March 12, 2020

Trump's Coronavirus Speech And What He Got Wrong (UPDATE)

First the speech:

And now a survey on what he got wrong.

There were also surprising — and significant — inaccuracies in the speech, which administration officials and the president had to clarify almost immediately afterward. Mr. Trump said in his address he would suspend “all travel from Europe to the United States,” but the ban in fact applies to foreign citizens. And while he said the measure would “apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo” across the ocean, the order in fact affects only people.
From the speech:
At the very start of the outbreak, we instituted sweeping travel restrictions on China and put in place the first federally mandated quarantine in over 50 years.
And from the Times:
But officials have since conceded that those efforts at containment have not prevented the virus from spreading within communities around the United States.
From ABCNews (about that travel ban):
First, the restriction does not apply to legal permanent residents of the U.S. or their families when they are returning from Europe. It also does not apply to U.S. citizens coming back from Europe, as Trump acknowledged.

As well, it apparently does not apply to Ireland, Romania, Croatia, Ukraine and several other European states. The proclamation released by the White House says the travel ban will affect the 26 European states in what's known as the Schengen Area. That's most of Europe, but not “all.”
Here's the proclamation mentioned above. It defines the Schengen Area as:
For purposes of this proclamation, the Schengen Area comprises 26 European states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
And here's what the proclamation has to say about the travel ban:
Given the importance of protecting persons within the United States from the threat of this harmful communicable disease, I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The free flow of commerce between the United States and the Schengen Area countries remains an economic priority for the United States, and I remain committed to facilitating trade between our nations.
Remember, Trump said:
To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.
There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval.
Wrong. The restriction on people only applies to "all aliens...physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period" (and so there's no need to exempt Americans) and it apparently does NOT apply to cargo.

In fact, ABC reported:
The White House quickly clarified that the restriction on movement from Europe "only applies to human beings, not goods and cargo.”
So how bad was this speech?

Rod Deher of The American Conservative:
I don’t suppose I’m opposed to the European travel restrictions, but it’s much too late for that to do measurable good. They would have made a lot more sense two weeks ago. And exempting Britain from this ban is senseless. It sounded like he’s trying to frame the virus as an external threat. But it’s already here, and it’s rapidly spreading. This seemed more rhetorical than anything else — Trump trying to reinforce his image as a nationalist looking out for American interests
He said nothing about the critical-care crisis facing hospitals. I have found that this is a point that is not widely understood by the general public: that even if only a relatively small number of people are ultimately going to die from this virus, it stands to overwhelm our hospitals. This is why it is so very important for everybody to practice social distancing and the rest: to slow the rate of infection, and give our health care system the chance to cope. It is beyond comprehension why he didn’t make this clear to listeners tonight. I’ve had a number of conversations these past few days with people who aren’t following the story closely, and they are entirely unaware of this fact. The president blew an opportunity to explain that to the nation
Rick Wilson:
Erick Erickson:
Yea, that bad.

It's been pointed out that the speech was something UNDER 10 minutes long.

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