Politics

Trump retweets game show host Chuck Woolery's baseless claim that 'everyone is lying' about coronavirus

Key Points
  • President Trump retweeted a post by game show host Chuck Woolery that "everyone is lying" about the coronavirus pandemic in a possible effort to thwart Trump's reelection.
  • Woolery wrote that the purported lies about Covid-19 are being told by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust."
  • Trump's retweets came as the United States hit records of new coronavirus cases due to a surge of infections in the South and West, and as Florida set a new one-day record of cases by an individual state.
Chuck Woolery on March 19, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.
Jason LaVeris | FilmMagic | Getty Images

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 reelection by harming the economy.

The conservative Woolery, who hosted shows such as "Love Connection," wrote in his Twitter post 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 hosting "Scrabble," "Greed" and "Lingo."

Woolery's comments and Trump's rebroadcast of them were harshly criticized by a number of people, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who sought the Democratic presidential nomination this year.

"The fact that our 'very stable genius' president prefers to be briefed about the pandemic by a game show host on Twitter instead of scientists and doctors tells you everything you need to know about how clueless and pathetic the Trump administration is," Sanders wrote. "Trump must be defeated."

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."

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, when asked about Trump's retweet, told reporters, that while Trumo has confidence in the CDC, "the president expressed his displeasure with the CDC, some rogue individuals leaking guidelines prematurely."

"He believes that misleads the American public when they're planning materials that are not in their fullest and best forms," McEnany said. "But the notion of the tweet was to point out the fact that when we use science, we have to use it in a way that's not political."

Trump's retweets 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.

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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.