The Trump Tapes
The only thing anybody seems to have been talking about for the last 24 hours. Trump admitted, on tape, that, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down,” Trump said on March 19. “Because I don’t want to create a panic.”
He also stated that the virus was transmissible by “going through the air,” and stated that it was about five times more deadly than the flu.
The controversy of course is that these tapes were recorded in March. During this same time, President Trump was criticized for comparing the severity of covid-19 to the flu.
The Trump Tapes were not recorded in secret. Nothing Trump said was done so without the express knowledge that he was giving interviews. So the likelihood that he was concerned about this information getting out is pretty low. Not to mention, what he says on the tapes echoes what experts were saying in the media at the time.
Furthermore, in response to the allegations of “downplaying” the severity of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci himself discouraged the idea that Trump was providing false information.
The Hill reports:
“I didn’t see any discrepancies between what he told us and what we told him and what he ultimately came out publicly and said,” Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.
“He really didn’t say anything different than we discussed when we were with him,” Fauci said.
Severity of Covid-19
Even though we have previously reported on the extremely exaggerated statistics used to justify the continued shutdown, this is a perfect opportunity to highlight once again how the experts have been wrong.
Thankfully, the internet keeps archives on what has been reported. If you recall, mortality rates were greatly over stated during the same time in which these calls were taking place. In fact, the WHO was reporting a 3.4% mortality rate, which is thousands of times more deadly than the flu.
During the same time, Trump was criticized for having publicly stating that he had a hunch this figure was wrong.
Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity: “Well, I think the 3.4% is really a false number.”
He added, “now, this is just my hunch … based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it’s very mild.”
It turns out, he was right. The latest figures reported indicate that the mortality rate is closer to 0.6%, which is nowhere near the previously ramped up 3.4%. Not to mention that this does not take into account the CDC revision for comorbidities, which are still being attributed to the global death toll for coronavirus.
Trump was also criticized for his repeated claims that increased testing creates more cases, the comparison of confirmed cases to confirmed deaths seems to point to some truth in this. This is not the equivalent of saying that “increased testing is the sole reason for increased cases.” Obviously infectious diseases of any kind will spread, but a dramatic increase in testing certainly contributes to a significant increase. Especially when people were turned away at the onset of the pandemic.
The Trump Tapes prove that the media and opposing party will grasp at just about anything they can shove in the face of the public without context. Their smoking gun not only lacks complete context and character of the conversations, but highlights their shameless hypocrisy for anyone with a memory.
The first case of covid-19 in the USA was discovered on January 20 and reported to the CDC on the 22. On January 31, Trump issued a travel ban on China and surrounding affected areas in order to combat continued spread into the United States.
Joe Biden took to Twitter on February 1st in response to this action:
“We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.” – Joe Biden
Bernie Sanders, when answering questions at a Town Hall, also criticized the move. Fox News reported:
“If you had to, would you close down the borders?” Baier asked, referring to efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“No,” Sanders replied flatly.
He went on to condemn xenophobia and suggest that scientists would need to outline the appropriate approach.
Let’s not forget our friend Nancy Pelosi.
“That’s what we’re trying to do today is to say everything is fine here. Come because precautions have been taken. The city is on top of the situation,” Pelosi insisted. Certainly this can’t be misconstrued as downplaying the situation, despite being at the end of February among the panicking concerns of the CDC, NIH, WHO, and almost a month after the travel ban on China.
Even Fauci has largely escaped backlash from his double speak. Just The News reported in June that Fauci had admitted in an article for the New England Journal of Medicine that the mortality rate of covid-19 was far less than he continued to tout in front of media cameras.
No, you don’t have a smoking gun. The Trump Tapes are not the end-all-be-all of responsible journalism. They are sensationalized hype relying on willful ignorance and emotional response of the public. Nothing more. Responsible journalism would gather all of the facts, and give you a clear and concise picture.
Unfortunately, a large portion of the population do not have a memory. They rely instead on information that supports their preferred narrative, willfully dismissing any facts that may sway their opinion. Their emotions dictate their decision making rather than evidence. That is simply the world we live in.