This Day in Failure: March 31

3 Mexican Countries Fox And Friends Graphic
Fox & Friends Weekend chyron fail - March 31, 2019.

2020: In the wake of criticism for the Trump Administration’s slow response to the coronavirus epidemic, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, says President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial distracted the government from addressing the novel coronavirus as it reached the United States in January 2020.

Specifically, McConnell tells conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the deadly virus “came up while we were tied down on the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything every day was all about impeachment.” Later that day, President Donald Trump disputes this, saying “I don’t think I would have done any better had I not been impeached.”

Regardless, it’s clear that Trump downplayed the crisis for almost two months, first comparing COVID-19 to the seasonal flu, then declaring it would go away on its own, and then referring to it as a “hoax” intended to make him look bad.

2020: The Trump administration rolls back Obama-era vehicle mileage standards, raising the ceiling on damaging fossil fuel emissions for years to come and gutting one of the United States’ biggest efforts against climate change. The change—after two years of Trump threatening and fighting states and a faction of automakers that opposed the move—waters down a mileage standard that would have encouraged automakers to ramp up production of electric vehicles and more fuel-efficient gas and diesel vehicles.

2020: Hotel chain Marriott announces that hackers accessed an internal data system containing the personal information of 5.2 million guests, including names, addresses, phone numbers, loyalty account information and employer information. It’s Marriott’s second major data breach. In November 2018, the company admitted that the names, addresses, contact information and passport numbers of over 300 million people who had stayed at a Starwood-branded property had been compromised.

2019: An early-morning segment on Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend features a screen graphic that characterizes three Central American countries—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—as “Mexican Countries.”

2009: A traveling billboard calling out conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh makes its debut in Palm Beach County, Florida (where the political commentator owns a home). The billboard features a silhouette of Limbaugh smoking a fat cigar, along with the tag line, “Americans Didn’t Vote for a Rush to Failure”—a reference to Limbaugh’s infamous statement: “I hope he [Barack Obama] fails.”