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Sat May 30, 2020, 03:34 PM

From AIDS to Covid-19: Trump's decades of spreading dangerous misinformation about disease outbreaks

From AIDS to Covid-19: Trump's decades of spreading dangerous misinformation about disease outbreaks
By Andrew Kaczynski, Nathan McDermott and Em Steck, CNN
Updated 11:02 AM ET, Sat May 30, 2020

(CNN)Donald Trump has spent decades spreading and sowing dangerous misinformation about disease outbreaks -- from falsely suggesting AIDS can be transmitted through kissing to warning Americans not to get vaccinated and falsely suggesting vaccines can cause autism.

Long before advising Americans to ingest disinfectant to treat the coronavirus as President, Trump demonstrated a pattern of spreading unsupported medical claims that preyed on the public's fears of getting sick, a CNN KFile review of the President's statements on past epidemics and pandemics found.

In 1993, Trump promoted the widely-debunked claims that AIDS could be spread by kissing and that AIDS patients intentionally spread the virus. As the swine flu pandemic began in 2009, he warned Americans against taking flu vaccines. When the Ebola virus outbreak devastated West Africa in 2014, he disputed guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how it spreads.

Today as the nation's chief executive overseeing his own public health crisis, Trump continues to comprehensively misinform the public about the coronavirus, offering remarks riddled with false, misleading or scientifically questionable claims.

While Trump, the White House and his supporters often defend his outlandish coronavirus remarks by claiming the President is acting as the nation's cheerleader, his optimism does not square with medical science or his long history of sowing disinformation.



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