Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) said on Tuesday that the constant downplaying of the coronavirus from Donald Trump and Fox News contributed to the severity of the outbreak that is now wreaking havoc across the United States.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber, the Democratic lawmaker said, “The president kept saying things that were false and misleading, and it led a lot of people to go and not social distance, it led a lot of people to take actions they shouldn’t have.”
Rep. Lieu added, “[Fox News] just kept giving false information, misleading information to many Americans, and they really should apologize for what they did.”
As a result of Trump dismissing the virus in the early weeks of this crisis – and Fox News backing him up along the way – U.S. infections and deaths are surging.
Video of Rep. Lieu’s comments:
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) says the U.S. lost valuable time at the beginning of this health crisis because Trump and Fox News were downplaying the virus to millions of followers. #ctl #p2 pic.twitter.com/cRapTpqQm0
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) April 1, 2020
Rep. Lieu said:
I do agree that the job of the president is to give hope, but it’s not to give false hope. And what ended up happening is in the early stages of this crisis, the president kept saying things that were false and misleading and it led a lot of people to go and not social distance, it led a lot of people to take actions they shouldn’t have and without testing, it allowed this virus to continue to spread across America. And now we have the most number of cases in the world. We have more people that died now from this virus than 9/11 and we can’t just look at this and say, let’s just keep giving people hope. We have to give them the truth. And one other thing I want to add is, when you look at these press conferences, if you were watching MSNBC, today would not have been surprising. If you watch Fox News, today’s press conference may have been surprising to you, because networks like Fox just kept giving false information, misleading information to many Americans and they really should apologize for what they did.
Trump’s failure to take this virus seriously led to this moment
On Tuesday, the media again focused on the somber tone of Donald Trump’s daily coronavirus photo-op at the White House – but nothing will undo the damage he has already unleashed.
Even his own team is now admitting that – at a minimum – 100,000 to 200,000 Americans will die from the coronavirus. Despite the president’s attempt to frame that as a campaign-season victory, that is an unfathomable amount of loss that the country will have to endure over the next few months.
Regardless of what Donald Trump’s tone is going forward, his failure to take this outbreak seriously from the start and to implement widespread testing in January and February is what led to this national tragedy.
The American people shouldn’t forget that, no matter how often the president shifts his tone.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.