Trump has a problem as coronavirus threatens U.S.: Credibility

At times, he has exaggerated threats, like talking up the caravans of migrants he claimed were storming the southern border before the 2018 midterm elections. Other times, he has minimized potentially serious dangers that could be politically damaging, like the renewed nuclear threat posed by North Korea after the failure of his talks with its leader, Kim Jong Un, and now, the global spread of the coronavirus, which he has persistently tried to play down.

In his response to the coronavirus, Trump has made inaccurate or questionable claims, twice misstating the number of Americans infected with the virus and insisting that it “miraculously goes away” when warmer spring weather arrives — a prediction that health experts have said is premature.

He based that prediction on a comment made at one of his briefings, when an expert noted that temperatures can affect the spread of viruses. Trump has used that data point as evidence in saying in public and in private to guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, that the global outbreak will be behind him by April.

The president, as he often does, has also focused on coverage of his response, complaining that he is being treated unfairly and blaming the news media.