Trump and Stephen Miller edited coronavirus speech to delete 'prayers and love' to victims from President and First Lady

Trump and Stephen Miller edited coronavirus speech to delete 'prayers and love' to victims from President and First Lady
Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

President Donald Trump’s Wednesday night Oval Office primetime address was one he and his close advisors knew would make or break his presidency, both for its impact on the American people during the nationwide coronavirus public health crisis and for its impact on the stock markets.


Bloomberg News reports what the scene inside the White House was like that night.

His aides now see this moment as the most crucial of Trump’s presidency, the time when voters will decide whether he deserves re-election. “We’re going to win or lose right here,” one said. Another said that if the stock market is lower than when Trump took office, it would shatter his claim to being the one person who can keep the economy on track.

The speech, which Trump had promised he would deliver Tuesday, was not only a day late, but “hastily drafted.”

And it failed, and failed miserably.

It included a ban on incoming travel from Europe, which experts say at this point is too little, too late, and one even calls “remarkably pointless.” It also included some “modest and vague” economic measures: passing mentions of paid family leave and small business loans.

After numerous meetings with top advisors, who had been debating what Trump should do all day, it turns out this critical speech “had undergone last-minute edits from the president and one of his senior advisers, Stephen Miller, after other aides had left the room,” Bloomberg News notes.

“Among the changes they made: deleting a sentence where Trump said he and Melania were sending their prayers and love to people suffering from the illness.”

If that weren’t bad enough – showing a modicum of caring and compassion during a time of crisis is what Americans need right now – the speech “contained two significant factual errors and Trump himself inadvertently added another by mixing up his words.”

As many learned, within minutes of Trump delivering the falsehoods on national television, his ban on incoming European travel looks much different from his original statement. But his erroneous remarks panicked many Americans, including reportedly one American who bought a $20,000 ticket to return to the U.S. before the ban would go into effect.

Among the other errors Trump told during his primetime Oval Office address were that he was stopping all cargo from Europe from entering America, and even the time the ban would begin he miscommunicated. He also falsely claimed the nation’s health insurance companies had agreed to pay for all coronavirus testing and treatment, an error they quickly rushed to announce they had not.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.