Trump is lying about his travel ban in Europe.
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Donald Trump has lied his whole life. As president he told a thousand lies, documented through many do–the ladies. But now, thanks to his regular coronavirus briefings, you can see how he’s doing it. By speaking in front of the camera for hours every day, he allowed to reconstruct, through a kind of time-lapse photography, how he elaborates, embellishes and markets his lies. One of those inventions is a useful case study: Trump’s claim that when the virus hit he quickly banned travel to the United States from Europe.
Europe’s lie is significant because of how the virus got here. On January 31, Trump announced restrictions on travel to the United States from china, where the virus originated. The restrictions were porous and arrived too late, but Trump assured Americans that our country is safe. That insurance collapsed as infections spread across the United States. It turned out that the virus had come in part through Europe. So Trump changed his story. He said that shortly after he cut off travel from China, he also cut off travel from Europe.
Trump’s story was wrong. Here is what really happened. Italy was the first European country to be flooded by the virus. February 24 and 25, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands issued warnings against travel to Italy. Then, on February 27, Israel inbound travel prohibited of Italy. Over the next few days, Singapore, Indonesia, and other countries followed suit.
Trump was asked to do what these governments were doing. He refused. On February 26, a reporter asked him if he planned to restrict travel from Italy. “I am not the president of other countries”, Trump responded. âWe have to focus on this country. I don’t think it’s fair to impose yourself on others. He added, âAt the right time, we can do it. Right now is not the right time. On February 29, the administration issued a travel recommendations, but it was voluntary. It only applied to a small fraction of Italy and was not directly relevant to travel from Italy at all.
It wasn’t until March 11, about six weeks after his move against China, that Trump announced an order “suspend all travel from EuropeTo March 14. He was two weeks behind Israel and a week behind other countries. He blamed Europe for the outbreak in America, essentially conceding that his ban came too late. âThe European Union has failed toâ¦ restrict travel from China and other hot spots,â Trump said. “As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States have been seeded by travelers from Europe.”
The next morning, March 12, Trump began to rewrite history. âWe closed very early with China,â he said, referring to his January 31 travel restrictions. âIt has helped us save thousands of lives. And we went very early with europe. âOn March 13 he repeated the new story, this time with common knowledge.â As you know, âhe told reporters,â Europe has just been named as the hot spot right now , and we closed this border some time ago. âWhatever the definition, it was wrong: As Trump spoke, the restrictions on Europe had not yet taken effect.
To support his false story, Trump edited a quote from one of his science advisers, Anthony Fauci. He claims that “as Dr Fauci said … one of the most important things, when you write the story of this, was the fact that we closed it to China and Europe.” Fauci had said the travel ban in Europe was a good idea, not that Trump “closed” it. He supported Trump’s new policy, not Trump’s revisionist story. But Trump blew up, repeat on and on that he had “cut Europe very early. “
Now Trump’s lie is so entrenched that he thinks he can invoke it as a do.
As the weeks went by, it became harder and harder to remember exactly what happened when. And it made it easier for Trump to compress the timeline, claiming he acted against China and Europe. Around the same time. “We have stopped China” and “stopped Europe very soon after, he boasted.
During briefings, Trump’s subordinates attempted to reformulate his bogus claims to make them defensible. But they also tried not to lie. Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged that the February 29 travel warning was just a tip. Pence systematically distinguished council-as good as temperature controls on passengers leaving Italy – from a travel ban. Trump had no such qualms. In its evolutionary narrative, temperature tips and controls have become a ban. “Do you remember, we also had a ban very, very early from ItalyHe told Sean Hannity on March 26. Five days later he say again this lie.
According to Trump, America was the first country to block travelers from Europe. He said he took that step “long before it was considered acceptable” and “long before people start arresting anyone. “In this side of the story, previous travel warnings and bans by other countries have been erased. Trump’s science advisers too. Trump has said he has banned travel from Europe.”because I saw what was going on” on the continent. In reality, Trump’s advisers had brought him the proposal.
Now Trump’s lie is so entrenched – in his own mind, and perhaps that of his supporters – that he thinks he can invoke it as a fact. PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked him on Monday if he regretted downplaying the importance of the virus before mid-March. Trump said she got the timeline wrong. “Before March, we banned Europe, where Europe cannot enter, âhe told her. “So how can you tell I wasn’t taking him seriously?” “
Many of Trump’s lies at virus briefings have been spectacular. He told Alcindor he didn’t have “left the White House in a few months, although, as she pointed out, he held a rally in north carolina last month. On Wednesday, he said the Washington Post had “totally misquoted” Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even though Redfield admitted he was quoted. correctly. But Europe’s lie took longer to build and play out. It shows how Trump makes up a story, twists the past to fit it, and sells it to the public. He’s a builder. And what he constructs are lies.