Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump made news as he opened his daily coronavirus briefing: “We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the [World Health Organization],” Trump said. “We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it.”
But asked 17 minutes later whether the best time to freeze aid to the organization was during a global health pandemic, Trump falsely claimed he had not said what he clearly just said.
“I mean, I’m not saying I’m going to do it, but we’re going to look at it,” Trump said.
(One week later, Trump said he would in fact freeze aid to the WHO.)
The WHO denial was one of a half-dozen claims Trump has made amid the coronavirus outbreak that he later falsely claimed he had not said, some of which occurred only minutes apart.
On Feb. 10, Trump said the heat in April would kill the coronavirus. On April 3, Trump falsely said he never put a date on when the virus would go away.
“I didn’t say a date,” Trump said. “I said it’s going away, and it is going away.”
On March 24, Trump again downplayed the threat of the coronavirus by comparing it to the seasonal flu. Two weeks later, Trump falsely said, “I didn’t say two weeks ago it was a flu.”
On March 27, Trump said he encouraged Vice President Pence not to call governors who were critical of the federal coronavirus response. Two days later, he said he never said that.
“I don’t call the governor of Washington now,” Trump said on March 29. “But Mike Pence calls and the head of FEMA calls. I don’t stop them.”
On March 20, Trump said he hadn’t had to require companies to produce medical supplies under the Defense Production Act. Six minutes later at the same briefing, Trump said he didn’t say that.
And three days after saying New York didn’t need all of the ventilators it was requesting, Trump denied he said that.
“I didn’t say that, come on. Why don’t you act in a little more positive?” Trump said on March 29 when asked about his previous ventilator comments. “It’s always trying to ‘get you.'”
Less than three weeks later, Trump touted the comments he previously denied making.
“[New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo ridiculously wanted ’40 thousand Ventilators,'” Trump tweeted on April 17. “We gave him a small fraction of that number, and it was plenty.”