Trump defends slow response to coronavirus saying “everybody”, even infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, downplayed the severity of the virus early on.

  • The statement was made during a Fox News town hall even on Sunday after President Trump was asked about his administration’s delayed actions to stymie the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Trump’s first action against coronavirus was to impose travel restrictions on China in early February after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global health emergency.
  • Trump told Fox News, “Nancy Pelosi was a month later saying it was going to pass — everybody, even Tony Fauci, was saying it’s going to pass, not going to be a big deal.”
  • Some evidence slightly supports his claim.
  • At a 2017 speech at Georgetown University, Fauci said, “There is no question that there will be a challenge to the coming administration in the arena of infectious diseases. The thing we’re extraordinarily confident about is that we’re going to see this in the next few years.”
  • In January, Fauci told Newsmax, “Obviously, you need to take it seriously and do the kind of things the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security is doing, But this is not a major threat to the people of the United States and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.”
  • He also appeared to downplay the severity of the virus’ spread during a January 26 interview when he said the virus was “very, very low risk to the United States” at the time, though he stressed that public-health officials needed to continue to take it “very seriously.”