Despite the false claim being debunked months ago, on Tuesday, NBC’s Today show incredibly still pushed fake news that President Trump labeled the coronavirus a “hoax” in the early days of the pandemic. In reality, Trump made it clear that he thought efforts by Democrats and some in the liberal media to politicize the global health crisis was the “hoax,” not the serious threat from the disease itself.
“The New York Times is this morning reporting that senior White House trade adviser Peter Navarro warned the President, warned the White House of the situation with the coronavirus in late January,” correspondent Tom Costello noted. After quoting a memo written by Navarro at the time, the reporter concluded: “He wrote that again on January 29th, at the time that the President was suggesting this was all a hoax.”
As far back as March 4, even liberal fact-check website Snopes.com begrudgingly acknowledged: “Trump did not call the coronavirus itself a hoax.” Days before that, on February 29, an NBCNews.com article highlighted the President elaborating on his comments and making it clear that he did not think COVID-19 was “hoax,” but rather the attempts to politicize it:
He said he was “referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody because we've done such a good job. The hoax is on them. I’m not talking about what’s happening here. I’m talking what they’re doing. That’s the hoax. That’s just a continuation of the hoax, whether it’s the impeachment hoax or ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ hoax. This is what I’m talking about. Certainly not referring to this. How could anybody refer to this? This is very serious,” he said.
Multiple news outlets at the time also managed to accurately point out the Trump was specifically calling out criticism from Democrats.
NBC’s Today show has had a particularly difficult time when it comes getting the facts straight on this topic. On March 1, Sunday Today host Willie Geist declared that the President “called coronavirus a Democratic hoax against his presidency.” The Following day, MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle appeared on the network morning show and claimed: “...the White House, who’s been saying for days, ‘We’ve got this airtight, it’s a hoax, the flu is worse.’”
Some in the media seem desperate to re-write history or invent fake quotes just to smear the administration’s response to the pandemic.
Here is a transcript of Costello’s April 7 remarks:
7:09 AM ET
TOM COSTELLO: Meanwhile, The New York Times is this morning reporting that senior White House trade adviser Peter Navarro warned the President, warned the White House of the situation with the coronavirus in late January. Peter Navarro wroting – writing, rather – on January 29th, quote, “The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil. The lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.” He wrote that again on January 29th, at the time that the President was suggesting this was all a hoax.