Trump Timeline (2020)

Complete Trump Campaigning Timeline (2015-2020)        

 Trump Timeline pdf        

January 2 – Trump authorized a drone strike that killed Iran’s top security and intelligence commander Qasem Soleimani at the Baghdad Airport. (NYT | WP)

January 3 – Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC, received a call from his Chinese counterpart with an official warning alerting him to the Covid-19 disease or 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, was alerted to the SARS-CoV-2 virus around the same time. (MarketWatch | C-Span | WP)

January 4 – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Trump golf count | Trump cheats at golf)

January 5 – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Trump golf count)

January 8 – The CDC issued its first alert advising U.S. clinicians to watch for patients with respiratory symptoms and a travel history to Wuhan, China. (CDC | USA Today)

January 9 – Trump campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio (PBS-YouTube | NBC-YouTube | CBS | transcript Rev)

January 11 – China shared the genetic sequence of Covid-19 (MarketWatch | Snopes |

January 13 – The Russian military hacked into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry, starting in November 2019. (NYT | WP)

January 14 – Trump campaign rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (PBS-YouTube | GN-YouTube | NBC-YouTube | transcript Rev)

January 15 – The U.S. House of Representatives voted to send the Senate two articles of impeachment against Trump, initiating the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. The measure passed 228-to-193. Speaker Nancy Pelosi also announced the seven House Democrats who will serve as the “managers” in the trial, saying “The emphasis is on

making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution to seek the truth for the American people.” The two articles, charging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, will be hand-delivered to the Senate. (NYT | WP)

January 16 – The Senate opened Trump's impeachment trial with the swearing in of senators and the presentation of the two charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, administered the oath to “do impartial justice” to all senators in the chamber. (NYT | WP) The GAO said the Trump administration violated the law when it froze military aid to Ukraine for a “policy reason.” (GAO | GAO pdf | NYT | WP)

January 17 – Trump targeted Michelle Obama’s school nutrition guidelines on her birthday. The proposed rule would give schools more latitude to decide how much fruit to offer during breakfast and what types of vegetables to include in meals. It would also broaden what counts as a snack. (NYT | WP)

January 18 – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Trump golf count | Trump cheats at golf) Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called with an update while Trump was at Mar-a-Lago. Trump spent much of the conversation wanting to talk about vaping; he was considering a new policy restricting its use. White House officials now believe Trump didn’t fully grasp the magnitude of the threat to the U.S. in part because Azar, who was feuding with several members of Trump’s inner circle, did a poor job communicating it. (MarketWatch | WP)

January 20 – The first confirmed case of Covid-19 appeared in Washington state. (NEJM | Seattle Times)

January 21 – The first day of Trump’s impeachment trial began with more than 12 hours of contentious debate over the procedural rules. Senate Republicans rejected 11 Democratic amendments to subpoena records from the White House, State Department, Defense Department, and the Office of Management and Budget related to Ukraine, which the White House blocked during the House inquiry. Senate Republicans also blocked amendments to issue subpoenas for testimony from John Bolton the former national security adviser, Mick Mulvaney the acting White House chief of staff, Michael Duffey a White House budget office official, and Robert Blair, a Mulvaney adviser who was involved in freezing military aid to Ukraine. (NYT)

January 22 – At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump said about Covid-19, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.” (Politico)

January 23 – At Trump's impeachment trial, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Trump floated a “very specific conspiracy theory” that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that hacked the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. “This theory was brought to you by the Kremlin.” (WP)

January 28 {4,593 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rally at Wildwood, New Jersey (NBC-YouTube | NJ-YouTube | NYT | transcript Rev)

January 29 {6,065 cases of Covid-19} – A memo by Trump's trade adviser, Peter Navarro, gave striking detail of the potential risks of a Covid-19 pandemic with as many as half a millions deaths and trillions of dollars in economic losses. Trump's inner circle protected him from the memo. (NYT | Axios | MarketWatch | MotherJones | Salon) Newly installed panels of Trump's border wall fell over in 37 mph winds, landing on trees on the Mexican side of the border near Mexicali. (CNN | YouTube) A 4,309-foot smuggling tunnel was found under the U.S.-Mexico border connecting an industrial area of Tijuana to a warehouse district in San Diego. This tunnel was about five and a half feet tall and two feet wide, and about 70 feet below ground. It included an elevator, an extensive rail and cart system, forced air ventilation, high-voltage electrical cables, and a complex drainage system. (AP | USA Today | YouTube)

January 30 {7,818 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rallies in Des Moines, Iowa, and Michigan. During the Michigan campaign rally, Trump said about Covid-19, “We have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully.” (NYT) On his flight back, Trump received a call from his health and human services secretary, Alex Azar, warning of a pandemic. Trump responded that Mr. Azar was being alarmist. (NYT)

