Circle (2020)
  • Ada Ferrer, Cuba: An American History
  • Paul Fisher, House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family (2008)
  • Robert W. Gehl and Sean T. Lawson, Social Engineering: How Crowdmasters, Phreaks, Hackers, and Trolls Created a New Form of Manipulative Communication (available via Open Access)
  • Adam Gorightly, Saucers, Spooks and Kooks: UFO Disinformation in the Age of Aquarius (2021)
  • Garrett M. Graff, Watergate: A New History
  • Andy Greenberg, Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency
  • Jan T. Gregor with Tim Cridland, Circus of the Scars: The True Inside Odyssey of a Modern Circus Sideshow (1998)
  • Thomas Harman, Esq., A Caveat or Warning for Common Cursetors, Vulgarly Called Vagabonds (1814 reprint of 1566 pamphlet)
  • N.K. Jemisin, The City We Became (2020)
  • Thomas Levenson, Money for Nothing: The Scientists, Fraudsters, and Corrupt Politicians Who Reinvented Money, Panicked a Nation, and Made the World Rich (2020)
  • Michael Lewis, The Premonition: A Pandemic Story (2021)
  • Michael W. Lucas, OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems
  • Alan C. Logan, The Greatest Hoax on Earth: Catching Truth, While We Can (2020)
  • David McRaney, How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion
  • Tim Miller, Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell
  • Jefferson Morley, Scorpions' Dance: The President, the Spymaster, and Watergate
  • Wes Patience, From Bjäre to Bisbee: An Immigrant's Tale (2006)
  • Douglas Rushkoff, Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires
  • Sara Schaefer, Grand: A Memoir (2020)
  • P.W. Singer and August Cole, Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution (2020)
  • Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Don't Trust Your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want In Life
  • Stuart Stevens, It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump (2020)
  • Will Storr, The Status Game: On Human Life and How to Play It
  • Terry Teachout, The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken (2002)
  • Michal Zalewski, Practical Doomsday: A User's Guide to the End of the World
    Top for 2022: Ferrer, Levenson, Graff, Greenberg, Miller, Zalewski, McRaney, Storr, Logan (even though it's a 2020 book), Jemisin (likewise)

    A few planned reads for 2023 (mostly already started):

    G.A. Cohen, Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality (1995)
    John Ferris, Behind the Enigma: The Authorised History of GCHQ, Britain's Secret Cyber-Intelligence Agency (2020)
    Kevin M. Levin, Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War's Most Persistent Myth (2019)
    Chris A. Rutkowski, Canada's UFOs: Declassified (2022)
    Will Sommer, Trust the Plan: The Rise of QAnon and the Conspiracy That Unhinged America (pre-ordered, to be released in late Feb 2023)
    Steve Vladeck, The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic (pre-ordered, to be released in late May 2023)
    Peter H. Wilson, The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe's History (2017)

    (Previously: 20212020201920182017201620152014201320122011201020092008200720062005.) 

    Wednesday, December 21, 2022

    ChatGPT on the Mars Effect

     ChatGPT gets a lot of things wrong here. The Zelen Test is a test that expected to find that the Mars effect correlations in Gauquelin's data were due to the nycthemeral curve, a variation in the likelihood of birth at particular times of the day, but the test showed the opposite. (There is also a more generic Zelen test in statistics that is the source of some of what ChatGPT says here.) It did not debunk the Mars effect, it showed that any correlation must be due to something else. Dennis Rawlins was an opponent of the test because he thought there was a statistical artifact in the data that was a result of sampling bias or other cause, and expected this outcome. He fiercely argued against any idea that the Mars effect was a real "cosmobiological" phenomenon. The bibliography of Dennis Rawlins-authored articles is complete fiction, none of those articles exist. Here's the chat, with my prompts in red:

    what is the cause of the Mars Effect

    The "Mars effect" refers to the supposed correlation between the position of the planet Mars in the sky at the time of a person's birth and their success or greatness. The idea of the Mars effect was popularized by French astrologer Michel Gauquelin in the 1950s and 1960s, who claimed to have found statistical evidence supporting the idea that people born when Mars was prominent in the sky were more likely to be successful or accomplished. However, subsequent research has failed to replicate Gauquelin's findings and the Mars effect has been widely debunked as a statistical artifact. There is no scientific basis for the idea that the position of Mars at the time of a person's birth has any influence on their characteristics or achievements.

    did the Zelen Test identify the cause of the Mars Effect?

    The Zelen test is a statistical procedure that was developed by Marvin Zelen in the 1970s to evaluate the validity of claims of unusual patterns or correlations in data. The Zelen test is based on the idea of "randomization," which involves randomly reassigning the values in a data set to different units in order to test whether a purported correlation or pattern is genuine or simply a statistical artifact.

    The Zelen test was used by researchers to evaluate the validity of the Mars effect, and it was found that the apparent correlation between the position of Mars at the time of birth and success or greatness was not statistically significant after the data were randomly reassigned. This suggests that the Mars effect is a statistical artifact and not a genuine phenomenon.

    I thought the Zelen Test was designed to show that the Mars effect was the result of the nycthemeral cycle, and it did not demonstrate that.

    I apologize for the misunderstanding. You are correct that the Zelen test was not designed to specifically evaluate the Mars effect or the role of the nycthemeral cycle in the Mars effect. Rather, the Zelen test is a general statistical procedure that can be used to evaluate the validity of any claimed pattern or correlation in data.

    In the case of the Mars effect, the Zelen test and other statistical techniques have been used to evaluate the validity of the claimed correlation between the position of Mars at the time of birth and success or greatness. These studies have consistently found that the Mars effect is not a statistically significant phenomenon and that there is no scientific basis for the idea that the position of Mars at the time of birth has any influence on a person's characteristics or achievements.

    The nycthemeral cycle is the 24-hour cycle of day and night that is caused by the rotation of the Earth on its axis. Some proponents of the Mars effect have suggested that the apparent correlation between the position of Mars at the time of birth and success or greatness may be influenced by the nycthemeral cycle, but this idea has not been supported by empirical evidence.

    Didn't Suitbert Ertel show that the CSICOP test of US champions showed a Mars Effect when the athletes were graded by eminence?

    Suitbert Ertel is a German researcher who has written extensively on astrology and the Mars effect. In the 1990s, Ertel published a study in which he claimed to have found evidence of a Mars effect among a sample of United States champions in various fields, using a statistical analysis that he developed called the "eminent sample test."

    Ertel's study was criticized by other researchers for its methodology and the lack of statistical rigor in the analysis. In particular, Ertel's use of the eminent sample test has been criticized for being based on arbitrary definitions of what constitutes "eminence" and for not taking into account other important variables that could influence the outcome.

    Overall, the evidence for the Mars effect is weak and inconsistent, and the idea has been widely debunked by the scientific community. There is no scientific basis for the claim that the position of Mars at the time of birth has any influence on a person's characteristics or achievements.

    did Dennis Rawlins criticize CSICOP for how it handled the Mars Effect?

    Yes, Dennis Rawlins is a researcher who has criticized the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSICOP), a organization that promotes scientific skepticism and critical thinking, for its handling of the Mars effect.

    In the 1980s, CSICOP conducted a study of the Mars effect using a sample of prominent athletes and found no evidence of a correlation between the position of Mars at the time of birth and success or greatness. Rawlins, who was a member of CSICOP at the time, disputed the findings of the study and claimed that the organization had not properly addressed the evidence in favor of the Mars effect.

    Rawlins has also published a number of articles and studies in which he argues that the Mars effect is a real phenomenon and that it has been unfairly dismissed by the scientific community. However, his claims have not been supported by the weight of scientific evidence, and the Mars effect remains widely debunked as a statistical artifact.

    Can you tell me which articles Rawlins authored that argue that the Mars effect is a real phenomenon? I don't think that he has argued that.

    I apologize for the mistake in my previous response. You are correct that Dennis Rawlins has not argued that the Mars effect is a real phenomenon. Rather, Rawlins has focused on criticizing the methodology and statistical analysis used in studies that have found no evidence of the Mars effect, and he has suggested that these studies may have missed genuine correlations due to various technical and statistical issues.

    Rawlins has published a number of articles on the Mars effect, including:

    "The Mars Effect: A Test of Astrology" (1981)
    "The Mars Effect: A Rejoinder" (1982)
    "The Mars Effect: A Reply to Ertel" (1987)

    In these articles, Rawlins presents his critique of the studies that have found no evidence of the Mars effect and suggests that further research is needed to fully understand the phenomenon. However, his claims have not been supported by the weight of scientific evidence, and the Mars effect remains widely debunked as a statistical artifact.

