Trump on Google and the Coronavirus:
Spewing Lies and Ignorance



On March 13 Trump announced that Google “is helping to develop a website, it’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a [coronavirus] test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location.” Trump said “Google has “1,700 engineers working on this right now. They’ve made tremendous progress.”

Every word of this was untrue. Trump was responding to the fully justified outrage that no national COVID-19 testing was underway by concocting and broadcasting a complete and outright lie. A day after Trump’s announcement Verily, a subsidiary of Google (not Google itself), said that it was developing an online tool to help triage individuals for COVID-19 testing—but that it was only in the early stages of development, and that the plan was to roll it out just in the San Francisco Bay Area and then expand it “over time.”

In other words, Trump had rolled multiple lies into one sentence: It wasn’t Google; it wasn’t going to be “quickly done”; and it wasn’t going to be available for everyone in the country that needed it. Verily also said it has “no timetable for a national rollout.”

And where did the claim of “1,700 engineers” come from? As the New York Times reported, “The 1,700 engineers Mr. Trump mentioned were actually just Google employees who said a day earlier that they would be happy to volunteer their time on the project if needed.” Trump shamelessly twisted people’s good intentions and desire to contribute to an effort to stop the spread of this deadly virus to serve his own hateful, lie-based fascist program.

A Fascist Epistemology: The Lies and the Damage Done

Creating the ability to test huge numbers of people for COVID-19 is one of the most important ways of determining the social impact of this virus, and the direction of its development—so as to be better able to respond to it and curtail it. Testing is vital to doctors and health care professionals working tirelessly to deal with this contagion, and of course to tens of millions of people who may be infected with it. Trump’s lies do great damage. They create uncertainty for patients and doctors, and raise hopes that a test is available when in fact for the vast majority of people it is not.

Trump’s lie about the nonexistent Google site is one of scores of lies he has told. These include: the idea that the disease is no worse than the different kinds of flu that hit each year1; his outrageous claim that the coronavirus is a hoax perpetrated by the Democratic Party and the liberal media to ruin the stock market and derail his presidency2; his racist, xenophobic claim that COVID-19 is a “foreign virus”3; his refusal to take responsibility for the cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and his disbanding of the global health security team4; his claim that new ventilators (breathing machines) are on the way5; his across-the-board attacks on science and scientists; his claim that he has “no responsibility” for any of the vast deficiencies in the response of his fascist regime to this virus.6

Epistemology refers to the theory of knowledge—how people approach reality and determine what is true. Trump rejects and denies science, i.e., studying objective reality and through that learning the underlying patterns and dynamics of that reality.

Instead, he promotes his fascist epistemology: that what serves the regime’s immediate interests is true; that Trump himself has never been wrong (when his lies are refuted, he denies he said them in the first place); and that everything negative that may arise comes from a plot by domestic or foreign “enemies.” These serve to weld together his fascist followers while it puts the lives of millions at risk.

This regime is a direct and immediate danger to humanity.


1. On February 26, Trump said, “This is a flu. This is like a flu.” Many people do die from the flu each year, many of them because of inadequate preventative and treatment measures in this country and worldwide. Trump doesn’t give a damn about them either. But the COVID-19 virus has the potential to be far more devastating. It is definitely not just like the seasonal flu. [back]

2. “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant,” Trump tweeted on March 9. Trump and his fascist cohort have spent weeks denying the reality of the threat of global epidemic posed by COVID-19, and claiming that any attempts to call attention to that was the work of people determined to undermine his authority. In reality, the U.S. has performed abysmally in identifying the virus and acting to prevent its spread, and is woefully underprepared to deal with massive outbreaks of COVID-19. [back]

3. In his televised speech on March 11, Trump said his regime is leading “the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.” Other leading fascists like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have referred to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus” or the “Chinese virus.” Their deliberately hateful and inflammatory language is unfounded and unscientific, and its purpose is to whip up hatred and fear of China, Chinese people, and Asian people generally. The World Health Organization has in fact developed a protocol for naming new diseases and viruses that emerge that don’t refer to locations—not only is this more scientifically accurate, it reduces the likelihood of stigmatizing entire countries and nationalities of people based on ignorance. [back]

4. In May 2018, Trump order his then national security adviser, John Bolton, to disband the government’s global health security team. Last week, when a reporter asked Trump why he did that, he responded, “I just think that’s a nasty question. When you say me, I didn’t do it. I mean, you say we did that. I don’t know anything about it.” Actually, just a month before that, when Trump was asked about his “enormous cuts” to the Center for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health, and the World Health Organization, he boasted “I’m a businessperson. I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them.” [back]

5. Ventilators are machines that help people in extreme respiratory distress, and are crucial to treating people with severe COVID-19 infections. Trump said on March 13 that his regime is “in the process ... of ordering a large number of respirators just in case.” That same day the Society of Critical Care Medicine released a report which concluded that within the U.S., existing ventilators, those in emergency stockpiles, and older machines in storage total about 200,000 machines. The American Hospital Association concluded that in some scenarios more than 900,000 people could require a ventilator. It would take well over a year of full-scale production, which isn’t underway, to meet that demand. There is also a shortage of trained personnel to operate and monitor the patients on ventilators. [back]

6. On March 13 a reporter asked Trump about his role in the excruciatingly low number of test kits available in the U.S. His response: “I don’t take responsibility at all.” The U.S. has a criminally small capacity to test people for COVID-19. Desperately ill people have countless horror stories of their difficulty or inability to receive a test. Evidence based summation of how widely the virus has spread—and thus of ways to act to cut off that proliferation—depends largely on massive testing. On March 14 the Los Angeles Times reported that South Korea had been testing an average of 12,000 people a day for COVID-19—“about as many as the U.S. has managed to test over the last two weeks.” [back]

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