A new advertisement from a pro-Joe Biden super PAC makes two debunked claims about President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Donald Trump didn't create the coronavirus. But he is the one who called hoax [sic]. Who eliminated the pandemic response team. And who let the virus spread unchecked across America," a voiceover in Unite the Country's ad states. "Crisis comes to every president. This one failed."
The claims that Trump called the virus a "hoax" and "eliminated the pandemic response team" have both been fact-checked and found to be misleading, at best.
A Washington Post fact-check gave a Biden advertisement that was edited to show Trump calling the virus a "hoax" four Pinocchios, the fact-check's worst rating.
The advertisement edited a speech from a Trump rally on Feb. 28 to show him referring to the coronavirus as "their new hoax." Trump was referring, however, to Democratic attacks against his administration's response to the virus, not the virus itself.
"This is a clear example of deceptive editing," the fact-check states. "It edits out large portions of a video but still presents it as a complete narrative."
Trump clarified on Feb. 29 that he was specifically referring to the Democrats' attempts to blame him for the virus.
"‘Hoax' referring to the action that [Democrats] take to try and pin this on somebody, because we’ve done such a good job. The hoax is on them," he said.
Unite the Country's claim that Trump "eliminated the pandemic response team" is also misleading. Another Washington Post fact-check concluded former national security adviser John Bolton eliminated the office in 2018 but reorganized its responsibilities into another existing office.
Tim Morrison, a former administration official, defended the reorganization in an op-ed, writing that while it is true the administration reduced staff, "the current staffing level is fully up to the job."
Other Trump administration officials have also defended the reorganization.
"The Global Health Security directorate was absorbed into another directorate where similar responsibilities still exist at the National Security Council but under different titles," one official told Time.
Unite the Country claimed Wednesday that Fox News declined to run the advertisement.