    Saturday, January 01, 2022

    Books read in 2021

    Not much blogging going on here still, but here's my annual list of books read for 2021.
    • Elizabeth Anderson, Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk About It) (2017)
    • Scott Anderson, The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War (2020)
    • J. M. Berger, Optimal
    • William Dalrymple, The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire (2019)
    • Philip L. Fradkin, Stagecoach: Wells Fargo and the American West (2002)
    • Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012)
    • Daniel Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States (2019)
    • David Cay Johnston, The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family
    • Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein, Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment
    • Walter LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America (2nd edition, 1993)
    • Peter Lamont and Jim Steinmeyer, The Secret History of Magic: The True Story of the Deceptive Art (2018)
    • Thomas Levenson, Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist (2009)
    • Norm MacDonald, Based on a True Story: Not a Memoir (2016)
    • Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley, Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine
    • Casey Michel, American Kleptocracy: How the U.S. Created the World's Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History
    • Cheryl Misak, Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers (2020)
    • Anne Nelson, Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right
    • Nicole Perlroth, This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapon Arms Race
    • Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall, Complete Series, John Wilcock, New York Years, 1954-1971 (limited edition via Kickstarter, #52/250)
    • Kevin Poulsen, Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground (2011, re-read)
    • Eric Rauchway, Why the New Deal Matters
    • Mary Roach, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law
    • Scott J. Roberts and Rebekah Brown, Intelligence-Driven Incident Response: Outwitting the Adversary (2017)
    • Mike Rothschild, The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything
    • P.W. Singer and August Cole, Ghost Fleet (2016)
    • David Skarbek, The Puzzle of Prison Order: Why Life Behind Bars Varies Around the World (2020)
    • Jon Talton, A Brief History of Phoenix (2015)
      Top for 2021: Anderson; Dalrymple; Immerwahr; Kahneman, Sibony, and Sunstein; Levenson; Manaugh and Twilley; Michel; Misak; Perlroth.

      A few planned reads for 2022 (mostly already started):

      Heather Adkins, Betsy Beyer, Paul Blankinship, Piotr Lewandowski, Ana Oprea, and Adam Stubblefield, Building Secure and Reliable Systems: Best Practices for Designing, Implementing, and Maintaining Systems (2020)
      G.A. Cohen, Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality (1995)
      John Ferris, Behind the Enigma: The Authorised History of GCHQ, Britain's Secret Cyber-Intelligence Agency (2020)
      Paul Fisher, House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family (2008)
      Terry Teachout, The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken (2002)
      Peter H. Wilson, The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe's History (2017)

      (Previously: 2020201920182017201620152014201320122011201020092008200720062005.) 

      Sunday, March 28, 2021

      A false prophet for Trump

      In the March 21st, 2021 Washington Post story "The rioter next door: How the Dallas suburbs spawned domestic extremists," Annie Gowen writes of a Texas pastor who claimed prophecy that Trump would remain in office:

      Shortly before Biden's inauguration, Pastor Brandon Burden of the KingdomLife church — a boxy, largely windowless sanctuary in Frisco — mounted the pulpit and gave a stemwinder of a sermon that went viral.

         Burden spoke in tongues and urged his flock of “warriors” to load their weapons and stock up on food and water as the transfer of power loomed. The emergency broadcast system might be tampered with, so if Trump “took over the country,” he could not tell them what to do, he said.

         “We ain't going silently into the night. We ain't going down. This is Texas,” Burden preached.

         Prophetic voices had decreed Trump would remain in office, he said.

         “We have an executive order — not from Congress or D.C., but from the desk of the CEO of heaven, the boss of the planet,” Burden said. “He said from his desk in heaven, ‘This is my will. Trump will be in office for eight years.’ ”

      The Book of Deuteronomy's biblical standard for prophets from Moses, speaking on behalf of God in chapter 18, verse 22, is that "When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him." In verse 20, he says that "... the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die." In other words, any prophecy from God is guaranteed to be accurate, and any prophecy which is not from God but given in his name shall guarantee the death of the prophet.

      False Prophet Pastor Burden's response to his failed prophecy was to delete his Twitter account (@KingdomLife_), though it's still linked from his church's website.

      Saturday, January 02, 2021

      How Trump thinks he negotiates, versus how he actually does

       In the 1980s, Trump was concerned about nuclear proliferation and thought that he could do a better job negotiating a nuclear deal with the Soviets. In a 1984 Washington Post interview (which I believe you can see excerpts from in the film "Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn" about his mentor, Roy Cohn), he said:

      "Some people have an ability to negotiate," he says. "It's an art you're basically born with. You either have it or you don't."

      He would know what to ask the Russians for, he says. But he would rather not tip his hand publicly. "In the event anything happens with respect to me, I wouldn't want to make my opinions public," he says. "I'd rather keep those thoughts to myself or save them for whoever else is chosen . . .

      "It's something that somebody should do that knows how to negotiate and not the kind of representatives that I have seen in the past."

      He could learn about missiles, quickly, he says.

      "It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles . . . I think I know most of it anyway. You're talking about just getting updated on a situation . . . You know who really wants me to do this? Roy . . . I'd do it in a second."

      Trump actually lobbied the George H. W. Bush administration to be the negotiator for arms talks, but the chief negotiator position went to Richard Burt, then U.S. Ambassador to West Germany, who later met Trump, and Trump explained what he would have done had he been the negotiator

      He explained that he would have welcomed—very warmly—the Soviet delegation. He would have made sure the country’s envoys were comfortable—very comfortable—at the table.

      Then, Trump told Burt, he would have stood up, shouted “Fuck you!,” and left the room.

      This seems quite likely -- and then he would have either given in to whatever the Soviets asked for, or failed to get a deal at all, which is what has happened again and again during his time as president. Where Trump gets deals it seems to be in spite of his own negotiations, rather than because of them.

      When Trump gave in and signed the second COVID-19 stimulus bill which he had been refusing to sign and which was at risk of a pocket veto, one person who correctly predicted four days earlier that Trump would sign the bill was tax lawyer David Miller, who was someone who was actually on the other side of the table in a Trump negotiation over the Trump Organization's deal to purchase the General Motors building in 1998.  Miller recounted the story in a thread on Twitter correctly predicting that Trump would sign the bill:

      In 1998, I was the tax lawyer representing Conseco in a joint venture with the Trump Organization to buy the General Motors Building. 2/23 
      Conseco put up 99.9% of the capital, Trump put up 0.1% of the capital, and Lehman Brothers loaned the rest. 3/23 
      The joint venture agreement was very straightforward. Income and deductions were based on capital contributions. Everything was agreed quickly by the lawyers. 4/23 
      However, on the day before signing, we were told that Mr. Trump would be arriving at 10pm at our offices to negotiate the deal (which had already been negotiated). 5/23 
      He arrives with an entourage. A podium had been set up for him at the front of a long table in a conference room. 6/23 
      He asks for some minor corporate changes. But then he demands that he get all of the depreciation deductions. 7/23 
      Having negotiated, he put on his coat and left. 8/23 
      All of the lawyers look at each other. The general counsel of Conseco said, “We put up 99.9% of the money; we get 99.9% of the depreciation deductions.” Trump’s lawyers say, “Don’t worry, he’ll sign.” I go home to sleep. 9/23 
      The next morning my corporate partner and Trump’s corporate lawyer take the joint venture agreement to Trump Tower for Trump’s signature. I’m in my office. 10/23 
      The phone rings. It’s my corporate partner. “Mr. Trump wants to speak to you.” 11/23 
      “Yes, Mr. Trump,” I say. 12/23 
      “Were you there last night?” he asks. 13/23 
      “Yes, Mr. Trump, I was.” 14/23 
      “Did you hear me last night?” he asks. 15/23 
      “Yes, Mr. Trump, I did.” I reply. 16/23 
      “So, does this agreement give me the depreciation deductions?” he asks. 17/23 
      “No, Mr. Trump, it does not.” 18/23 
      He’s angry now. “You were there last night, you heard me, and this agreement does not give me the depreciation deductions? Why not?!” 19/23 
      I know that the agreement could have been structured for Trump to get depreciation deductions (if he was willing to provide a “bottom guarantee”). But it wasn’t, so I answer truthfully: “Mr. Trump, the law does not permit you to get depreciation deductions.” 20/23 
      He’s furious now. “The law does not permit me to get depreciation deductions?!” 21/23 
      “That’s right, Mr. Trump.” 22/23 

      He slams down the phone and signs the agreement. 23/23 

      Richard Burt's team successfully negotiated the START I Treaty, signed in 1991. Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Open Skies treaty for nuclear arms verification, and has so far declined the Russian offer to extend the New Start treaty, and has failed to negotiate a new nuclear arms treaty of any kind.

