President Donald Trump faced harsh criticism Monday night for saying that COVID-19 “affects virtually nobody,” part of his continued efforts to downplay the virus.
During a campaign rally in Swanton, Ohio, Trump told his supporters that “we now know the disease.”
“We didn’t know it,” the President said, directly contradicting to what he privately told reporter Bob Woodward all the way back in February when he said COVID-19 was “deadly stuff.”
Trump painted the virus as something that only really impacts elderly people “with heart problems and other problems” but “nobody young.”
“Below the age of 18, like nobody. They have a strong immune system,” the President said. “Who knows? Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system.”
“But it affects virtually nobody,” he added. “It’s an amazing thing.”
The reaction was swift on Twitter:
They should turn this into a 30 second spot and run it in retirement communities. https://t.co/C5gVngsjfG
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) September 22, 2020
My Dad was not a nobody. https://t.co/9IeHxeV1bi
— Kristin Urquiza, MPA (she/her) (@kdurquiza) September 22, 2020
This failure of leadership is beyond breathtaking. Here Trump urges “open your schools” because COVID “affects virtually nobody.” US death count is 200,000 with 7 million known to be infected. https://t.co/FczCiEQpeF
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) September 22, 2020
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) September 22, 2020
Even Dr. Anthony Fauci contradicted Trump’s claim:
WATCH: Dr. Fauci contradicts Trump's claim that the coronavirus "affects virtually nobody" saying that "it can be serious in young people." pic.twitter.com/Gu46WTZ9eO
— DNC War Room (@DNCWarRoom) September 22, 2020
Trump himself privately admitted to Woodward on March 19 that the virus did in fact afflict young people.
“It’s not just old, older. Young people too, plenty of young people,” Trump told the reporter.
Johns Hopkins University reports that as of Tuesday morning, 199,890 Americans have died from COVID-19 and that there are currently 6.8 million cases in the country.
Watch Trump below:
Trump falsely tells supporters COVID-19 affects "virtually nobody." pic.twitter.com/gM7KCyMbS1
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 22, 2020