Donald Trump earned himself an immediate fact-check on Twitter Thursday after likening his early public downplaying of the coronavirus — despite privately knowing its deadly nature — to the messaging of the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II.
Trump in early February, in taped interviews for journalist Bob Woodward’s new book “Rage,” admitted he knew the dangers of COVID-19, even though he was dismissing them in public. This week Trump defended his comments, claiming he just didn’t want to scare Americans.
On Thursday, Trump doubled down on his defense at a rally in Michigan.
“As the British government advised the British people in the face of World War II, keep calm and carry on. That’s what I did,” said Trump, calling Woodward ― who he spoke to multiple times for the book ― a “whack job.”
“They wanted me to come out and scream, ‘People are dying,’ No. No. We did it just the right way. We have to be calm. We don’t want to be crazed lunatics. We have to lead,” claimed Trump, who has repeatedly incited panic throughout his time in office.
“When Hitler was bombing London, Churchill, great leader, would oftentimes go to a roof in London and speak,” Trump added. “And he always spoke with confidence. He said we have to show calmness. No, we did it the right way and we’ve done a job like nobody.”
Check out the clip here:
Critics on Twitter, including CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale, pointed out that Churchill was actually “famously blunt” about the dire situation facing the United Kingdom during the war.
They also shared excerpts of the late leader’s addresses and compared them to Trump’s dismissal of the pandemic that’s now killed more than 190,000 people nationwide:
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