      Friday, January 01, 2021

      Books read in 2020

      Not much blogging going on here still, but here's my annual list of books read for 2020.
      • Nicholson Baker, Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act
      • John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir
      • Ben Buchanan, The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics
      • Susannah Cahalan, The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness
      • Michael Cohen, Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump
      • Myke Cole, Legion versus Phalanx: The Epic Struggle for Infantry Supremacy in the Ancient World
      • Libby Copeland, The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Upending Who We Are
      • Barton Gellman, Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the Surveillance State
      • Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy, Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (2012)
      • James W. Johnson, Arizona Politicians: The Noble and the Notorious (2002)
      • Gene Kim, The Unicorn Project: A Novel about Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data
      • Maria Konnikova, The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
      • Talia Lavin, Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy
      • Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker, A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America
      • Ben Macintyre, The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War (2018)
      • Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America (2017)
      • H. Keith Melton and Robert Wallace, with Henry R. Schlesinger, Spy Sites of New York City: A Guide to the Region's Secret History (2020)
      • Jefferson Morley, Morley v. CIA: My Unfinished JFK Investigation
      • Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier, The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich & Powerful Hide Their Money
      • Thomas RidActive Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare
      • Brad Smith and Carol Anne Browne, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and Peril of the Digital Age
      • Mary Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man
      • Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton with Henry R. Schesinger, Spy Sites of Washington, DC: A Guide to the Capital Region's Secret History (2017)
      • Anna Wiener, Uncanny Valley: A Memoir
      • Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
        Top for 2020: Copeland, Macintyre, Cahalan, Smith and Browne, Buchanan, Obermayer and Obermaier, Gellman, Rid.

        I started the following books I expect to finish in 2021 (yes, I also said that about LeFeber and Wilson last year--I'm well in to LaFeber's book and thought I might finish before the end of the year, but had only read Wilson's intro so it's barely started):

        William Dalrymple, The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire
        Walter LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America (2nd edition)
        Peter H. Wilson, The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe's History

        I've also pre-ordered and am looking forward to reading:

        Nicole Perlroth, This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapon Arms Race (due to be published on February 9)

        (Previously: 201920182017201620152014201320122011201020092008200720062005.)

        Saturday, March 14, 2020

        Donald Trump on coronavirus

        This timeline has been updated with Trump rallies and golf playing since (as of March 31, 2020) he is now trying to create a narrative that claims he was trying hard to address the pandemic early on, but was distracted by his impeachment. He was impeached by the House on December 18, 2019, and his Senate trial ran from January 16, 2020 to his acquittal on February 5, 2020.

        January 13, 2017: The joint Obama-Trump transition teams run an exercise for pandemic preparedness. Trump transition team attendees include: Steven Mnuchin, Rep. Mike Pompeo, Wilbur Ross, Betsy DeVos, Dr. Ben Carson, Elaine Chao, Stephen Miller, Marc Short, Reince Priebus (resigned), Rex Tillerson (fired), Gen. James Mattis (fired), Rep. Ryan Zinke (resigned), Sen. Jeff Sessions (resigned), Sen. Dan Coats (fired), Andrew Puzder (not confirmed), Dr. Tom Price (resigned), Gov. Rick Perry (resigned), Dr. David Shulkin (fired), Gen. John Kelly (resigned), Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Linda McMahon (resigned), Sean Spicer (fired), Joe Hagin (resigned), Joshua Pitcock (resigned), Tom Bossert (resigned), KT McFarland (resigned), Gen. Michael Flynn (awaiting criminal sentencing after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI), Gary Cohn (resigned), Katie Walsh (resigned), and Rick Dearborn (resigned). (

        January-August 2019: Nineteen agencies of the federal government and twelve states conduct a pandemic functional exercise, "Crimson Contagion." The scenario is a novel influenza virus that arises in China and spreads to the United States, but stockpiles of vaccines are not a match to enable the virus to be contained. ( The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Robert Kadlec, appointed by Donald Trump in 2017 and who played a key decision-making role in this exercise, downplayed the risk of pandemic, cut the budget, and cut the program for stockpiling personal protective equipment (PPE). Instead, he spent money on stockpiles of smallpox vaccine, purchasing $2.8 billion of it from a company that had previously employed him as a consultant. (Smallpox was eradicated in 1980.) (

        July 2019: The Trump administration made the decision to eliminate the position of CDC's resident advisor to the U.S. Field Epidemiology Training Program in China, Dr. Linda Quick, in September 2019. She quit her job in July after receiving the news. (

        September 2019: The Trump administration ends a $200 million pandemic early warning program, PREDICT, at the U.S. Agency for International Development, started in 2009, aimed at training scientists in China and other countries to detect and respond to new viruses. During its lifetime, the project identified 1,200 viruses with pandemic potential. The PREDICT program involved 60 foreign laboratories, including the Chinese lab in Wuhan which identified SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19. (

        October 25, 2019: Former Vice President Joe Biden tweets: "We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores." (

        December 24, 2019: As of June 2021, this is now the earliest suspected date of COVID-19 infection in the United States, per antibodies in blood donated by nine individuals between January 2 and March 18, 2020. (

        December 31, 2019: Donald Trump tells assembled guests at the Mar-a-Lago New Year's Eve celebration that "We're going to have a great year, I predict. I think it's going to be a fantastic year." (

        January 2-3, 2020: Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Robert Redfield has conversations about a virus outbreak in China with his counterpart at China's CDC, Gao Fu, who warns him that it is extremely serious. (

        January 8, 2020: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issues its first warning about a novel coronavirus now known as COVID-19.

        January 9: Trump holds a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio.

        January 9: Berlin, Germany scientist Olfert Landt's company, TIB Molbiol, develops its first COVID-19 test based on existing SARS tests. (

        January 10: The RNA sequence data for COVID-19 was published online:

        January 11: Olfert Landt sends a developed COVID-19 test to the Taiwan CDC and Roche in Hong Kong for validation. The test ends up working.

        January 14: Trump holds a campaign rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

        mid-January: The U.S. begins some screening of passengers from Wuhan, China, at airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. Prior to this event, at least 4,000 passengers arrived in the U.S. directly from Wuhan, China without any screening. (

        January 16: The U.S. House sends articles of impeachment to the Senate, starting Trump's first impeachment trial.

        January 17: WHO publishes Olfert Landt's COVID-19 test protocol. TIB Molbiol manufactured four million tests by the end of February, and 1.5 million per week after that.

        January 17: CDC announces that it has its own COVID-19 test. (See February 5.)

        January 18: Dr. Rick Bright, director of the HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority at HHS, sends an email to ASPR Robert Kadlec asking to convene a Disaster Leadership Group (DLG) meeting over COVID-19. Kadlec responds that he doesn't think it is necessary and doesn't see the urgency. (

        January 18: Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar phones Trump at Mar-a-Lago to warn him about the risk of coronavirus, but "Even before the heath [sic] secretary could get a word in about the virus, Trump cut him off and began criticizing Azar for his handling of an aborted federal ban on vaping products, a matter that vexed the president." (

        January 18: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

        January 19: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

        January 21: CDC confirms first U.S. case of COVID-19. ( See December 24, 2019 above.

        January 22: "We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China. It's going to be just fine." ( 314 global cases in 4 countries, 309 China, 4 outside China (Thailand, Japan, South Korea).

        January 26: Sen. Schumer calls on the Department of Health and Human Services for coronavirus to be designated a public health emergency. (

        January 27: Joe Biden writes an op-ed warning of the U.S.'s lack of preparedness for the coronavirus pandemic. (

        January 28: Elizabeth Warren releases a plan for "Preventing, Containing, and Treating Infectious Disease Outbreaks at Home and Abroad."

        January 28: Trump holds a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey.

        January 30: Trump holds a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa.

        February 1: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

        February 2: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

        February 2: Trump's ordered restrictions on travel from China take effect. These restrictions do not apply to Americans returning from China.  279 flights from China occurred after this date, and screening of returning passengers was haphazard and inconsistent. (

        February 2: "We pretty much shut it down coming in from China." ( 14,557 global cases in 23 countries, 14,411 China, 146 outside of China (WHO).  CDC starts sending out test kits in first week of February, which turn out to be faulty.

        February 5: The U.S. Senate impeachment trial votes to acquit Trump on both articles.

        February 5: CDC announces it will begin shipping COVID-19 tests to states. Shortly thereafter, it is determined that the CDC test kits don't work.

        February 6: Patricia Dowd of Santa Clara County, California, dies from COVID-19, though this is not determined until late April. (

        February 7: Trump to Bob Woodward, in an interview for his new book, Rage: "It’s also more deadly than your -- you know, your -- even your strenuous flus...This is 5%, versus 1% percent and less than 1%." ( 31,481 global cases in 24 countries, 31,211 China, 270 outside of China, 637 deaths in China, 1 death outside of China, U.S. 12 cases (WHO).

        February 10: "You know in April, supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather." Interview with Trish Regan, Fox Business. (  40,554 global cases in 24 countries, 40,235 China, 319 outside China, U.S. 12 cases (WHO).

        February 10: Trump holds a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire.

        February 15: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

        February 19: Trump holds a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona.

        February 20: Trump holds a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

        February 21: Trump holds a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada.

        February 23: Trump and the White House National Security Council is sent a memo from White House economic advisor Peter Navarro warning of coronavirus epidemic in the U.S. which could kill up to two million Americans. (

        February 24: "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA... Stock Market starting to look very good to me!" Twitter. (  Dow closes down 227.51 points at 28,992.40. 79,331 global cases in 29 countries, 77,262 China, 2,069 outside China, 35 U.S.  12 labs other than CDC can perform coronavirus testing.

        February 25: "CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus." ( 80,239 global cases in 33 countries,  77,780 China, 2,459 outside China, 53 U.S.

