President Donald Trump faced mockery after claiming the coronavirus caught his administration off guard — after claiming he had always known it was a pandemic.
The president claimed Tuesday that he’d always been aware of the outbreak’s threat to public health, and praised himself the following morning on Twitter for taking the coronavirus seriously.
But then he claimed the outbreak, which scientists have been watching with alarm since it originated three months ago in China, caught him by surprise.
“I call it the unseen the unseen enemy, there’s a thousand different terms for it, but it snuck up on us,” Trump said, “and it’s in 128 countries, I think it’s in something like that, very close to that. think of that. So it spreads violently it’s a very contagious, very, very contagious virus for America to be on a wartime footing, in terms of fighting this virus.”
The president’s claims met an instant and furious fact check.
"It snuck up on us." So now Trump's position is he knew it was a pandemic from the beginning AND that it snuck up on us. One lie to cover for his failed response, another to evade responsibility for the consequences.
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) March 18, 2020
The President says this “snuck up on us” re: coronavirus.
No, it didn’t sneak up on US. YOU ignored it. You called the reaction to it a Democratic “hoax”.
This began in January and you’re just now taking it seriously.
It may have snuck up on YOU. It didn’t sneak up on US.
— Jason Page (@TheBackPage) March 18, 2020
@realDonaldTrump just said that #coronavirus "snuck up on us." It didn't. POTUS refused to take action, failed to mobilize, and spread disinformation. Acting like a wartime president is different than being one. POTUS is attempting to dig himself–and the nation–out of a hole.
— Julian Zelizer (@julianzelizer) March 18, 2020
"It snuck up on us."
– Donald Trump on the pandemic.
It didn't sneak up on US, Donald.
It snuck up on YOU.
Because you're an incompetent, aloof, disinterested moron.
— TrumpsTaxes (@TrumpsTaxes) March 18, 2020
Trump just said it again — that the pandemic "snuck up on us." It's not true. Top intel officials and experts warned that the US was vulnerable to a global pandemic like #COVID. See previous tweets that quote the @ODNIgov assessment from 2019. https://t.co/vedvKvZed2
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) March 18, 2020
"It snuck up on us." Trump during today's presser. No, it did not. This was a major problem in China in December.
— jburcum (@jburcum) March 18, 2020
"It snuck up on us." President Trump with one of his worst, flat out virus misstatements. Every citizen should recoil at this inaccurate statement. Shameful now and for all history books to come.
— Tom Sherwood (@tomsherwood) March 18, 2020
“It snuck up on us,” Trump says of the coronavirus pandemic that didn’t sneak up on him.
— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) March 18, 2020
"it snuck up us." — said moron who didn't listen to anyone while it was NOT sneaking up on us.
— Randi Mayem Singer (@rmayemsinger) March 18, 2020
Trump: “I call it the unseen enemy….It snuck up on us.” No, it didn’t. That’s the tragedy. The tragedy he has exacerbated. #coronavirus
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 18, 2020
The virus "snuck up on us" in much the same way that six month deadline I had snuck up on me, while I stared vaguely out of the window, talked to the cats, and fell down YouTube rabbit holes. https://t.co/NSmar0uK8M
— Michael Marshall Smith (@ememess) March 18, 2020
"It snuck up on us" is simply untrue. It's two months since we saw Wuhan explode with cases. Only now are we invoking Defense Production Act, activating FEMA, bringing in DoD assets, trying to scale testing, etc etc.
ALL these steps could & should have been triggered weeks ago.
— Jeremy FLATTEN THE CURVE Konyndyk (@JeremyKonyndyk) March 18, 2020
This is also what someone who only watches Fox News would say. If you were watching Fox News up until a few days ago, this was no big deal, just the flu, then you tune in on Monday and boom full blown crisis. Totally snuck up on you. https://t.co/cVRCmiCvZD
— NYkrinDC (@NYkrinDC) March 18, 2020
Trump says the virus "snuck up" on everyone.
A stampede of elephants covered in bells and sh*tting bottle rockets could sneak up on him.
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) March 18, 2020
👀 Look at the date on this! Nothing snuck up on us. Trump was asleep at the wheel. https://t.co/DObyyJwmX1
— Zsenike (@Yaragreyjoyfan) March 18, 2020