Wednesday night, when Donald Trump gave an interview to Sean Hannity on Fox News about the coronavirus, his narcissism and proud ignorance were on full display. Within the space of two minutes, Trump managed to offer so much misinformation and dangerous advice that we can only hope no one dies from this self-absorbed lunatic’s ramblings.
When Hannity referenced the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) now estimates that the coronavirus’s global death rate is as high as 3.4%, Trump dismissed it as “really a false number.” As for his evidence, Trump claimed, “This is just my hunch.” He then proceeded to ramble about “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.” In the meantime, the CDC’s top-ranked piece of advice for people showing symptoms is to stay home unless seeking medical care.
Trump also misidentified the coronavirus as a flu, even contrasting it to “the regular flu.” This is remarkably stupid, considering that top WHO officials made a point of clearing up this confusion at a briefing just two days earlier. As WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained, “Knowing and understanding your epidemic is the first step to defeating it. Korea’s situation also underlines that this a unique virus with unique features. This virus is not influenza.” Ghebreyesus then warned that, as a result, the world has entered “uncharted territory.”
This is not the first time Trump has pulled what Joe Biden likes to call malarkey, baselessly overruling scientific experts to fit his desired narrative and oversized birdbrain. Last September, when Hurricane Dorian threatened the United States, Trump tweeted that Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” Even after the Birmingham National Weather Service rushed to correct him, Trump brazenly doubled down, going so far as to doctor the official forecast map with a Sharpie to include Alabama in the storm’s path.
Something is alarmingly wrong when the President of the United States, whoever it may be, boldly misleads Americans about a growing public health threat while contradicting the careful, informed messaging from experts around the world, including in his own government. Although you and I might know to ignore such reckless drivel, many Americans will take Trump’s advice to heart. For some, it is because they always believe this bloviating buffoon, while some others are just used to trusting a President of the United States on such serious matters. Trump is continuing to prove that he’s incapable of keeping Americans safe—he’s only facilitating the further spread of a scary and deadly disease into the country he is supposed to protect.