DONALD Trump made comments at a rally on Thursday comparing himself to Winston Churchill over his handling of the coronavirus that experts quickly slammed as erroneous.
Trump, responding to recent revelations that he misled Americans about the risks of the coronavirus, compared himself Churchill using the popular “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogan often mistakenly attributed to the late British prime minister during World War II.
“As the British government advised the British people in the face of World War II, ‘Keep calm and carry on.’ That’s what I did,” Trump told supporters on Thursday.
Experts, however, said that Trump’s message to keep calm in the case of the coronavirus stands in stark contrast to “famously blunt” Churchill’s messages.
Churchill, experts said, did not encourage the British to keep calm and carry on; rather, he famously encouraged them in his “Blood, Oil, Tears and Sweat” address to the House of Commons to continue to fight in May 1940.
“We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us,” Churchill said.
Just a few weeks later, Churchill gave his famous “We Shall Fight on The Beaches” speech to the House of Commons in which he warned of a possible invasion attempt by German Nazis.
“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,” Churchill said.
According to a British government page dedicated to the history of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters, the term was actually coined by the shadow Ministry of Information before Churchill became prime minister.
The slogan was created for a series of posters to be issued in case Great Britain was to join the war – which it ultimately did later that year.
However, the “Keep Calm” poster was never actually distributed and were lost to history until a barter bookstore in Alnwick, Northumberland discovered the posters and brought them to light.
Historian Jon Meacham, the author of “Franklin and Winston,” suggested that Trump instead use another Churchill quote.
“The British people can face any misfortune with fortitude and buoyancy as long as they are convinced that those in charge of their affairs are not deceiving them, or are not dwelling in a fool’s paradise,” Churchill said.
Experts also contested Trump’s statements on Thursday in which he said: “When Hitler was bombing London, Churchill, a great leader, would oftentimes go to a roof in London and speak. And he always spoke with calmness. He said, ‘We have to show calmness.’”
CNN fact checker Daniel Dale tweeted: “Churchill would sometimes go up on roofs and other high perches to watch the Blitz bombings. He did not broadcast from the roofs, clearly – he’d sneak up there in the dark.”
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