January 31 {9,826 cases of Covid-19} – Trump issued travel restrictions from China with loopholes big enough to fly a plane through. Over the next two months, 279 flights arrived from China with 40,000 passengers. (NYT | IB Times | White House) Most Covid-19 cases came from Europe, and Trump didn't block European travelers until March 11. (NYT) The Senate narrowly rejected a motion to call new witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial, paving the way for a final vote to acquit the President by the following week. In a 51-49 vote, the Senate defeated a push by Democrats to depose former national security adviser John Bolton and other witnesses on their knowledge of the Ukraine scandal that led to Trump’s impeachment. Two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, joined all 47 Senate Democrats in voting for the motion. (NPR | WP) Trump reversed restrictions on land mines. (BBC | WP)

February 1 {11,953 cases of Covid-19} – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Twitter | Trump golf count)

February 2 {14,557 cases of Covid-19} – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL. Trump said about Covid-19, “We pretty much shut it down.” (Trump golf count | FoxNews)

February 5 {24,554 cases of Covid-19} – President Trump was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate of charges that he abused the powers of his office and obstructed Congress as it probed his attempts to pressure Ukraine into political investigations, after a tumultuous, three-week impeachment trial that left his fate in the hands of voters in November. Democrats fell far short of the two-thirds majority required to remove Trump from office, as senators voted 52-48 to acquit him on the abuse of power allegation and 53-47 to clear him of obstruction. The outcome represented a political triumph for the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who successfully held together nearly the entire GOP caucus in blocking witnesses or additional evidence from the proceedings. Just one Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, voted to convict the President of abuse of power. (NYT | WP)

February 7 {31,481 cases of Covid-19} – U.S. airlifts 17.8 tons of donated respirator masks, surgical masks, gowns, and other medical supplies to China. (State Dept | Share America | Snopes | WP) Trump fired two key impeachment witnesses, dismissing Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council. An adviser to Trump said the firings of the major impeachment witnesses was meant to send a message that siding against Trump will not be tolerated. (CNN | WP) Trump went to a campaign rally, North Carolina Opportunity Now, and suggested chants of “12 more years” or “16 more years.” (CBS | CNBC-YouTube | WP | transcript Rev)

February 10 {40,554 cases of Covid-19} – At a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump said about Covid-19, “looks like, by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” (PBS-YouTube | GN-YouTube | CBS | transcript Rev) White House acting budget director Russell Vought said, “Coronavirus is not something that is going to have ripple effects.” (White House)

February 11 {43,103 cases of Covid-19} – Prosecutors quit amid escalating Justice Dept. fight over Roger Stone’s prison term. All four career prosecutors handling the case against Roger Stone withdrew from the legal proceedings after the Justice Department signaled it planned to undercut their seven-to-nine year sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend and confidant. (PBS | WP) Almost simultaneously, Trump decided to revoke the nomination to a top Treasury Department post of his former U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, who had supervised the Stone case when it went to trial. (WP)

February 13 {46,997 cases of Covid-19} – Attorney General William Barr pushes back against Trump’s criticism of Justice Dept., said tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.” Barr pushed back hard against President Trump’s criticism of the Justice Department, saying, “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody. I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.” He also noted that when he became attorney general last year, he pledged to resist intimidation from any quarter, whether Congress, the White House, or elsewhere. (WP | ABC | NY mag)

February 15 {50,580 cases of Covid-19} – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Trump golf count | Trump cheats at golf)

February 16 {51,857 cases of Covid-19} – Trump rode a limo around the track at the Daytona 500 as the grand marshal. (NYT | CNN | GN-YouTube | CBS-YouTube | transcript Rev)

February 19 {75,204 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona (NBC-YouTube | USA Today | transcript Rev) “I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus,” Trump said. (WP)

February 20 {75,748 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado (NBC-YouTube | CBS | Denver Post | transcript Rev)

February 21 {76,769 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada (CBS | NBC-YouTube | GN-YouTube | C-Span | transcript Rev)

February 24 {79,331 cases of Covid-19} – Trump tweeted, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA... Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” (Twitter | Vox)

February 24-26 – Trump's two-day trip to India. (BBC-YouTube | WP-YouTube | Namaste-YouTube | DailyShow-YouTube | CNN)

February 25 {80,239 cases of Covid-19} – Nancy Messonnier, a senior CDC official, sounded the most significant public alarm to that point, when she told reporters that Covid-19 was likely to spread within communities in the U.S. and that disruptions to daily life could be “severe.” Trump called Alex Azar on his way back from a trip to India and complained that Messonnier was scaring the stock markets, according to two senior administration officials. (WP)

February 26 {81,109 cases of Covid-19} – At a White House press conference, Trump contradicted the CDC assessment that Covid-19 will definitely spread throughout the US. Trump said, “I don’t think it’s inevitable. I think that there’s a chance that it could get worse, a chance it could get fairly substantially worse, but nothing’s inevitable.” Trump said Covid-19 had a “very low” risk to Americans. (AP | CNN | WP | CNBC-YouTube | NBC-YouTube | transcript Rev) Trump tweeted about Covid-19, “It’s going very substantially down, not up.” “The 15 [cases] within a couple of days, is going to be down to zero.” (Twitter | Salon)

[Note: Two weeks later, there were over 1,000 confirmed cases in the United States.]

