During an outdoor rally in Greenville, North Carolina on Thursday, President Donald Trump managed to squeeze in insults toward Anthony Fauci, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), the Democratic Party, and NBC – in fewer than four minutes.
But first, Trump told a whopper of a lie about masks and the transmission of the coronavirus.
All of Trump’s words are transcribed verbatim.
“Look at all the masks, you know, they keep saying, ‘nobody wears masks, wear the masks,’ although they come out with things today, did you see? The CDC? That 85 percent of the people wearing masks catch” COVID-19? Trump said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s September 11, 2020 Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report, which Trump referenced, did not say that.
“It’s true, as the post claims, that 70.6% of the ‘case patients’ self-reported always wearing masks. But an even higher percentage of the ‘control patients’ who did not contract the virus self-reported always wearing masks, at 74.2%, which suggests that their mask-wearing may have helped stave off the virus,” USAToday wrote in a fact-check on Thursday. “There is nothing in the report to back the claim that masks collect virus particles or make patients more likely to contract COVID-19.”
Next, Trump went after Fauci, who has publicly decried the president’s misleading claims about the coronavirus.
“My friend, and he’s a nice guy, Tony. Tony Fauci. He’s a nice guy. He said this is not a threat. This is not a problem. Don’t worry about it… and he said, ‘do not wear a mask!’ Do not wear a mask under any circumstances. Don’t wear a mask; don’t don’t don’t.’ So we don’t wear a mask, then they say, oh, wear a mask. Did you see any conflicts?” Trump said.
Fauci has championed masks for months. Trump has refused to wear one and was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early October.
“But he’s a nice guy so I keep him around, right? We’ll keep him around. He’s a Democrat. Everybody knows that. He’s [New York Governor Andrew] Cuomo’s friend. Cuomo did the worst job of any governor in the United States,” the president continued. “Almost 40,000 people died, and 11,000 at least… you know I gave him this big convention center, 2,800 beds, he didn’t use it. I gave him a ship. I gave him the great hospital ship meant for wars. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of incredible… you should see this ship. I’ve been on it many times. It’s incredible. They didn’t even use it. Instead they sent sick people back into nursing homes. It’s a disgrace.”
New York was the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic in the early spring, but was able to flatten the curve, and the spread of cases has remained low because residents are adhering to CDC guidelines. The HMS Comfort was sent to New York, but by the time it arrived on April 30, the beds were not needed. Trump’s claim about nursing homes is also false.
Without so much as an interlude, Trump turned his rage toward the Democrats.
“The Democrat Party is ashamed of America, the Republican Party is proud of America, and that’s a big difference,” Trump seethed. Trump offered no examples to support either claim.
Then, Trump targeted Comcast and NBC, who agreed to host a town hall for him tonight to air at the same time as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s, which will air on ABC at 8:00 p.m.
Trump, however, said he was being “set up” by the network, even though the town hall was his idea.
“So I’m doing this town hall with Concast, c o n… con, cause it’s a con job. C o n, not c o m. C o n cast. So I’m doing it and it’s NBC, the worst, home of Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd and some others,” Trump grisled.
Trump chose to not mention the fact that NBC was the network that created “The Apprentice,” a reality show in which Trump played a billionaire who fired people for failing to complete various fool’s errands at his behest. The show provided Trump with a way of rebranding himself from a bankrupt casino owner into a successful New York City mega-developer. There is little truth to the latter.
Trump then maligned NBC correspondents Lester Holt and Savannah Guthrie, admitted he was getting free air time, and falsely suggested that Biden was unable to speak coherently.
“They gave Lester Holt, he’s a beauty. They gave Joe Biden a week ago a town hall and it was meant for children,” Trump said. “In fact, speaking of Barron Trump, full recovered in like record time. Barron Trump would do great on that show, cause he’s a young child.”
Trump’s youngest son Barron, 14, recently recovered from COVID-19, which he may have caught from his father or his mother, First Lady Melania, both of whom contracted the deadly disease.
Trump said NBC asked Biden “questions that a child could answer. Any child. A smart child, not such a smart child, and they got taken apart. Ya know, it was a joke. It was a joke. And so they asked me if I would do it and I said, ‘what the hell, we get a free hour on television, and we have Savannah Guthrie, she’s always lovely isn’t she? But I figure why not. What’s the difference in tone between what they did to this guy [Biden] that can’t put two sentences together and what they do to me? But with me it’s me. It’s a life and we know what we’re doing and we just go on and we do it. But they’re doing him on ABC. And actually, I’d like to watch him because I want to see if he can make it through the program.”
Trump predicted that ABC “would be so soft. George Stephanopoulos, I did him a couple of weeks ago, it was fine.” Trump complained that Stephanopoulos’s questions “were unfair… they said that the audience was neutral. Turns out they only had never-Trumpers there but these are minor… little minor facts.”
Trump said that “it happened with the other guy [Biden] too. It was supposed to be neutral. It turned out they were all like, big Democrats.”
Trump offered no evidence for that either.
“Because you know what? The fake news media is corrupt, okay? It’s corrupt, and we’ve shown it so many times,” Trump alleged. “So I’ll see you later on NBC, I look forward to it. We’re gonna be doing it from Miami where we’re doing very well in Florida too by the way, we just got numbers back, we’re doing very well. And the senior citizens are liking us I think more and more every day. Every day they see what we’re doing, every single day.”
Recent polling shows Trump hemorraging support among senior citizens.
Trump admitted that Thursday’s town hall is purely about “entertainment” as well as sticking it to Biden.
“But we’re gonna be doing that from Florida so you’ll watch tonight if you wanna have a little entertainment,” Trump groaned.
“I just want to see the tone of the way they treated this character [Biden] and the way they treat us. It’s not me, it’s us. The way they treat us.”
Watch the whole thing below:
President Trump: "85% of the people wearing the masks catch it, okay?" pic.twitter.com/193E6QRWrV
— The Hill (@thehill) October 15, 2020
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.