He went out of his way to say the novel coronavirus originated in China and that it was “foreign” (xenophobic much?), and he looked like Mayor Quimby debating Sideshow Bob — but that wasn’t even the worst of it.
During last night’s Oval Office address, Donald Trump — despite reading from a prepared statement — flubbed a few key elements of his own administration’s coronavirus response.
The president said, for example, “To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.” That's not necessarily wise — even Trump's own former homeland security advisor has said this won't make much of a difference — and given the wide number of exceptions, what the Republican said wasn't even an accurate description of the policy.
He added that prohibitions will apply to “tremendous amount of trade and cargo,” but that wasn't true, either, and White House officials “scrambled” last night “to fix his apparent misstatement.”
Trump went on to tell the public, “Earlier this week, I met with the leaders of health insurance industry who have agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and to prevent surprise medical billing.” A spokesperson for America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the leading trade association for the nation's private health insurers, soon after clarified to a Politico reporter that the president didn't get this right, either: insurers waived co-pays for coronavirus testing, but “not for treatment.”