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  • At a White House briefing Tuesday, US president Trump claimed that he had always taken the threat of coronavirus seriously. Trump was asked if his tone about the disease had become more "sombre" in recent days.
  • Trump said he did not think his tone was different. "I've always known this is a real - this is a pandemic," Trump said, adding he "felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic."
  • In the past, Trump has called the alarm over coronavirus a "hoax" used by the Democratic Party to try to hurt him politically, and inaccurately compared it to the flu.
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At a Tuesday press conference dedicated to the government's coronavirus response, US President Donald Trump claimed that he's "always viewed it as very serious."

Trump's response was prompted by a question from NBC News' Kristen Welker, who asked about whether his tone on coronavirus had shifted to a more "somber" one.

"I have seen that where people actually liked it, but I didn't feel different. I've always known this is a real - this is a pandemic," Trump said, adding that he "felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic."

In fact, at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Trump repeatedly downplayed threat, inaccurately comparing it to the flu and telling his supporters that growing worry about the coronavirus was a "hoax."

At a Feb. 28 rally in Charleston, S.C., Trump told thousands of cheering fans that "the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus."

"One of my people came up to me and said, 'Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.' That did not work out too well." Trump told his supporters. "They could not do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. ... They tried anything. ... And this is their new hoax."

When criticism of his administration’s response ramped up, he tried to compare the coronavirus to the flu.

As late as March 9, Trump continued to claim that the flu was more dangerous than the coronavirus (a fact refuted by his own top expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said in Congressional testimony that the coronavirus was ten times more lethal) and that Democrats and the press were inflaming the public reaction to the coronavirus, which his administration is now taking "unprecedented" steps to curb.

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