He has been dishonest about testing. He has been dishonest about his travel restrictions. He has been dishonest about the supplies his predecessor left him, about what his opponents have said about the pandemic, even about what he has said himself.
Over the 14 weeks from the Monday his coronavirus task force started meeting, January 27, through Sunday, May 3, he made 654 false claims -- 215 of them specifically about the pandemic. (Lots of the others were about related subjects, like the economy and China.)
We usually publish a breakdown of Trump's dishonesty over a seven-day period. In this article, we'll delve into his dishonesty over the critical 98-day period when the US went from no confirmed coronavirus deaths to more than 67,000 -- on its way past 100,000.
Trump's most frequent false claims
When he was criticized for being too slow to act against the virus, Trump had a go-to defense. Almost invariably, he cited the fact that he imposed travel restrictions on China in early February.
Except he kept calling the restrictions a "ban" on travel from China. They aren't a ban: they contain exemptions for US citizens, permanent residents, many of the family members of both groups, and some other types of people. Trump inaccurately described the restrictions on 41 separate occasions during this 14-week period, more than he made any other individual false claim.
Trump also exaggerated 17 times about the scope of his March travel restrictions on many (but not all) European countries. And he 17 times uttered his debunked assertion that China, not Americans, is paying the cost of his tariffs on imported Chinese products.
A variety of pandemic nonsense
Undeterred by the pandemic, Trump kept using a bunch of his old favorite false claims. (No, he is not the one who got the Obama-era Veterans Choice program passed; no, he has not always protected patients with pre-existing conditions.) But he also created entire new categories of pandemic-specific dishonesty.
Highly dishonest briefings
In theory, the daily White House coronavirus briefings gave the President a chance to inform Americans about the crisis.
We counted 23 briefings in which the President made five or more false claims.
Trump's three most dishonest events during this 14-week period all came before he stopped traveling because of the pandemic: 21 at a January rally in Des Moines, 19 at a February rally in Las Vegas, 18 at a March Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
A slight slowdown
Trump averaged about 8.5 false claims per day from July 8, 2019, when we started counting at CNN, through January 26, 2020. During this 14-week pandemic period starting on January 27, it was about 6.7 false claims per day.
So that's a decline. But 6.7 false claims is a lot, especially in a crisis. Let's not judge Trump only against his own astonishingly high (or low) bar.