CNN's Don Lemon criticized President Donald Trump for lying about his response to the spread of COVID-19, telling his audience that the president was "gaslighting" Americans by completely changing his stance on the spread of the virus.
President Trump said during a press conference on Tuesday that he always knew the virus was a threat and "felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” However, since the virus emerged in January, Trump repeatedly downplayed its significance and criticized the media for covering it before his change in tone, and Lemon called the president out for it.
Nearly 8,000 Americans now have coronavirus, which is now in all 50 states and is responsible for over 100 deaths according to The New York Times.
"The president of the United States is gaslighting you and you deserve to know. … The president of the United States has been making demonstrably false statements from the beginning of all of this. At a time when real leadership could have saved lives, he caused a lot of people to think that this virus wasn't a serious threat. We now know it is," Lemon said.
"He suggested that it was less dangerous than the flu. Not true. He claimed it was a hoax by Democrats. Not true. He claimed it was well under control. Not true. He made fun of it at rallies," Lemon continued, adding that President Trump's flippant stance on the virus led other Republican congressmen to also take the virus lightly and endanger millions.
Lemon went through many of Trump's public statements since January, highlighting the many times the president either denied that the coronavirus was serious or downplayed how it would affect Americans.
So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020
During a press conference last week, Trump refused to take responsibility for his administration's response to the virus.
"The coronavirus is no hoax. Ask any of the thousands and thousands of people who are sick right now. The gaslighting continues. They downplayed it for a long time. Some in conservative media still are. Let's not forget the president's visit to the CDC. Falsely claiming that anybody who wanted a test could get one," Lemon continued.
"Falsely claiming all the tests were perfect and comparing them to his so-called perfect Ukraine phone call, which was not perfect. It was only a week and a half ago that he said he wasn't concerned about it at all," he added.
Lemon noted that he couldn't even get on the air and discuss how many people had contracted the coronavirus because the numbers continued to skyrocket on a minute-to-minute basis.
The CNN anchor also spoke about a few tweets from former President Barack Obama that spotlighted one doctor and the measures he had to take to protect his family from the virus.
We owe a profound debt of gratitude to all our health professionals and everybody who’ll be on the front lines of this pandemic for a long while. They’re giving everything. May we all model our own behavior on their selflessness and sacrifice as we help each other through this. https://t.co/F3tsJTqd4c
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 17, 2020
"Behind every one of those numbers is a real person. One of our friends, one of our family. A loved one, a fellow American. You should be upset, you should be angry, you should be emotional about it. People are dying. No doublespeak. No hoax. These are not numbers. These are people," Lemon said.
"All of that caused a lot of people to think it wasn't a serious threat. Caused us to lose a lot of precious time while our government wasn't taking the threat seriously. The president is the one who has been politicizing this. Don't get it twisted."