- Some of the remarks included Trump downplaying the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Trump's comments depicted in the video were previously discovered to be misleading.
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President Donald Trump's reelection campaign issued a cease-and-desist letter to television stations that aired an alleged "patently false, misleading, and deceptive" campaign advertisement by a political action committee.
A video created by Priorities USA Action Fund (PUSA), a PAC which has supported Democratic presidential candidates, showed a fluid chart of coronavirus cases while unflattering comments previously made by Trump were played in the background.
Some of the remarks included Trump downplaying the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak.
"PUSA stitched together fragments from multiple speeches by President Trump to fraudulently and maliciously imply that President Trump called the coronavirus outbreak a 'hoax,'" the letter said, adding that Trump was "abundantly clear" in referring to the "Democrat's politicization of the coronavirus outbreak" when making the description.
"Because PUSA's ad's central point is deliberately false and misleading, your station has an obligation to cease and desist from airing it immediately to comply with FCC licensing requirements, to serve the public interest, and to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation," the letter added.
Another ad using the clip also appears to be misleading. Trump's comments about the "coronavirus" and "hoax" were made during a campaign rally in late February, according to The Washington Post , and were edited so that he appeared to be saying the words together. In the actual speech, Trump made several remarks after he mentioned the coronavirus and his reference to a hoax.
The full quote as transcribed by The Post is below:
"Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right?Coronavirus.They're politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs, you say, 'How's President Trump doing?', 'Oh, nothing, nothing.' They have no clue, they don't have any clue. They can't even count their votes in Iowa, they can't even count. No, they can't. They can't count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, 'Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.' That didn't work out too well. They couldn't do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything, they tried it over and over, they've been doing it since he got in. It's all turning, they lost. It's all turning, think of it, think of it. Andthis is their new hoax.But you know we did something that's been pretty amazing. We have 15 people in this massive country and because of the fact that we went early, we went early, we could have had a lot more than that."
While the ad appears to be misleading, Trump and his administration repeatedly downplayed the coronavirus or delivered mixed messages about the seriousness of the pandemic, prior to the White House issuing its 15-day coronavirus isolation guidelines. And despite the warnings from public health professionals, Trump has said he'd like to reopen businesses by Easter.
At least 1,050 people in the US had died from the new coronavirus as of early Thursday morning.
"The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA," Trump tweeted on February 24. "We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart."
About 69,000 cases have been reported in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and US territories. The federal government's response has also been criticized for not heeding earlier warnings from US officials and the lack of available equipment around the country for healthcare professionals.
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