        February 25: "I think that's a problem that's going to go away... They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we're very close to a vaccine."  In India. ( The vaccine was, in fact, for Ebola, not COVID-19:

        February 25: "This president will always put Americans first. He will always protect American citizens. We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here." Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany to Trish Regan on Fox Business. (

        February 26: First confirmed community spread (from person to person unrelated to travel in China) within the United States (per evidence as of June 2021). (

        February 26: "The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero." White House Press Conference. ( 81,109 global cases in 37 countries, 78,191 China, 2,918 outside China, 53 U.S.  First day with more new cases outside China than in China. First two reported COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. in Seattle, Washington, though there had already been earlier deaths not yet attributed to COVID-19 (see February 6). (

        February 26: "So we’re at the low level.  As they get better, we take them off the list, so that we’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time.  So we’ve had very good luck." White House Press Conference (same link as above)

        February 26: "We're going very substantially down, not up." White House Press Conference (same link as above)

        February 26: "Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible. Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape! @CDCgov....." Twitter. (

        February 27: "One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear." At White House. ( 82,294 global cases in 46 countries, 78,630 China, 3,664 outside China, 59 U.S.  More new cases in Korea than China.

        February 28: "We're ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn't be ordering unless it was something like this. But we're ordering a lot of different elements of medical." At White House.  ( 83,652 global cases in 51 countries, 78,961 China, 4,691 outside China, 59 U.S.

        February 28: Trump holds a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina. At this rally, Trump said: "Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus, you know that, right? Coronavirus, they're politicizing it. You say, 'How's President Trump doing?' They go, 'Oh, not good, not good.' They have no clue. They don't have any clue. ... 'Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.' That didn't work out too well... Think of it. And this is their new hoax. But we did something that's pretty amazing. We have 15 people in this massive country and because of the fact that we went early. ... So a number that nobody heard of recently, and I was shocked to hear it, 35,000 people on average die each year from the flu. Did anyone know that? 35,000, that's a lot of people. And so far we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States. Nobody. And it doesn't mean we won't and we are totally prepared. It doesn't mean we won't, but think of it. You hear 35 and 40,000 people and we've lost nobody and you wonder the press is in hysteria mode. ... My administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to prevent the spread of this illness in the United States. We are ready. We are ready. Totally ready. ... A virus starts in China, bleeds its way into various countries all around the world, doesn't spread widely at all in the U.S. because of the early actions that myself and my administration took against a lot of other wishes. ... We had [to] quarantine some people. They weren't happy, they weren't happy about it. I want to tell you there are a lot of people that [were] not so happy, but after two weeks they got happy." Trump's statement that no one in the U.S. had been lost to COVID-19 was false both by not-yet-known deaths (see February 6) and by publicly reported deaths (see February 26), but the first officially confirmed COVID-19 death came on February 29. (

        February 29: First confirmed U.S. COVID-19 death, a man in Kirkland, Washington. (

        March 1: Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro warns Trump in a memo to "MOVE IN TRUMP TIME" to invest in preparations for coronavirus, including drug ingredients, tests, and other supplies.  "There is NO downside risk to taking swift actions as an insurance policy against what may be a very serious public health emergency. If the COVID-19 crisis quickly recedes, the only thing we will have been guilty of is prudence." Trump ignored these recommendations; on April 7, 2020 he said he hadn't seen the memo. (Washington Post story, March 31, 2021: Navarro subsequently used his influence to push to award hundreds of millions of dollars in government contracts to untested firms, including a $354 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA; also see January 21, 2021 entry below), a $96 million no-bid deal for respirators, and a $34.5 million deal from the VA which ended with a contractor pleading guilty to fraud, among other examples documented by ProPublica (

        March 2: "You take a solid flu vaccine, you don't think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?" White House coronavirus task force meeting. ( 88,948 global cases in 64 countries, 80,174 China, 8,774 outside China, 62 U.S.  CDC removes number of tests completed from its website (474 on March 1). (

        March 2: "A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they're happening very rapidly." White House coronavirus task force meeting, same as previous link.

        March 2: Trump holds a campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina.

        March 4: "If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work - some of them go to work, but they get better." ( 94,091 global cases in 76 countries, 80,422 China, 12,669 outside China, 108 U.S.

        March 5: "I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work." ( 95,324 global cases in 85 countries/territories/areas, 80,565 China, 14,759 outside China, 129 U.S.

        March 5: "The United States... has, as of now, only 129 cases... and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!" Twitter. (

        March 5: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control planned to post a global travel alert for all countries, but it was delayed by the White House until March 11. (

        March 6: "I think we're doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down... a tremendous job at keeping it down." At CDC. ( 98,192 global cases in 88 countries/territories/areas, 80,711 China, 17,481 outside China, 148 U.S.

        March 6: "The tests are beautiful.... the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good." At CDC, same as previous link.

        March 6: "I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it... Every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this?' Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president." At CDC, same as previous link.

        March 6: "I don't need to have the numbers to double because of one ship that wasn't our fault." At CDC, same as previous link.

        March 6: "It’s something that nobody expected." (

        March 6: "Everybody who wants a test can get a test." At CDC, same as previous link. In fact, tests are still hard to come by on March 23:

        March 6: "It'll go away." (

        March 7: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

        March 8: "We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus." Twitter. ( 105,586 global cases in 101 countries/territories/areas, 80,859 China, 24,727 outside China, 213 U.S.

        March 8: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

        Prior to March 9: CDC wanted to recommend people over 60 stay at home, but Trump administration said no. (

        March 9: "So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!" Twitter. ( 109,577 global cases in 104 countries/territories/areas, 80,904 China, 28,673 outside China, 213 U.S.

        March 9: "And we have a great economy, we have a very strong economy, but this came -- this blindsided the world. And I think we've handled it very, very well. I think they've done a great job." Press conference. (

        March 10: "Be calm. It's really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen." Press conference. (

        March 11: "Health insurers have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments." Press conference. ( In fact, this only applied to tests, not treatments.

        March 11: CDC posts a global travel alert that had been intended for release six days earlier but was delayed by the White House. (

        March 12: White House says neither Trump nor Pence will be tested for coronavirus despite contacts with people who have tested positive. (

        March 12: "It's going to go away." (

        March 13: Trump repeatedly shakes hands at White House coronavirus press conference, despite knowing that he has recently been exposed to people who have now tested positive for the virus.  ( 132,758 global cases in 122 countries/territories/areas, 80,991 China, 51,767 outside China, 1,264 U.S.  Dow closes the week at 23,185.62.

        March 13: "I don't take responsibility at all." White House press conference, in response to question about whether Trump takes any responsibility for the failures in U.S. coronavirus testing. (

        March 13: Trump says he likely will be tested for coronavirus.  Same White House press conference. (

        March 13 (evening just before midnight): White House doctor Sean Conley issues statement saying that Trump doesn't need to be quarantined or even tested for coronavirus because he is at low risk. (

        March 14: "SOCIAL DISTANCING!" Twitter. ( CDC has tested 3,958 specimens (not individuals). 142,539 global cases in 135 countries/territories/areas, 81,021 China, 61,618 outside China, 1,678 U.S.

        March 14: "It's something that nobody expected." (

        March 14: Trump says he has been tested for coronavirus and is awaiting results expected in a day or two. (

        March 14: New screening measures are introduced at airports, which lead to delays from processing bottlenecks and large crowds of people. (

        March 15: The White House announces Trump has tested negative for coronavirus. ( The Fed announces $700B in quantitative easing as stock market futures hit circuit breakers after a 5% drop.

        March 15: "We're learning from watching other countries ... This is a very contagious virus, it's incredible, but it's something that we have tremendous control over." (

        March 16: "That's not under control for any place in the world. ... I'm not talking about the virus." Press conference. ( 167,511 global cases in 151 countries/territories/areas, 81,077 China, 86,434 outside China, 1,678 U.S. (CDC count for U.S.: 3,487).

        March 16: The Supreme Court announces that it is postponing its next argument sitting, for the first time since it did the same in 1918 due to the deadly global influenza outbreak.

        March 16: "Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves." On conference call with U.S. governors. (

        March 16: "It’s so contagious. It’s so contagious. It’s like record-setting contagious." White House press conference. (

        March 17: "I've always known, this is a real ... this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic." White House press conference. ( ( 179,112 global cases, 7,426 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,226 cases, 75 deaths (CDC).

        March 19: "You're actually sitting too close. You should really -- we should probably get rid of another 75%, 80% of you. I'll have just two or three that I like in this room." White House press conference. (

        March 19: "I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future. Hopefully there will be no need, but we are all in this TOGETHER!" Twitter ( Trump didn't sign the Defense Production Act, which was signed into law in 1950 by Harry S Truman, who, as Kevin M. Kruse noted in response to this tweet (, famously said "the buck stops here," rather than the "I don't take responsibility at all" of this president. As of March 23, Trump still hasn't invoked the Defense Production Act. 209,839 global cases, 8,778 deaths (WHO), U.S. 10,442 cases, 150 deaths (CDC).

