Trump Timeline

KFF has a great and complete summary with a detailed timeline of Trump’s response and misrepresentations regarding COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, and even as cases and deaths increased, the President has downplayed the threat of COVID-19.


  • January 22, in response to a question about whether he was worried given the first report of known U.S. case, he said, “No. Not at all. And– we’re– we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s—going to be just fine.”
  • February 2, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
  • February 25, “We have very few people with it.”
  • April 28, “But I think what happens is it’s going to go away. This is going to go away.”
  • June 17, he said it was “fading away.”
  • July 19, “I think we’re gonna be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear. I hope.”
  • August 5, “It’s going away. Like things go away. No question in my mind that it will go away, hopefully sooner rather than later.”


The President has given conflicting messages and conveyed misinformation about coronavirus and has sometimes been at odds with public health officials (including those in the government) and scientific evidence. For example:

  • Trump touted the use of the drug, hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness, warnings of potential harms, and even after federal COVID-19 treatment guidelines recommended against its use.
  • He suggested that applying ultraviolet light to or inside the body, or injecting disinfectant, would combat coronavirus.
  • Despite the fact that this claim is not backed up by the data, he has attributed rising COVID-19 cases to increased testing, .
  • He has questioned the use of face masks, and given inconsistent messages about their use, even after CDC guidelines recommended them. It was only in July that he began to wear one in public at times and talk about their importance.
  • In pushing schools to re-open in person, he has said that children are “almost immune” and “don’t have a problem,” despite evidence to the contrary.
  • He called the FDA’s issuance of an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma, a potential treatment for COVID-19, “historic” and a “breakthrough,” even though the FDA itself said it “may be effective” and the National Institutes of Health COVID-19 treatment guidelines panel concluded that there were insufficient data to recommend either for or against it and at this time, it “should not be considered standard of care for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.”