Teresa Hanafin of Fast Forward of the Boston Globe:

The White House task force is holding another briefing at 11:30 a.m. ET, and we’ll see if Trump shows up again. It’s interesting how much he enjoys gaslighting Americans, claiming he said or did something he really didn’t as though there isn’t a written record to contradict him.

A good example is his claim yesterday that he was way ahead of the rest of the world, believing the coronavirus was a pandemic “long before it was called a pandemic.”

Nonsense. On Jan. 22, after the virus had spread from China to four other countries, China was starting to take drastic measures, including being on the verge of closing off the city of Wuhan. The US had its first confirmed case. And specialists were persistently sounding the alarm about the spread of the virus.

That day, Trump was asked if he worried about it becoming a pandemic. “No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control,” he said. “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

As the chorus of warnings grew louder throughout late January, and the World Health Organization proclaimed the coronavirus to be a “public-health emergency of international concern,” Trump continued to be more concerned about the virus’ effect on his reputation than its effect on Americans.
Jan. 24, in a tweet: “It will all work out well.”
Jan. 30, in a speech: “We have it very well under control.”

Finally, on Jan. 31, he took his first action, barring most, but not all, foreigners who had recently visited China from entering the US, but allowing Americans who had been traveling in China to return (and they weren’t tested). Hardly the “complete shutdown” he brags about now, again assuming most Americans can’t read to fact-check his claims.

He spent most of February downplaying the risk, trashing Democrats and the media, and telling everybody who would listen that the whole thing was going to just go away. But he forgot to tell the virus. By Feb. 23, it was in 30 countries with 78,811 confirmed cases, a more than fivefold increase in three weeks. By the end of February, there were 85,403 confirmed cases in 55 countries.

In early March, Trump continued to proclaim that the virus was very mild and would just go away. It was also around this time that everybody started to realize that the US was blowing it on testing. The US refused to use the WHO test, hundreds of thousands of which had already been sent to other countries, preferring to create our own. Which we did, and the test didn’t work. More delays.

You may have noticed that in the previous paragraphs there isn’t one mention of Trump referring to the spread of the virus as a pandemic. Maybe he just said it to himself in the mirror.