        March 19: In an interview with Bob Woodward for his new book, Rage, Trump says of the coronavirus that "I always wanted to play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic." He admits he knew that it was deadly and worse than the flu. (

        March 20: Yamiche Alcindor asks Trump at his press conference: "When will everyone who needs a coronavirus test be able to get a test?" Trump's response: "No-one is talking about this except you, which doesn’t surprise me." Alcindor: "What about people w/ symptoms who cannot get a test?" Trump: "Yeah, well, OK. I’m not— I'm not hearing it." ( 234,073 global cases, 9,840 deaths (WHO), U.S. 15,219 cases, 201 deaths (CDC). Tests done to date:  CDC: 4,524, public health labs: 49,681, commercial labs: 88,000. (

        March 20: "We haven't been given the credit we've deserved." White House press conference. (

        March 22: "Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! @fema Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are? @RepMarkMeadows @GOPLeader @senatemajldr" ( 292,142 global cases, 12,784 deaths, U.S. 15,219 cases, 201 deaths. This tweet apparently a reference to Ford making respirators in partnership with 3M and GE Healthcare:

        March 23: 332,930 global cases, 14,510 deaths (WHO), U.S. 33,404 cases, 400 deaths (CDC). Dr. Fauci doesn't appear at Trump's daily press conference.

        March 24: "Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!" Twitter. ( 372,757 global cases, 16,231 deaths (WHO), U.S. 44,183 cases, 544 deaths (CDC).

        March 25: "Just reported that the United States has done far more “testing” than any other nation, by far! In fact, over an eight day span, the United States now does more testing than what South Korea (which has been a very successful tester) does over an eight week span. Great job!" Twitter. ( 414,179 global cases, 18,440 deaths (WHO), U.S. 68,440 cases, 994 deaths (CDC). While the U.S. has done a greater number of tests, it also has a much larger population -- where Korea has tested 1 of every 170 people, the U.S. has tested 1 of every 1,090 people.

        March 26: "I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they are going to be. I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators." Press conference. ( 462,684 global cases, 49,219 deaths (WHO), U.S. 68,440 cases, 994 deaths (CDC).

        March 27: 509,164 global cases, 23,335 deaths (WHO), U.S. 85,356 cases, 1,246 deaths.

        March 28: "You can call it a germ. You can call it a flu. You can call it a virus. You can call it many different names. I'm not sure anyone even knows what it is." Press conference. ( 571,678 global cases, 62,514 deaths (WHO), 103,321 cases, 1,668 deaths (CDC).

        March 28: "I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing “hot spots”, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly." Twitter. ( Advance notice of a quarantine order caused many people to leave northern Italy and spread the virus ( The three states here already had shelter-in-place orders from their governors. Trump subsequently retracted his quarantine suggestion in a pair of tweets (

        March 29: "We sent thousands of generators to New York ... the people in New York never distributed the generators." Press conference, Trump means ventilators. ( 634,835 global cases, 29,957 deaths (WHO), U.S. 122,653 cases, 2,112 deaths (CDC).

        March 29: "You’re talking about 2.2 million deaths ... So if we can hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000, it’s a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 [thousand] and 200,000, we altogether have done a very good job." (

        March 30: "It will go away. You know it--you know it is going away, and it will go away, and we're going to have a great victory." (

        March 31: "It's going to go away, hopefully at the end of the month. And, if not, hopefully it will be soon after that." (

        April 1: "They're doing tests on airlines--very strong tests--for getting on, getting off. They're testing on trains--getting on, getting off." White House briefing. There is no such testing occurring, this is complete fabrication. ( 823,626 global cases, 40,598 deaths (WHO), U.S. 186,101 cases, 3,603 deaths (CDC).

        April 1: By this date the U.S. government took delivery of one million test kits, manufactured in China, from Cogna Technology Solutions in the United Arab Emirates, which had been purchased by "WH" (White House) at Jared Kushner's direction. Another 2.5 million test kits were delivered by April 20.  However, these were contracted for illegally, so the U.S. government refused to pay for them, and they were also contaminated and did not work, probably due to improper storage in the UAE after delivery from China. The White House coronavirus task force's national testing program developed in March was never put into effect, because of lack of support from Donald Trump and a political calculation that COVID-19 was largely a blue state problem. (

        April 2: "Scarf is generally better than a mask because it's thicker." White House briefing. ( 896,540 global cases, 72,839 deaths (WHO), U.S. 213,144 cases, 4,513 deaths (CDC).

        April 3: The U.S. federal government seizes orders of personal protective equipment (PPE) destined for France and Germany at the Port of New York, along with equipment ordered by individual states, most notably Massachusetts. The Governor of Massachusetts makes arrangements via the Chinese ambassador to the UN for one million N95 masks to be put on the New England Patriots' plane as a "private humanitarian effort", which are successfully delivered to Boston.  972,640 global cases, 50,325 deaths (WHO), U.S. 239,279 cases, 5,443 deaths (CDC).

        April 3: "In one case, an order of 200,000 masks for Germany made by U.S.-listed multinational 3M Co in China were “confiscated” in Bangkok, Berlin Secretary of Interior Andreas Geisel, said in a statement, calling it an “act of modern piracy.”" ... "At the same time, 3M said Friday that the White House ordered it to stop all shipments to Canada and Latin America of respirators that it manufactures in the United States, despite what 3M called “significant humanitarian implications.”" (

        April 3: "It is going to go away...It's going--I didn't say a date. ... I said 'it's going away' and it is going away." (

        April 7: Trump announces he is "going to put a hold" on funding to the World Health Organization. He later says he had merely promised to consider doing so. ( 1,279,722 global cases, 72,614 deaths (WHO), U.S. 374,329 cases, 12,064 deaths (CDC).

        April 7: Trump fires the Inspector General responsible for oversight on distribution of the $2.3 trillion COVID-19 rescue package.

        April 7: "It did go--it will go away." (

        April 10: "The germ has gotten so brilliant that the antibiotic can't keep up with it ... there's a whole genius to it ... not only is it hidden, but it's very smart." White House daily briefing. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, not viruses. ( 1,521,252 global cases, 92,798 deaths (WHO), U.S. 459,165 cases, 16,570 deaths (CDC).

        April 10: "The Invisible Enemy will soon be in full retreat!" Trump on Twitter (

        April 13: Trump to Bob Woodward, in an interview for his new book, Rage: "This thing is a killer if it gets you. If you're the wrong person, you don't have a chance. ... So this rips you apart. ... It is the plague." ( 1,773,084 global cases, 111,652 deaths (WHO), U.S. 554,849 cases, 21,942 deaths (CDC).

        April 14: The Trump administration halts funding of WHO pending review of its handling of COVID-19. 1,844,863 global cases, 117,021 deaths (WHO), U.S. 579,005 cases, 22,252 deaths (CDC).

        April 21: 2,397,216 global cases, 162,956 deaths (WHO), U.S. 776,093 cases, 41,758 deaths (CDC).

        April 23: "And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out, in a minute. ... Is there a way we can do something like that? By injection, inside, or almost a cleaning, ’cause you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. You’re going to have to use medical doctors, right? But it sounds interesting to me." ( Breitbart's attempt to save this nonsense still seems to leave it as nonsense: 2,544,792 global cases, 175,694 deaths (WHO), U.S. 828,441 cases, 46,379 deaths (CDC).

        April 24: Trump's VP Mike Pence says, "I truly do believe that if we all continue to do that kind of social distancing and other guidance broadly from federal and state officials, that we’re going to put this coronavirus in the past ... I believe by early June we’re going to see our nation largely past this epidemic. ... I think honestly, if you look at the trends today, that I think by Memorial Day weekend [May 23-25] we will have this coronavirus epidemic behind us." ( 2,626,321 global cases, 181,938 deaths (WHO), U.S. 86,585 cases, 48,816 deaths (CDC.

        April 26: After a series of excuses to explain his April 23 injection comments, including that he was just being sarcastic to see what the press would do with it (which undermined Breitbart and anyone else arguing that it was serious and accurate), Trump took no questions at his April 24 briefing, did not present at all at his April 25 briefing, and canceled his briefing on April 26.  2,804,796 global cases, 193,710 deaths (WHO), U.S. 928,619 cases, 52,459 deaths (CDC).  The Washington Post summed up Trump's daily coronavirus briefings: 28 hours of Trump in 35 briefings since March 16, using 60% of the time.  In the past 21 days, 13 hours of Trump, of which two hours was spent attacking others, 45 minutes praising himself, and 4.5 minutes expressing condolences for coronavirus victims.  In 113 of the 346 questions he has answered, he attacked someone.  In 25 percent of his statements he has made false statements. He played self-praising videos three times. (

        April 27: Trump at press conference at the White House rose garden: "So, yeah, we’ve lost a lot of people.  But if you look at what original projections were — 2.2 million — we’re probably heading to 60,000, 70,000.  It’s far too many.  One person is too many for this." ( 2,878,196 global cases, 198,668 deaths (WHO), U.S. 928,619 cases, 52,459 deaths (CDC).

        April 29: 3,018,952 global cases, 207,973 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,005,147 cases, 57,505 deaths (CDC).

        April 30: The Trump administration killed the CDC's guidance document for how to safely re-open American businesses. ( 3,090,445 global cases, 217,769 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,031,659 cases, 60,057 deaths (CDC).

        May 3: "We're going to lose anywhere from 75, 80, to 100,000 people. That's a horrible thing." A moment of honesty from Trump, Fox News town hall at the Lincoln Memorial. ( 3,349,786 global cases, 238,628 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,122,486 cases, 65,735 deaths (CDC).

        May 5: "I'm viewing our great citizens of this country to a certain extent and to a large extent as warriors. They're warriors. We can't keep our country closed. We have to open our country ... Will some people be badly affected? Yes." Trump at Honeywell, at a mask factory not wearing a mask, in Phoenix, Arizona. By "be badly affected" he means death and permanent damage to lungs and other organs. ( 3,517,345 global cases, 243,401 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,171,510 cases, 68,279 deaths (CDC). Today the White House National Economic Council projected U.S. deaths to drop to zero by May 16, just a day after a leaked CDC presentation projected 3,000-15,000 deaths per day by June 1.

        May 5: The White House coronavirus task force aims to wind down by around Memorial Day, May 25. (

        May 6: 3,588,773 global cases, 247,503 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,193,813 cases, 70,802 deaths (CDC).

        May 7: "Testing is somewhat overrated." ( 3,672,238 global cases, 254,045 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,219,066 cases, 73,297 deaths (CDC).

        May 8: "Katie, she tested very good for a long period of time and then all of a sudden today she tested positive. ... This is why the whole concept of tests aren't necessarily great." Regarding Pence's press secretary and Stephen Miller's wife, Katie Miller, who has tested positive for COVID-19, as did one of Trump's valets. ( 3,759,967 global cases, 259,474 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,248,040 cases, 75,477 deaths (CDC).

        May 9: Ivanka Trump's personal assistant tests positive for COVID-19. ( 3,855,788 global cases, 265,862 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,274,036 cases, 75,477 deaths (CDC).

        May 14: "Don't forget, we have more cases than anybody in the world, but why? Because we do more testing. When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn't do any testing we would have very few cases. They don't want to write that. It's common sense." ( 4,248,389 global cases, 294,046 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,384,930 cases, 83,947 deaths (CDC).

        May 15: "It'll go away--at some point, it'll go away." (

        May 17: 4,525,497 global cases, 307,395 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,467,065 cases, 88,709 deaths (CDC).

        May 19: CDC guidance for businesses which was originally intended for release on April 30 is released. The guidance for churches and religious congregations was removed. ( 4,731,458 global cases, 316,169 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,504,830 cases, 90,340 deaths (CDC).

        May 21: Trump calls for 300 million doses of vaccine to be ready by January. (

        May 23: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 5,103,006 global cases, 333,401 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,595,885 cases, 96,002 deaths (CDC).

        May 24: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 5,204,508 global cases, 337,687 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,622,114 cases, 97,049 deaths (CDC).

        May 25: 5,304,772 global cases, 342,029 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,637,456 cases, 97,669 deaths (CDC).

        May 26: Trump says if he hadn't taken swift action in response to COVID-19, "we would have lost 1 1/2 to 2 Million People." ( 5,404,512 global cases, 343,514 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,662,414 cases, 98,261 deaths (CDC).

        June 12: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 7,410,510 global cases, 418,294 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,016,027 cases, 113,914 deaths (CDC).

        June 13: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 7,553,182 global cases, 423,349 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,038,344 cases, 114,625 deaths (CDC).

        June 14: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 7,690,708 global cases, 427,630 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,063,812 cases, 115,271 deaths (CDC).

        June 15: Trump says if he hadn't taken swift action in response to COVID-19, "we would have lost possibly 2.5, 3 million people."  ( 7,823,289 global cases, 431,541 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,085,769 cases, 115,644 deaths (CDC).

        June 15: "At some point, this stuff goes away. And it's going away." (

        June 16: Vice President Mike Pence publishes an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal with the headline "There Isn't a Coronavirus Second Wave."  (For image: Pence was mistaken. U.S. 2,104,346 cases, 116,140 deaths (CDC).

        June 20: Trump holds a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Trump says if he hadn't taken swift action in response to COVID-19, "we would have had I would say probably 4 million deaths, 3 million deaths, 2 million deaths."  (

        Also at Tulsa rally: "When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people. You're going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please." ( 8,525,042 global cases, 456,973 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,215,618 cases, 119,055 deaths (CDC).

        June 21: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 8,708,008 global cases, 461,715 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,248,029 cases, 119,615 deaths (CDC).

        June 23: Questioned about his claim that he asked for testing to be slowed, which staffers had claimed was a joke, Trump stated that he wasn't joking.  (

        On Twitter he repeated his claim that more cases are caused by more testing: "Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!" (

        June 23: At the Students for Trump Rally at the Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona, Trump seemed not to know what the 19 in COVID-19 means: "I could give you 19 or 20 names. ...I said, 'What's the 19?' COVID-19, some people can't explain what the 19, give me, COVID-19, I said, 'That's an odd name.'" (

        June 27: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 9,653,048 global cases, 491,128 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,459,472 cases, 124,976 deaths (CDC).

        June 28: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 9,843,073 global cases, 495,760 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,504,175 cases, 125,484 deaths (CDC).

        July: Trump administration signs a deal with Pfizer for 100 million doses of its vaccine (enough for 50M people to each get two shots), but passes on an opportunity to get another 100M doses, with the result that Pfizer can't guarantee any more doses than the original 100M until after June 2021. (

        July 1: Trump tells Fox Business that he expects the coronavirus will "just sort of disappear," as he claimed back on February 27. ( 10,357,662 global cases, 508,055 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,624,873 cases, 127,299 deaths (CDC).

        July 3: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 10,710,005 global cases, 517,877 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,732,531 cases, 128,648 deaths (CDC).

        July 5: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 11,125,245 global cases, 528,204 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,789,678 cases, 129,305 deaths (CDC).

        July 9: Trump tweet: "For the 1/100th time, the reason we show so many Cases, compared to other countries that haven't done nearly as well as we have, is that our TESTING is much bigger and better. We have tested 40,000,000 people. If we did 20,000,000 instead, Cases would be half, etc. NOT REPORTED!" Trump shows that he doesn't understand what per-capita means, doesn't know what fractions are, and doesn't know when to capitalize. ( 11,874,226 global cases, 545,481 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,047,671 cases, 132,056 deaths (CDC).

        July 10: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Doral, Florida. 12,102,328 global cases, 551,046 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,106,931 cases, 132,855 deaths (CDC).

        July 11: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 12,322,395 global cases, 556,335 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,173,212 cases, 132,666 deaths (CDC).

        July 12: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 12,552,765 global cases, 561,617 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,236,130 cases, 134,572 deaths (CDC).

        July 18: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 13,876,441 global cases, 593,087 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,630,587 cases, 138,782 deaths (CDC).

        July 19: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 14,043,176 global cases, 597,583 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,698,161 cases, 139,659 deaths (CDC).

        July 19: "I will be right eventually. You know, I said, 'it's going to disappear.' I'll say it again." (

        July 21: In an interview with Bob Woodward for his new book, Rage, Trump says "The virus has nothing to do with me. It's not my fault." ( 14,562,550 global cases, 607,781 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,819,139 cases, 140,630 deaths (CDC).

        July 22: Trump on Fox News: "It makes us look bad... if instead of 50 million [tests], we did 25 million, we'd have half the number of cases." ( 14,765,256 global cases, 612,054 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,882,167 cases, 141,677 deaths (CDC). U.S. deaths have risen to over 1,000 per day again, last seen on June 26.

        July 22: Trump on Fox News: "Watch: On November 4, everything will open up." (

        July 22: California passes New York for total COVID-19 cases.

        July 23: "The country is in very good shape, other than if you look south and west. That will all work out." Trump press conference announcing the cancellation of the Republican National Convention activities in Jacksonville, Florida. ( 15,012,731 global cases, 619,150 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,952,273 cases, 142,755 deaths (CDC).

        July 25: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. Florida passes New York for total COVID-19 cases. 15,581,009 global cases, 635,173 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,099,310 cases, 145,013 deaths (CDC).

        July 26: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 15,785,641 global cases, 640,016 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,163,892 cases, 145,942 deaths (CDC).

        July 28: It's publicly announced that Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act to provide a $765 million loan to Kodak to allow it to start manufacturing pharmaceutical precursors, including for hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug touted by the president for COVID-19 treatment but which has been found in randomized controlled trials to be ineffective for that purpose. The primary shareholder of Kodak, Ted Suhl, a Trump supporter, was convicted of bribery charges for a Medicare scam but had his prison sentence commuted by Trump. Kodak executives were awarded stock options the day before the announcement, which caused Kodak's stock price to soar. ( 16,341,920 global cases, 650,805 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,280,135 cases, 147,672 deaths (CDC).

        August 1: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 17,396,943 global cases, 675,060 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,542,579 cases, 152,870 deaths (CDC).

