Former Vice President Al Gore said Wednesday that President Donald Trump is “trying to gaslight” the coronavirus, in a scathing assessment of the administration’s response to the pandemic.
“He’s trying to gaslight the virus, gaslight the climate system, and they are impervious to his words. Really, our only hope is to get the best information available, and act to protect ourselves and our civilization in response,” the Democrat told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time.”
He added: “We need leadership. We have solutions available to us if we can get the politics and the misguided propagandistic messaging from the President out of it.”
Gore’s pointed comments come as Trump continues to contradict his own health officials’ statements about the coronavirus even as the US nears 200,000 Covid-19 deaths. Earlier Wednesday, the timeline for a Covid vaccine became a major headline when Trump challenged assertions by Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After Redfield told the Senate Appropriations Committee that a vaccine likely won’t be available to the general American public until the second or third quarter of 2021, Trump said at a White House news conference that Redfield was “confused.”
“I think he made a mistake when he said that,” the President said. “It’s just incorrect information.”
And on Monday, Trump baselessly asserted that climate change is not playing a role in the catastrophic wildfires overtaking forests across the West, rebutting an official briefing him who pleaded for the President listen to the science.
Gore, who has endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden for president, assessed Wednesday night that new leadership is necessary for the US to emerge from the pandemic.
“We’ve got the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Almost 200,000 Americans dead,” he said. “We are seeing the President in his approach both to the climate crisis and the pandemic not only not helping to deal with them — he’s making both of them worse.”
Gore’s comments echoed his criticism earlier in the pandemic of the Trump administration’s push to reopen the country.
“I think that we are seeing the start of a botched reopening,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta during a CNN coronavirus global town hall in May.
“I think that the President appears to be engaging in magical thinking again. And what I mean by that is, you know, a couple of months ago he said one day it’s just going to magically disappear. It seems as if he may be recklessly rolling the dice hoping that he can goose the economy just enough in the third quarter of this year to enhance his reelection prospects.”