Dem Chief of Staff Lies About Trump Coronavirus Comment, Then Tweets Video Proving He Lied


Today’s word of the day is:

Aptronym (noun): a person’s name that is regarded as amusingly appropriate to their occupation.

Matt Rogers, chief of staff for Democratic Virginia state Sen. Dave Marsden, doesn’t seem like he would normally fall into this category.

Then you consider his Twitter handle, @politidope. It’s actually the name of his political consulting service, but it’s certainly a decent digital aptronym after the events of Wednesday night.

That’s when President Trump gave a phone interview to Fox News’ Sean Hannity regarding coronavirus which went (sorry, but I have to say it) viral because of the spectacularly (and deliberately) wrong conclusions people reached regarding what he said.

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This wasn’t indistinguishable from what happened last Friday when the president gave a speech in which he implied the left’s scare tactics involving the disease and the Trump administration’s putative failure to contain it “is their new hoax.”

Politico and NBC News — as well as countless other social media users and/or responsible adults that ought to have known better — attempted to pass this off as Trump calling coronavirus a hoax, even though what the president said was clear in context.

What he said Wednesday wasn’t much different. Speaking to Hannity about the severity of coronavirus, he remarked that many who had it had such mild cases they went about their daily lives as if they had some low-level illness, never thinking it was coronavirus.

Do you think Donald Trump told people with coronavirus to go to work?

“They’ll get better very rapidly, they don’t even see a doctor, they don’t even call a doctor,” Trump told Hannity. “So if, you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work, some of them go to work, but they get better.”

Parts of this interview got tweeted got very widely, including by our friend @politidope. I’d venture to say he took something different away from this snippet than you did:

In no way was this the president telling you to go into work with coronavirus. This was someone allowing themselves to be deliberately confused. There were a few people who allowed themselves this intellectual luxury, as well:

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Hays’ retweet was retweeted a further 10,000 times, including by one of those innumerable, insufferable doctors who litter social media, offering hot takes on the president that no one would bother looking at twice if the user didn’t have a Dr. before or an MD after their name:

He didn’t say that. You shouldn’t go to work with coronavirus. Spreading lies about what the president said to people who will believe them because you’re a doctor who agrees with them is much closer to stupid than it is to responsible citizenship.

Dr. Eugene Gu, another medico who’s used the Trump administration as a self-promotion vehicle to great effect, also responded to Rogers’ video.

Perhaps he was too busy to watch the 30-second clip. Perhaps he thought you would be. Whatever the case, this is an “extremely irresponsible and dangerous” misinterpretation of what Trump said in the interview cloaking itself as a medical opinion.

Surprisingly, this kind of misinterpretation wasn’t just limited to politidopes and their allies. The Syracuse Post-Standard even ran this headline: “President Trump makes false claims about coronavirus, suggests you can ‘go to work’ if you’re sick.”

Challenge @politidope on the fact this was a lie, however, and he gets a little testy. Take what happened when our editor-in-chief here at The Western Journal, George Upper, decided to point out that Trump had said nothing of the sort. Call it gonzo journalism by proxy:

Rogers responded with the grace and restraint one might expect:

Wasn’t that GIF officially banned by order of the internet fire marshal? Well, you get to see it one more time here:

When a response is forthcoming that defends the logic with which Rogers found the president to be telling people with coronavirus to go to work, we’ll let you know. I wouldn’t be expecting updates. The Western Journal has also reached out to the office of State Sen. Marsden for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

The president, in his own inimitable style, made clear what should have been clear from the beginning:

I assume, by MSDNC (MSNBC), he’s referring to Hayes. Whatever the case, I’ll merely let you be your own judge on everything but the first sentence of the tweet. That first line, however, is unequivocally true.

Much like his “coronavirus hoax” remark, if you misheard it in the way anchors, doctors, newspapers and politidopes misheard it, it’s because it behooved you not to get it. If you think he should be more serious about coronavirus when speaking about it, that’s fine. What isn’t fine is taking what Trump said and juxtaposing your own meaning on it.

In the case of Matt Rogers, he tweeted a lie along with the video that proved he was a liar.

And you know what? People didn’t care, because they didn’t want to care.

In this case — and not just this case — the people consuming the lie are little different than those telling it.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture