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.

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. (

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

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

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

January 21: CDC confirms first U.S. case of COVID-19. (

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

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 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, 12 U.S.

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 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.

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.

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

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 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).

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 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 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.

Also see:



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



Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Books read in 2019

Not much blogging going on here still, but here's my annual list of books read for 2019.
  • Graham T. Allison, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?
  • Ross Anderson, Security Engineering (3rd edition, draft chapters)
  • Herbert Asbury, The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld
  • Heidi Blake, From Russia with Blood: The Kremlin's Ruthless Assassination Program and Vladimir Putin's Secret War on the West
  • Rutger Bregman, Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World
  • Oliver Bullough, Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World
  • Bryan Caplan and Zach Weinersmith, Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration
  • C.J. Chivers, The Fighters: Americans in Combat
  • Sefton Delmer, Black Boomerang
  • Nina J. Easton, Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Crusade (bio of Bill Kristol, Ralph Reed, Clint Bolick, Grover Norquist, and David McIntosh)
  • Ronan Farrow, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators
  • Ronan Farrow, War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence
  • Ian Frisch, Magic is Dead: My Journey into the World's Most Secretive Society of Magicians
  • Anand Giridharadas, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
  • Reba Wells Grandrud, Sunnyslope (Images of America series)
  • Andy Greenberg, Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers
  • Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement
  • Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq
  • Michael Lewis, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
  • Jonathan Lusthaus, Industry of Anonymity: Inside the Business of Cybercrime
  • Ben MacIntyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
  • Joseph Menn, Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World
  • Anna Merlan, Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power
  • Jefferson Morley, Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA
  • Sarah T. Roberts, Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media
  • Hans Rosling, with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
  • Russell Shorto, Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City
  • Alexander Stille, The Sack of Rome: Media + Money + Celebrity = Power = Silvio Berlusconi
  • Jamie Susskind, Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech
  • Erik Van De Sandt, Deviant Security: The Technical Computer Security Practices of Cyber Criminals (Ph.D. thesis)
  • Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff
  • Tim Wu, The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads
Top for 2019: Bullough, Farrow (Catch and Kill), Wu, Chivers, Rosling, Greenberg, Blake, Allison, Caplan and Weinersmith, Kinzer, Delmer.

I started the following books I expect to finish in early 2020:

Myke Cole, Legion versus Phalanx: The Epic Struggle for Infantry Supremacy in the Ancient World
Walter LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America (2nd edition)
Brad Smith and Carol Anne Browne, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and Peril of the Digital Age
Peter H. Wilson, The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe's History

Two books I preordered and look forward to reading in 2020:

Anna Wiener, Uncanny Valley: A Memoir (due out January 14)
Thomas Rid, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare (due out April 21)

(Previously: 20182017201620152014201320122011201020092008200720062005.)