At his daily pandemic briefing the other day, President Donald Trump announced, “We are continuing our relentless effort to destroy the [corona]virus.” A lot of people manage not to see much continuity in the president’s efforts, and wouldn’t use a word like relentless to describe his commitment to the struggle.
They haven’t been listening to him carefully.
We pored over dozens of transcripts of briefings, tweets, and media comments in an attempt to distill Trump’s core positions on the coronavirus threat, on China’s efforts to combat the virus, on the economic impact of the virus, and on the seriousness of efforts by the administration to fight it. We cannot fathom why people are confused as to his positions.
As Trump himself put it, “There was no difference yesterday from days before. I feel the tone is similar, but some people said it wasn’t.” We hope the following clarifies what are—and always have been—the clear, consistent positions of the president.
Trump has consistently said that his administration has the coronavirus “under control”: “We have it totally under control,” he said back in January. “A lot of people think that [it] goes away in April with the heat—as the heat comes in,” he said in February. “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away,” he reassured us in March. “It’s going to disappear; one day, it’s like a miracle.”