Donald Trump and Tom Hanks React to Coronavirus Threat

Donald Trump and Tom Hanks React to Coronavirus Threat

© David Burton 2020

Trump, Hanks and Coronavirus

     Early in March 2020 we had the following reactions to the escalating Coronavirus threat.

     “U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was not concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus after dining last week with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose press aide tested positive.
     “Trump had dinner at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, last Saturday night. Bolsonaro's communications aide Fabio Wajngarten, who also met Trump at Mar-a-Lago, tested positive for the virus, his communications office said in a statement.
     " ‘ Let's put it this way: I'm not concerned,’ [Emphasis mine] Trump told reporters . . .” (Ref. 1)

     “Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for the coronavirus, Hanks revealed Wednesday.
      - - -
     “Hanks announced the couple’s diagnosis on social media accounts, including Instagram and Twitter.
     “ ‘Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia,’ he wrote. ‘We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.’
     “ ‘Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. [Emphasis mine] Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?’ “ (Ref. 2)

     "I'm not concerned." Let’s see if I’ve got this right. The President goes on television to tell us how serious is the Coronavirus threat, orders a suspension of all travel from Europe to the U.S. by non-citizens and tells us to take extraordinary precautions to prevent contracting the disease. Then he shrugs off his and his wife’s exposure to the disease with a dismissive “I'm not concerned". No testing for Coronavirus and no self-quarantine to protect others!

     On the other hand, we have Tom Hanks and his wife who came down with virus symptoms. They get tested for the Coronavirus and went into quarantine when the test proves positive. Congratulations to the Hanks for taking responsible and immediate action in the face of the declared pandemic!

     Earlier, President Trump had downplayed the significance of the Coronavirus threat. In the first week in March, Trump said "he didn't see any reason to be tested for the coronavirus after three people he had contact with went into self-quarantine after being exposed to an individual with the disease.
     “ 'I don't think it is a big deal. [Emphasis mine] I don't feel any reason, I feel extremely good. I feel very good,' he told reporters on Capitol Hill after he met with Senate Republicans to discuss a package to combat the economic effects of the disease.
      - - -
     “{Later, at} a press conference in the White House briefing oom . . . the president refused to answer repeated questions on whether he had been tested.
     “{The} White House press secretary . . . announced later that night he had not.
      - - -
     “However, that same evening Trump's new acting chief of staff . . . announced he was exposed to the virus and was under self-quarantine.
      - - -
     “Trump has been exposed to at least three people who have gone into self-quarantine as a precaution.
      - - -
     “{Vice President Mike Pence} and President Trump both attended the Conservative Political Action Conference at the end of last month, where an attendee tested positive for the disease.” (Ref. 3)

     Why does a film star take the Coronavirus seriously while the President of the United States doesn’t “think it is a big deal”? “At the Pentagon, top military brass have begun ‘social distancing’ to avoid spreading disease. At the Capitol, legislators have been encouraged to forgo hand shakes and flash the ‘Star Trek’ Vulcan greeting instead.
     “But at the White House, President Donald Trump is flouting his own government’s advice on how to stay safe. He continues to shake hands with supporters and visitors, hold large events and minimize the threat posed by a coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 115,000 people and killed over 4,000 worldwide {as of early March 2020}.
     “Public health officials said Trump was sending the wrong message with his behavior and potentially putting the public at risk by sowing confusion and undermining efforts to keep people safe, especially if the situation grows worse. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “Trump has repeatedly played down the risk, both to the public and himself, even as he claims that his administration is ‘taking this unbelievably seriously.’
      - - -
     “. . . Trump has already had personal contact with several individuals known to have been exposed to the virus. They include Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who traveled aboard Air Force One with the president . . . and found out midflight that he was among a handful of GOP lawmakers who were exposed to a person who tested positive for the virus after last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference.
     “Gaetz voluntarily quarantined himself, as have several other legislators who had contact with the infected person at CPAC, including Trump’s incoming chief of staff. {But not Donald Trump!}
      - - -
     “. . . At the Pentagon, Defense Department officials have been sitting at least six feet apart, in line with health guidance. And on Tuesday, reporters’ chairs were spread out for a news briefing. On Capitol Hill, Democratic lawmakers were barred from helping themselves to a breakfast buffet or touching serving utensils, and told to avoid kissing, hugging and shaking hands.
     “But not Trump [Emphasis mine] — a pattern that . . . a professor of health policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, said appeared motivated by Trump’s desire to protect the economy in an election year.
     “ ‘Right or wrong, the president’s decided he wants to minimize the economic impact of this pandemic. … He’s trying to do everything he can to protect the economy by saying, ‘It will be over,’ ‘It’s not that bad,’ ‘Feel free to go places,’ {he} said. While much uncertainly remains, ‘if it turns out to be more serious, the president’s contributing to people not protecting themselves.’ [Emphasis Mine]
     “ ‘The president should be keeping us safe. He shouldn’t be amplifying the risk,' added {a member} of Georgetown University.
     “ ‘The message should be: Let’s have social distancing, let’s avoid the usual cultural symbols of shaking hands, let’s separate from one another and avoid either contracting or transmitting a very dangerous infection,’ {he} said. ‘And it’s baffling to me that the president, who should be the model of good behavior, is modeling exactly the opposite.' ” [Emphasis Mine] (Ref. 4)

