Six months of coronavirus in the US, six months of Trump denials.

As the US passed another somber landmark, with more than 150,000 confirmed deaths from Covid-19, the grim toll stands in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s repeated promise that under his leadership the disease would simply disappear.

Here are some of his starkest statements on the topic:

20 January: ‘We have it under control’

On 20 January the US recorded its first case of coronavirus. Two days later Trump told CNBC: “It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

26 February: ‘It’s going to disappear’

In late February, by which time the US had recorded 60 cases of infection, Trump told a White House press briefing: “When you have 15 people … within a couple of days it’s going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

The following day he returned to the theme, saying: “It’s going to disappear. One day – it’s like a miracle – it will disappear.”

10 March: ‘It will go away’

By 10 March the coronavirus curve in the US was climbing steeply, with 37 official deaths and more than 1,000 confirmed cases.

On that day, Trump emerged from a meeting with Republican senators to tell the media how well the US was doing. “We’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

29 April: ‘It’s gonna be gone’

Trump returned to the argument that the virus would just disappear at the end of April. The US had just notched up its millionth positive test for coronavirus, and reached 58,000 recorded deaths – an emotive figure given that it meant the virus had claimed more lives than the Vietnam war.

On 29 April, the president told reporters: “This is going away. It’s gonna go. It’s gonna leave. It’s gonna be gone. It’s going to be eradicated … If you have a flare-up in a certain area – I call them burning embers – boom, you put it out.”

11 May: ‘We have prevailed’

In a grandiose coronavirus briefing from the Rose Garden, Trump announced his administration was winning the fight against the virus. “We have met the moment, and we have prevailed. Americans do whatever it takes to find solutions, pioneer breakthroughs, and harness the energies we need to achieve a total victory.”

That day the death toll in the US hit 80,000.

17 June: ‘It’s fading away’

Trump carried on predicting that the disease would disappear of its own accord through June, a time when the virus was in fact spreading fast through huge swaths of the country. In a radio call to Fox News he said: “It’s fading away. It’s going to fade away. But having a vaccine would be really nice.”

19 July: ‘I’ll be right eventually’

Earlier this month, Fox News Sunday played back to Trump his many claims that the virus would disappear. The president shot back: “I’ll be right eventually. It’s going to disappear, and I’ll be right.”

The show’s host, Chris Wallace, asked Trump whether dogged insistence that the virus would vanish, even while it proliferated, would discredit him. “I don’t think so, you know why?” he replied. “Because I’ve been right probably more than anybody else.”



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