Another day, another Donald Trump claim that’s easily disproved.
The president’s latest piece of misinformation concerns anti-lockdown protesters.
Trump has previously voiced his support for people taking to the streets across the US to demonstrate against lockdown measures implemented to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
He’s called them “great people” – despite extensive evidence of far-right involvement in organising the protests and the presence of racist symbols such as the Confederate flag.
But on Tuesday, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention condemned those gathering, saying it was “not helpful” during an interview with The Washington Postwhere he warned that a second wave of Covid-19 will be “more difficult”.
During Trump’s Tuesday briefing, he was asked for his thoughts on Redfield’s comment and the response was textbook.
Well look, it’s not a question of helpful. People want to get back to work. I’ve watched some of the protests and they’re separated, there’s a lot of space in-between. They’re doing social distancing if you can believe it.
Unfortunately, we can’t believe it, because it’s not true.
As multiple photographs and videos document, protesters have not been practising blanket social distancing.
One viral photo by Joshua Bickel shows protestors at an Ohio demonstration pressed up against glass doors and each other. They are screaming angrily. But they're not social distancing.
Elsehwere, a compilation of videos taken at the demonstrations and edited together by the the BBC show people at protests across the country stood tightly packed together.
And the internet isn't letting Trump get away with such a bare-faced lie.
One person compared his statement to propaganda in George Orwell’s novel 1984.
Another questioned how he could claim such a thing when visual evidence existed to the contrary.
As if more proof was needed, comparing anti-lockdown protests to ones that have adhered to social distancing guidelines shows a stark difference.
Nurses protesting a lack of PPE outside the White House earlier this week did stay six feet apart – and it shows.
Ditto the powerful images from Israel when 2,000 demonstrators assembled two metres apart to protest the regime led by Benjamin Netanyahu.
So the question remains: does Trump even believe what he’s saying?