        August 2: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 17,660,523 global cases, 680,894 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,601,526 cases, 154,002 deaths (CDC).

        August 3: Trump interview with Jonathan Swan airs. Trump says the U.S. is doing the best in the world with COVID-19 in "numerous categories."  Swan: "Oh, you're doing death as a proportion of cases. I'm talking about death as a proportion of population. That's where the U.S. is really bad. Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc." Trump: "You can't do that." Swan: "Why can't I do that?"( 17,918,582 global cases, 686,703 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,649,102 cases, 154,471 deaths (CDC).

        August 3: From the same Swan interview: Trump: "Other countries don't test like we do, so they don't show cases." Swan: "We're testing so much because it's spread so far in America." Trump: "...Jonathan, when I took over, we didn't even have a test." Swan: "Why would you have a test? The virus didn't exist?" Full interview:

        August 4: Trump, who on July 28 touted his use of the Defense Production Act to lend $765 million to Kodak, now that the SEC is investigating the circumstances around Kodak's announcement of the loan and stock activity, now says "I wasn't involved in the deal." ( 18,142,718 global cases, 691,013 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,698,818 cases, 155,204 deaths (CDC).

        August 5: "This thing's going away. It will go away like things go away." (

        August 7: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 18,902,735 global cases, 709,511 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,858,596 cases, 158,887 deaths (CDC).

        August 8: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 19,187,943 global cases, 716,075 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,920,369 cases, 160,220 deaths (CDC).

        August 9: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 19,462,112 global cases, 722,285 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,974,959 cases, 161,284 deaths (CDC).

        August 10: Trump says that the influenza pandemic of "1917" (it was in 1918, but Trump always incorrectly says 1917) probably ended World War II. ( 19,718,030 global cases, 728,013 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,023,649 cases, 161,842 deaths (CDC).

        August 15: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ, as his brother dies at the age of 71. 21,026,758 global cases, 755,786 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,285,546 cases, 167,546 deaths (CDC).

        August 16: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 21,294,845 global cases, 761,779 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,340,232 cases, 166,696 deaths (CDC).

        August 19: "“You’re killing me! This whole thing is! We’ve got all the damn cases,” Mr. Trump yelled at Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, during a gathering of top aides in the Oval Office on Aug. 19. “I want to do what Mexico does. They don’t give you a test till you get to the emergency room and you’re vomiting.”" (

        August 22: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 22,812,491 global cases, 795,132 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,598,547 cases, 174,645 deaths (CDC).

        August 23: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia, while tweeting "Happy Sunday! We want GOD!" ( 23,057,288 global cases, 800,906 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,643,812 cases, 175,651 deaths (CDC).

        August 30: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia with Trey Gowdy and Jason Chaffetz. 24,854,140 global cases, 838,924 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,934,824 cases, 182,149 deaths (CDC).

        September 5: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 26,468,031 global cases, 871,166 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,181,474 cases, 187,159 deaths (CDC).

        September 6: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 26,763,217 global cases, 876,616 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,226,879 cases, 188,051 deaths (CDC).

        September 9: The White House orders an end to airport screenings for travelers entering the United States--no symptom or temperature checks, nothing. ( 27,486,960 global cases, 894,983 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,310,663 cases, 189,147 deaths (CDC).

        September 9: Trump administration Health and Human Services science adviser Paul Alexander wrote an email to Michael Caputo, Health and Human Services public affairs chief, touting two examples where the CDC had changed wording in reports in response to his influence, to downplay the coronavirus pandemic. (

        September 11: Trump HHS science adviser Paul Alexander asked White House adviser Scott Atlas to help him write an op-ed "timed for the election" to oppose advice from an upcoming CDC report. (

        September 15: Trump says the pandemic will end due to "herd mentality." (  He chides Joe Biden for not implementing a nationwide mask mandate (as a private citizen?). ( 29,155,581 global cases, 926,544 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,537,627 cases, 194,092 deaths (CDC).

        September 15: "It is going away. And it's probably going to go away now a lot faster because of the vaccines." (

        September 18: Jon Karl of ABC News: "How is it that you don't trust your own experts? Do you think you know better than they do?" Trump: "Yeah, in many cases I do."  (Narrator: He doesn't.) ( 30,055,710 global cases, 943,433 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,656,799 cases, 197,116 deaths (CDC).

        September 20: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 30,675,675 global cases, 954,417 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,748,935 cases, 198,754 deaths (CDC).

        September 21:  "It affects virtually nobody."  ( 30,949,804 global cases, 959,116 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,786,352 cases, 199,024 deaths (CDC).

        September 26: Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court nomination event at the White House Rose Garden, at which Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) sat, maskless, a few seats away from president of Notre Dame, Rev. John Jenkins, also maskless. Video from the event shows Sen. Lee hugging people at the event. Both reported that they tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, October 2, as do three other attendees, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, and presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway (after being outed by her daughter on TikTok). ( 32,429,965 global cases, 985,823 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,009,216 cases, 203,180 deaths (CDC).

        September 27: Trump plays golf at the Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia. 32,730,945 global cases, 991,224 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,059,087 cases, 204,033 deaths (CDC).

        September 30: Hope Hicks, senior counselor to the president, reports symptoms of COVID-19 while flying on Air Force One to Trump's rally in Minnesota. She tests positive for COVID-19 the morning of October 1, which is publicly reported in the afternoon. Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also tests positive for COVID-19, publicly reported on October 2, after the president's report. 33,502,430 global cases, 1,004,421 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,168,077 cases, 205,372 deaths (CDC).

        October 1: Trump attends a fundraiser at his golf club in New Jersey, possibly while knowing he was COVID-19 infected. He said on Fox News on Thursday evening that he was still awaiting test results, but we now know he already had a positive result from a rapid test when he said that. ( 33,842,281 global cases, 1,010,634 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,213,419 cases, 206,402 deaths (CDC).

        October 1: Trump possibly plays golf at the Trump National, Bedminister, New Jersey.

        October 2: President Donald Trump and his wife Melania both report positive test results for COVID-19. Trump's former White House doctor, Ronny Jackson, tweets that Trump is "asymptotic" [sic], but the White House reports that he has mild symptoms including lethargy, but within hours reports more symptoms, and the fact that Trump has been given a maximum dose of an experimental antibody drug treatment from Regeneron (on Thursday evening, Oct 1). Trump goes to Walter Reed Hospital in the afternoon. 34,161,721 global cases, 1,016,918 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,260,465 cases, 207,302 deaths (CDC).

        October 3: Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security committee, reports that he has also tested positive for COVID-19 (but was not in attendance at the Saturday Rose Garden event). White House physician Dr. Sean Conley stated that we are "72 hours" into Trump's diagnosis and "48 hours" into treatment, which implies he knew he was positive on the morning of September 30, not on October 1 or 2. A White House official subsequently "clarified" saying that he meant 3 days (i.e., >48 hours), not 72 hours, and 2 days (i.e., >24 hours), not 48 hours.

        October 8: Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo: "Do you feel that you are contagious?" Trump: "I don't think I'm contagious at all." (He is almost certainly still contagious.) ( 35,659,007 global cases, 1,044,269 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,475,262 cases, 210,232 deaths (CDC).

        October 8: Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar says the Trump administration hopes to have 100 million doses of vaccine (for 50 million people) ready by the end of the year.  This quantity was later reduced to 40 million doses for 20 million people. (

        October 10: "It's going to disappear, it is disappearing." (

        October 15: Trump possibly plays golf at the Trump National, Doral, Florida. 38,394,169 global cases, 1,089,047 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,894,768 cases, 216,025 deaths (CDC).

        October 16: Trump possibly plays golf at the Trump National, Doral, Florida. 38,789,204 global cases, 1,095,097 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,958,254 cases, 216,917 deaths (CDC).

        October 23: "We're rounding the corner beautifully." ( 41,570,883 global cases, 1,134,940 deaths (WHO), U.S. 8,387,047 cases, 222,447 deaths (CDC).

        October 24: At rally in Lumberton, NC: "That's all I hear about now. Turn on TV, 'Covid, Covid, Covid Covid Covid.' A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don't talk about it. 'Covid Covid Covid Covid.' By the way, on November 4th, you won't hear about it anymore ... 'please don't go and vote, Covid!'" What Trump describes regarding a plane crash not being reported has never happened, but COVID-19 is killing twice that many people every day in the United States. About 309 people have died in airplane and helicopter crashes globally so far in 2020; the most recent single plane crash with more than 500 fatalities was the worst such crash ever, and it occurred in August 12, 1985, Japan Air Lines Flight 123 from Tokyo to Osaka. ( 41,570,883 global cases, 1,134,940 deaths (WHO), U.S. 8,469,976 cases, 223,393 deaths (CDC).

        October 24: "It is going away; it's rounding the turn." (

        November 3: The U.S. presidential election occurs, with an all-time high voter turnout. 46,840,783 global cases, 1,204,028 deaths (WHO), U.S. 9,268,818 cases, 230,893 deaths (CDC).

        November 7: It becomes clear that Joe Biden has won more than 270 electoral votes and will be the next U.S. president. Trump plays golf at the Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia. 49,106,931 global cases, 1,239,157 deaths (WHO), U.S. 9,714,600 cases, 235,475 deaths (CDC).

        November 8: Trump plays golf at the Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia. 49,578,590 global cases, 1,245,717 deaths (WHO), U.S. 9,808,411 cases, 236,547 deaths (CDC).

        November 13: It has become mathematically impossible for Trump to win in Arizona, and it is now clear that the election result is 306 electoral votes to Biden and 232 for Trump, the same margin in electoral votes that Trump had over Hillary Clinton in 2016 that he called a "landslide" (it's not, but it's not particularly close, either). The big difference is that Biden also won the popular vote by millions of votes, and the total margin in the swing states is larger for Biden than it was for Trump in 2016. 52,487,476 global cases, 1,290,653 deaths (WHO), U.S. 10,508,864 cases, 242,216 deaths (CDC).

        November 14: Trump plays golf at the Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia. 53,164,303 global cases, 1,300,576 deaths (WHO), U.S. 10,690,665 cases, 243,580 deaths (CDC).

        November 15: Trump plays golf at the Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia. 53,766,728 global cases, 1,308,975 deaths (WHO), U.S. 10,846,373 cases, 244,810 deaths (CDC).

        November 21: Trump plays golf at the Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia. 57,274,018 global cases, 1,368,000 deaths (WHO), U.S. 11,843,490 cases, 253,600 deaths (CDC).

        November 22: Trump possibly plays golf at the Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia. 57,882,183 global cases, 1,377,395 deaths (WHO), U.S. 12,028,081 cases, 255,076 deaths (CDC).

        November 26: Trump plays golf at the Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia. 60,074,174 global cases, 1,416,292 deaths (WHO), U.S. 12,498,734 cases, 259,005 deaths (CDC).

        November 27: Trump plays golf at the Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia. 60,534,526 global cases, 1,426,101 deaths (WHO), U.S. 12,823,092 cases, 262,673 deaths (CDC).

        November 28: Trump possibly plays golf at the Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia. 61,299,371 global cases, 1,439,784 deaths (WHO), U.S. 12,999,664 cases, 263,956 deaths (CDC).

        December 5: Trump holds a "victory rally" in Valdosta, Georgia, a misinformation-filled rally in state he lost to Joe Biden. 65,257,767 global cases, 1,513,179 deaths (WHO), U.S. 14,255,535 cases, 277,825 deaths (CDC).

        December 10: U.S. sets a new record for daily new cases (+231,396) and a new record for daily new deaths (+3,411). 68,165,877 global cases, 1,557,385 deaths (WHO), U.S. 15,271,571 cases, 288,762 deaths.

        December 11: The Trump administration purchases an additional 100 million doses of the Moderna vaccine (bringing the total to 200 million doses for this vaccine). (

        December 12: U.S. sets a new record for daily new cases (+244,011), beating the record set on December 10. 69,808,588 global cases, 1,588,854 deaths (WHO), U.S. 15,718,811 cases, 294,535 deaths.

        December 13: Trump plays golf at the Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia. 70,461,926 global cases, 1,599,704 deaths (WHO), U.S. 15,932,116 cases, 296,818 deaths (CDC).

        December 14: The electoral college votes, electing Joe Biden as president, 306 votes to Trump's 232. 71,051,805 global cases, 1,608,648 deaths (WHO), U.S. 16,113,148 cases, 298,266 deaths (CDC).

        December 17: U.S. sets a new record for daily new deaths (+3,435), beating the record set on December 10. 72,851,747 global cases, 1,643,339 deaths (WHO), U.S. 16,756,581 cases, 306,427 deaths (CDC).

        December 18: U.S. sets a new record for daily new deaths (+3,444), beating the record set December 17. [no WHO data update on dashboard], U.S. 16,987,911 cases, 309,880 deaths (CDC).

        December 19: U.S. sets a new record for daily new cases (+403,359), beating the record set on December 12. 74,299,042 global cases, 1,669,982 deaths (WHO), U.S. 17,391,270 cases, 312,636 deaths (CDC).

        December 24: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida. 77,530,799 global cases, 1,724,904 deaths (WHO), U.S. 18,391,571 cases, 325,096 deaths (CDC).

        December 25: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida. 78,194,947 global cases, 1,736,752 deaths (WHO), U.S. 18,584,924 cases, 327,900 deaths (CDC).

        December 27: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida. 79,232,555 global cases, 1,754,493 deaths (WHO), U.S. 18,909,910 cases, 330,901 deaths (CDC).

        December 28: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida. 79,673,754 global cases, 1,761,381 deaths (WHO), U.S. 19,055,869 cases, 332,246 deaths (CDC).

        December 30: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida. 80,773,033 global cases, 1,783,619 deaths (WHO), U.S. 19,432,125 cases, 337,419 deaths (CDC).

        December 31: The year ends with only about 2.6 million doses of vaccine administered, against the administration's goal of 20 million doses, largely due to failure to fund the "last mile" of distribution. ( 81,475,053 global cases, 1,798,050 deaths (WHO), U.S. 19,663,976 cases, 341,199 deaths (CDC). The U.S. sets a new record for COVID-19 deaths in a single day, 3,764.

        January 6, 2021: As Congress begins counting the electoral votes, Donald Trump gives a speech to a gathering crowd which incites them to storm the U.S. Capitol and break in and vandalize it, causing Congress to recess during the very beginning of debate over Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-AZ) baseless objection to the electoral votes of Arizona.  Five people died in the melee -- one woman was shot in the chest inside the Capito, three died from "medical emergencies," and a Capitol Police officer dies from injuries inflicted by the crowd. (Another Capitol Police officer commits suicide days later.) Congress reconvened in the evening and confirmed early the next morning that Joe Biden won the electoral college vote, 306-232. 81,810,000 global cases, 1,854,195 deaths (WHO), U.S. 20,960,096 cases, 356,005 deaths (CDC).

        January 13, 2021: The House votes to impeach Trump a second time, 232-197, with 10 Republicans including #3 Republican in the House, Liz Cheney, voting to impeach. U.S. 22,740,142 cases, 379,255 deaths (CDC).

        January 15, 2021: The Trump administration vows to release a reserve of additional doses of vaccine so that states can use held-back second doses as first doses for more people, but it turns out the reserve didn't exist. ( U.S. 23,193,703 cases, 387,255 deaths  (CDC).

        Some date in January prior to January 20, 2021: Donald and Melania Trump are secretly vaccinated against COVID-19 at the White House. This is not made public until March 1, 2021. (

        January 20, 2021: Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 47th U.S. president, and spent the afternoon signing executive orders including rejoining the World Health Organization. On his first day in office (Jan 21) he rolled out a national coronavirus plan which included a goal to administer 100 million vaccinations in the next 100 days. ( U.S. 24,876,261 cases, 400,306 deaths (CDC).

        January 27, 2021: The Washington Post reported that "Federal officials repeatedly raided a fund earmarked for biomedical research in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, spending millions of dollars on unrelated salaries, administrative expenses, and even the cost of removing office furniture, according to the findings of an investigation int a whistleblower complaint" shared with the Post. The funds were taken from hundreds of millions of dollars for vaccine and drug research by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which Health and Human Services officials in the office of the assistant secretary for preparedness and response (Dr. Nicole Lurie, June 2009-January 2017) at HHS referred to as the "bank of BARDA." The whistleblower reports not seeing such misuse under Lurie's predecessor as assistant secretary for preparedness and response. (

        February 6, 2021: The U.S. Senate votes to acquit Donald Trump a second time, on incitement of insurrection, 57-43, in a bipartisan majority that failed by 10 votes to reach 2/3. 7 Republican Senators voted with the majority. Trump's impeachment trials were the third and fourth impeachment trials of a U.S. president; he is the first president to be impeached twice and the first president to receive bipartisan votes to convict in a Senate impeachment trial.

        July 4, 2021: The U.S. falls short of President Biden's call for 70% of Americans to be vaccinated by July 4, not due to unavailability of vaccine but due to Republican resistance to getting vaccinated. About 67% of the adult U.S. population has been vaccinated. ( 183,560,151 global cases, 3,978,581 deaths (WHO, July 5), U.S. 33,530,880 cases, 603,018 deaths (CDC).

        Also see:



        And: Linda Qiu, "Analyzing the Patterns in Trump's Falsehoods About Coronavirus"

        And: Ryan Goodman and Danielle Schulkin, Just Security, Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic and U.S. Response

        And: Eric Lipton, David Sanger, et al., New York Times, "He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump's Failure on the Virus"

        And: Garrett Graff, Wired, "An Oral History of the Pandemic Warnings Trump Ignored"

        And: Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes, The Atlantic, "What's So Hard to Understand About What Trump Has Said? A clarifying look at the president's response to coronavirus, in his own words"
        And: Daniel Dale and Christopher Hickey, CNN, "Timeline: Tracking Trump's rising coronavirus death toll estimates"