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Last Time Trump Visited Florida, He Downplayed Coronavirus, Golfed, and Fundraised

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Donald Trump is returning to Florida tomorrow for the first time since the coronavirus crisis spiraled out of control, infecting more than 50,000 people and leaving more than two million workers jobless in Florida. Two and a half months ago, on the same weekend Florida confirmed its first two deaths due to COVID-19, Trump was in the Sunshine State golfing, fundraising, and downplaying the threat of the novel coronavirus.

While the public was just learning of the grave danger posed by COVID-19, Trump had been warned months before his Mar-a-lago weekend, but failed to act. Trump’s delayed response worsened the crisis. Columbia University disease modelers recently estimated that 83% of the nation’s deaths could have been prevented had social distancing been instituted on March 1.

Highlights from Donald Trump’s last visit to the Sunshine State:

Palm Beach Post: Trump in Palm Beach: Quiet day, festive night, then barbed tweets just before midnight | March 7, 2020
About coronavirus, Trump said: “We’re doing very well and we’ve done a fantastic job with respect to that subject.”

Washington Post: After stopping at the CDC on his way to Mar-a-Lago, Trump heads to the golf course two days in a row | March 8, 2020
One school of thought suggests treating the coronavirus outbreak as limited in scope will help protect the economy from overreacting to the spread of the virus. Medical experts and other observers worry this approach will make the long-term effects of the crisis much worse.

It’s not clear how active Trump has been in that debate. It’s clear, though, that he wasn’t actively engaged in it on Saturday or Sunday mornings from the golf course.

CNN: As coronavirus gains a foothold in the nation, it's business as usual for Trump | March 9, 2020
The President made remarks at a fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago Club on Friday night to an audience of roughly 400 people, golfed with old friends and several Major League Baseball players the next day and hosted the Brazilian President for a large dinner featuring several members of Congress and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani. He later stopped by a 51st birthday party for his son Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Palm Beach Post: Trump in Palm Beach: Tweet suggests common flu worse than coronavirus | March 9, 2020
President Donald Trump on Monday concluded a four-day stay in Florida by rifling off another tweet undermining his administration’s messaging in suggesting the coronavirus is no worse than the common flu.

“Report after report shows us that timing was everything in responding to the coronavirus crisis, so as Donald Trump returns to the Sunshine State, it is worth reflecting on how he spent his time when he was last here,” said Florida Democratic Party Spokeswoman Frances Swanson, “Instead of preparing this country for an outbreak, as he was repeatedly warned to do, Trump was golfing at Mar-a-lago and spreading misinformation about COVID-19.”