February 27 {82,294 cases of Covid-19} – Trump tweeted about Covid-19, “It’s going to disappear one day; it’s like a miracle.” (Twitter | Salon)

February 28 {83,652 cases of Covid-19} – Trump holds South Carolina rally and claims the virus is “Their new Hoax.” (GN-YouTube | NBC-YouTube | transcript Rev) Eric Trump tweeted, “In my opinion, it’s a great time to buy stocks or into your 401k. I would be all in... let’s see if I’m right.” He was very wrong. (Twitter)

[Note: The stock market closed at 25,409 on February 28. It closed at 20,944 on March 31.]

February 29 {85,403 cases of Covid-19} - Trump rally speech in Oxon Hill, Maryland, to the 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference. (CNN | C-Span | CBS-YouTube | WhiteHouse-YouTube | Trump hugged & kissed US flag)

March 2 {88,948 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. Trump said about a Covid-19 vaccine, “I’ve heard very quick numbers, that of months.” (NBC | NBC-YouTube | Fox-YouTube |transcript Rev)

March 6 {98,189 cases of Covid-19} – Trump said after touring the CDC, “Anybody who wants a test, gets a test.” (CNBC) Trump said, “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it... Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.” (AP-YouTube | WP | Wired)

March 7 {101,924 cases of Covid-19} – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Trump golf count | Trump cheats at golf)

March 8 {105,586 cases of Covid-19} – Trump played golf with the Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach, FL (Sun Sentinel | USA Today | Trump golf count) Then Trump hosted a birthday party at Mar-a-Lago for Don Jr.'s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, with Vice President Pence, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and Senator Lindsey Graham under ballroom chandeliers and over gold-rimmed dinner plates. The festivities came with a unique hangover: a series of self-quarantines. Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro had joined Trump, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner for dinner and afterwards two of Bolsonaro's aides tested positive for Covid-19. Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Senator Rick Scott each self-quarantined due to meeting the Brazilian aides. (Jsonline | Washington Examiner)

March 9 {109,577 cases of Covid-19} – Trump tweeted, “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths.” (Twitter)

March 10 {113,702 cases of Covid-19} – Trump tweeted, “And it will go away. Just relax. It will go away.” (Twitter | CBS)

March 11 {118,319 cases of Covid-19} – Trump said, “If we get rid of the coronavirus problem quickly, we won’t need [economic] stimulus.” (WP)  Trump finally blocked travel from Europe. (NYT)

March 12 {125,260 cases of Covid-19} – Trump finally ordered ventilators and N95 masks to be delivered at the end of April. (AP | MSN)

March 13 {132,758 cases of Covid-19} – Trump for first time admits COVID-19 is a concern, declared a National Emergency but said, “I don’t take responsibility at all.” (MSNBC | Politico | GN-YouTube | Atlantic | transcript Rev)

April 1 – The Strategic National Stockpile sent out its last shipment of personal protective gear. (CNN | Seattle Times | Journal Gazette)

April 12 – Dr. Anthony Fauci said that calls to implement life-saving social distancing measures faced “a lot of pushback” early in the Covid-19 outbreak. “If you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” Fauci said when asked if social distancing and stay-at-home measures could have prevented deaths had they been put in place in February, instead of mid-March. (CNN)

April 13 – The Covid-19 press conference started with a campaign video. The lights in the briefing room dimmed for a three minute montage of officials offering laudatory comments about the president and of Trump discussing his steps to contain the virus. Then Trump dodged questions from reporters. Here is part of Trump's exchange with CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid (Salon | CBS-YouTube | WP-YouTube | transcript Rev):

Reid: What did you do with that time that you bought? The argument is that you bought yourself some time. You didn't use it to prepare hospitals. You didn't use it to ramp up testing. Right now, nearly 20 million people are unemployed.
Trump: You're so disgraceful. It's so disgraceful the way you say that.
Reid: Tens of thousands of Americans are dead. How is… this rant supposed to make people feel confident in an unprecedented crisis? What did your administration do in February for the time that your travel ban bought you?
Trump: A lot.
Reid: What?
Trump: A lot, and in fact, we'll give you a list… We did a lot. Look, look, you know you're a fake.

Here is part of the exchange with CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins:

Collins: You said when someone is president of the United States, their authority is total. That is not true. Who told you that?
Trump: You know what we're going to do? We're going to write up papers on this.
Collins: Has any governor agreed that you have the authority to decide when their states…
Trump: I haven't asked anybody because. You know why? Because I don't have to.
Collins: But who told you the president has the total authority?
Trump: Enough!

April 14 – Trump halts funding for the World Health Organization to deflect blame from his earlier pandemic failures. (NPR | Guardian)

April 15 – Trump threatens to adjourn Congress like a dictator. (NYT | CNN | YouTube | WP)

April 17 – Trump encouraged protests in states with democratic governors by tweeting “Liberate Minnesota” and similar tweets for Michigan and Virginia. (CNBC | Politico | NBC)

Presidential Timeline of Donald Trump
Trump Timeline (PDF)

Complete Trump Campaigning Timeline (2015-2020)        

 Trump Timeline pdf        

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