     Finally, after being repeatedly shamed for not being tested for the Coronavirus more than a week after being exposed to several persons who had tested positive to the virus, Trump reluctantly got tested with negative results. After weeks of saying he didn’t need to be tested, he gave in, saying, “I decided I should, based on the press conference yesterday.” (Ref. 5)

     To further erode confidence in what the President is saying, we take note of Trump’s misstatement, lack of understanding, or simply his penchant for ignoring facts. On 19 March 2020, “Internet search giant Google has denied a claim by US president Donald Trump that the company is working with the government to develop a website that will allow the public to find out if they require a test for the coronavirus (Covid-19). [Emphasis mine]
     “Trump made the claim during a press conference about the government’s emergency declaration on the coronavirus pandemic.
     “ ‘Google is going to develop a website — it’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past — to determine if a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location,’ Trump said.
     “ ‘We have many, many locations behind us, by the way. We cover this country and large parts of the world, by the way. We’re not gonna be talking about the world right now, but we cover very, very strongly our country. Stores in virtually every location. Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They have made tremendous progress.’
     “According to technology website The Verge, most of that statement is untrue, and the rest is only partly true. [Emphasis mine]
     “Google’s parent company, after a recent restructuring, is Alphabet. Another small division is Verily Life sciences, which is indeed developing a website, but not for the purposes stated.
     “ ‘We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time,’ the company said in a statement sent to The Verge.
     “The triage website, the company explained, would only be accessible to health care professionals, and only in a limited area around San Francisco. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “At the {President’s} press conference . . . the administration’s coronavirus coordinator showed a flow-chart purporting to explain how the website would function. . .
     “However neither Google, Verily or Alphabet were invited to take part in the press conference, although other companies were present.” (Ref. 5) Maybe they weren’t invited because facts could only confuse President Trump.

     Ever since the world became aware of the Coronavirus threat, President Trump has waffled on the subject, reversed himself, issued conflicting statements and spouted incorrect information. Even at the end of March 2020, 3 months into the epidemic, President Trump still continues to confuse the American public.

     “For months, the president has downplayed the severity of the pandemic, overstated the impact of his policies and potential treatments, blamed others and tried to rewrite the history of his response.
     “President Donald Trump has had distant relationship with facts in his responses about the coronavirus pandemic.
     “Hours after the United States became the nation with the largest number of reported coronavirus cases on Thursday {26 March 2020}, President Trump appeared on Fox News and expressed doubt about shortages of medical supplies, boasted about the country’s testing capacity, and criticized his predecessor’s response to an earlier outbreak of a different disease.
     “{As recently as the last week of March, we hear:} ‘I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,’ he said, alluding to a request by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York. The president made the statement in spite of government reports predicting shortages in a severe pandemic — and he reversed course on Friday morning, calling for urgent steps to produce more ventilators.
      - - -
     “{With respect to his repeated misstatements:} These falsehoods, like dozens of others from the president since January, demonstrate some core tenets of how Mr. Trump has tried to spin his response to the coronavirus epidemic to his advantage. . .
     “When the first case of the virus was reported in the United States in January, Mr. Trump dismissed it as one person coming in from China. He said the situation was under control 'and it’s going to be just fine’ — despite a top official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention telling the public to ‘expect more cases.’
      - - -
     “The president has also dispensed a steady stream of optimism when discussing countermeasures against the virus.
     “From later February to early March, Mr. Trump repeatedly promised that a vaccine would be available ‘relatively soon’ despite being told by public health officials and pharmaceutical executives that the process would take 12 to 18 months. Later, he promoted treatments that were still unproven against the virus, and suggested that they were ‘approved’ and available though they were not.” (Ref. 7) Facts and Donald Trump continue to be total strangers to each other.


  1. Trump says not concerned he was exposed to coronavirus by Brazilian official, Steve Holland, Yahoo!News,
    12 March 2020.
  2. Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson test positive for coronavirus, Sarah Whitten, CNBC, 12 March 2020.
  3. I've got NO reason to be tested and 'I feel extremely good' says Donald Trump after his chief of staff goes into quarantine after possible exposure at CPAC, Emily Goodin, Daily Mail, 10 March 2020.
  4. As Americans take virus precautions, Trump flouts advice, Jill Colvin, The Seattle Times, 10 March 2020.
  5. Trump says he was tested for coronavirus, is awaiting results, David Boyer, The Washington Times,
    14 March 2020.
  6. Coronavirus: Google denies developing self-diagnosis website, Alan Hope, The Brussels Times, 14 March 2020.
  7. Analyzing the Patterns in Trump’s Falsehoods About Coronavirus, Linda Qiu, The New York Times,
    27 March 2020.

  9 April 2020 {Article 408; Suggestions?_40}    
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