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.