Trump retweets game show host Chuck Woolery’s baseless claim that ‘everyone is lying’ about coronavirus
President Donald Trump retweeted a post by game show host Chuck Woolery that baselessly claimed “everyone is lying” about the coronavirus pandemic in a possible effort to thwart Trump’s re-election chances this fall by harming the economy.
The conservative Woolery, who hosted shows such as “Love Connection,” wrote on Sunday evening, “The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19.”
“Everyone is lying. The CDC [federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust,” Woolery wrote.
“I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it,” he added.
Woolery did not cite any evidence for his claim, or detail any purported “lies” by the targets of his tweet that the president reposted.
Soon after Trump shared the post, the president retweeted another comment by Woolery about the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
“There is so much evidence, yes scientific evidence, that schools should open this fall. It’s worldwide and it’s overwhelming. BUT NO,” wrote Woolery, whose game show resume also includes acting as the first host of “Wheel of Fortune,” and helming “Scrabble,” “Greed” and “Lingo.”
Woolery’s comments were harshly criticized by a number of people, including by actress Rosanna Arquette, who in a Twitter reply wrote: “The most outrageous lies are being spoon fed to American citizens by the racist barbaric cruel trump administration and ignorant morons like yourself because of gross negligence Americans are dying and are loathed around the world because of impeached individual criminal.”
The journalist Kurt Eichenwald wrote: “Let’s see. A game show host, a politician, someone on social media, a guy on Fox News, or a person trained in epidemiology and infectious disease. Huh. You’re right. Hard to know which one of those to trust about issues involving epidemiology and infectious disease.”
The posts came as the United States hit new records for coronavirus cases as the virus spread in the South and West, with new cases of Covid-19 topping or approaching 60,000 additional diagnoses each day for the past week.
On Sunday, Florida reported 15,299 new cases of Covid-19 in a single day, shattering New York state’s individual state daily record by more than 3,000 cases.
Trump’s implicit endorsement of Woolery’s comments also came as officials in the Trump administration sought to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top federal infectious disease official. He has continued to issue stark warnings about the risks of reopening the country amid the pandemic.
On Monday, top executives at the Association of American Medical Colleges issued a statement saying the group “is extremely concerned and alarmed by efforts to discredit Anthony Fauci.”
“Dr. Fauci has been an independent and outspoken voice for truth as the nation has struggled to fight the coronavirus pandemic,” wrote AAMC President Dr. David Skorton, and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Ross McKinney.
“As we are seeing from the surge in COVID-19 cases in areas that have reopened, science and facts — not wishful thinking or politics — must guide America’s response to this pandemic,” Skorton and McKinney said.
Earlier Sunday, U.S. Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos argued for the Trump administration‘s push to reopen schools in the fall even as the pandemic continues to rage.
“School leaders across the country need to be making plans” to have students in the classroom, DeVos said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“There will be exceptions to the rule, but the rule should be kids go back to school this fall,” she said.
On Monday, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, warned against making the decision to reopen schools “yet another political football in this game.”
“If we suppress the virus in our society, in our communities, then our schools can open safely,” Ryan said.
Trump on Sunday night also retweeted a third Twitter post from Woolery, who was replying to a Trump supporter who criticized Democrats.
Sen. Marco Rubio says the costs of not reopening schools in Florida are ‘extraordinary’ despite surge in coronavirus cases
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in Russell Building on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call | Getty Images
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio suggested Monday that some high-risk Florida counties take “additional measures” to reopen schools in the fall as the state gets battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think we need to be flexible about all sorts of things,” Rubio said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” while stressing that “the costs of not reopening our schools are extraordinary.”
The senator’s remarks came a day after Florida reported the largest single-day increase in positive Covid-19 cases of any state since the crisis began. More than 15,000 cases were confirmed Sunday in the Sunshine state.
Less than a week earlier, Florida’s education commissioner ordered schools throughout the state to reopen in August for in-person instruction at least five days a week.
In a tweet later Monday morning, Rubio reiterated that despite the risks, “at some point this fall kids need to be back in school.”
Despite the record-breaking number of infections, Rubio said most Florida counties will be able to safely reopen their schools on schedule.
“Florida’s an enormous state. We have 67 counties. I spent over a week now in northwest Florida where the vast majority of the counties could reopen. They’re not facing this,” Rubio said. “So I think in many of our counties the answer to that question is yes, we could.”
In the counties being hardest hit by the surge in cases, Rubio said he believed extra precautions should be taken – but he did not suggest that those areas should wait longer to reopen their schools.
For those areas, “I think we are going to have to take additional measures to be able reopen schools and I think we need to be flexible about all sorts of things,” Rubio said.
“It isn’t going to be school the way we’re used to in normal times, but at some point you have to make those decisions on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis: What are the costs of not reopening schools, what are the benefits with regard to the virus for not opening schools,” Rubio said. “And I think in the short and long term the costs are extraordinary.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, agreed.
“I have no doubt we can do this safely,” DeSantis said at a press conference Thursday, CNN reported. “We spent months saying that there were certain things that were essential — that included fast food restaurants, it included Walmart, it included Home Depot. If fast food and Walmart and Home Depot — and look, I do all that, so I’m not looking down on it — but if all that is essential, then educating our kids is absolutely essential.”
President Donald Trump has pushed state leaders to reopen their schools in the fall, threatening to cut off funding if in-person classes don’t resume. Vice President Mike Pence said that the Trump administration is considering ways to use a potential additional round of federal coronavirus relief to provide “incentives” for schools to reopen their doors.
Teachers’ advocates have pushed back on the pressure to get kids back in the classroom, warning that reopening prematurely could pose risks.
The nation’s second largest teachers union last week announced it would launch a $1 million ad campaign aimed at lobbying Congress to approve additional funds to help schools prepare for reopening.
Rubio told “Squawk Box” that lawmakers in Washington, D.C., need to do more to combat the spread of the virus and blunt the economic and societal impacts of the pandemic.
“I don’t have any doubt we do, particularly for smaller firms,” he said. “I think we’re 90% of the way there in terms of putting together some ideas about how to help truly small business under 300 employees or less, microtargeted not just for payroll but for the costs of paying for some of these adaptive technologies that they have to come up with to comply with local regulations.”
He added: “We’re going to have to be nimble and flexible here, because as this virus’ impact on our economy evolves our policies will to have to evolve to keep pace.”
— CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report.