The coronavirus pandemic has become a partisan issue as President Trump and other Republican leadership have urged easing restrictions in order to boost the sagging U.S. economy. The president's family has joined in on the effort, alleging that the pandemic is a hoax to limit Trump's chances for re-election. Over the weekend, the president's middle son Eric Trump said the coronavirus will "magically" disappear after Election Day.
On Saturday, Eric Trump, who is the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, spoke with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. During his interview, Eric Trump accused Democrats of "trying to milk [the coronavirus outbreak] for everything they can and it's sad."
"After Nov. 3, coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen. [Democrats] are trying to deprive [Trump] of his greatest asset," Eric Trump said, implying that Democrats made up the global outbreak in order to prevent Trump from holding campaign rallies.
"Joe Biden can't get 10 people in a room," Eric Trump continued, referring to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. "My father is getting 50,000 in a room. And they want to do everything they can to stop it."
There are a number of glaring inaccuracies here, of course. To start, Eric Trump's claims that the coronavirus will disappear in November contradict public health experts' warnings that there will likely be a second wave of the pandemic come fall. Earlier this month, CNN reported that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, sees it as "inevitable," saying during a webinar, "I'm almost certain it will come back because the virus is so transmissible and it's globally spread."
In addition, while Eric Trump seems to be taking his father at his word, Trump regularly inflates his campaign events' attendance numbers. In February, Trump claimed that there were 50,000 people at a New Hampshire rally when the venue's maximum capacity is under 12,000. Trump's obsession with crowd sizes made for an infamously inauspicious start to his presidency, too, as he made then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tell reporters after his inauguration that Trump drew "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period." Vox reported that Trump's inaugural event crowd was about a third of the size of former President Barack Obama's.
Eric Trump making his dismissive comments about the pandemic on Fox News is no surprise. The conservative network has downplayed the coronavirus and reduced its coverage of the pandemic to focus instead on anti-lockdown protests and Trump's false claims, Business Insider reported.
But Eric Trump isn't alone in claiming Democrats somehow engineered a global health crisis simply to thwart Trump. In February, his older brother Donald Trump Jr. claimed that Democrats were hoping for coronavirus to reach the United States and "kill millions of people so that they could end Donald Trump's streak of winning."
While Trump's sons falsely twist the pandemic into some kind of partisan hoax, the coronavirus death toll is predicted to pass 100,000 by June 1. And as the pandemic continues, low-income Americans and communities of color, including Native Americans, are feeling some of the harshest effects — a trend of the Trump presidency.