Donald Trump earned himself an immediate fact-check on Twitter Thursday after likening his public downplaying of the coronavirus — even though he knew its deadly nature — to the messaging of the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II.

Trump in early February, in taped interviews for journalist Bob Woodward’s new book “Rage,” admitted he knew the dangers of COVID-19, even though he was dismissing them in public. This week, Trump defended his pandemic leadership, claiming he just didn’t want to scare Americans.

On Thursday, Trump doubled down on his defense at a rally in Michigan.

“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,” said Trump, calling Woodward ― who he spoke to multiple times for the book ― a “whack job.”

“They wanted me to come out and scream, ‘People are dying,’ No. No. We did it just the right way. We have to be calm. We don’t want to be crazed lunatics. We have to lead,” claimed Trump, who has repeatedly sought to incite panic throughout his time in office.

“When Hitler was bombing London, Churchill, great leader, would oftentimes go to a roof in London and speak,” Trump added. “And he always spoke with confidence. He said we have to show calmness. No, we did it the right way and we’ve done a job like nobody.”

Check out the clip here:

This is fucking absurd pic.twitter.com/VwyTaCZDtq

— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) September 11, 2020

Critics on Twitter, including CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale, pointed out that Churchill was actually “famously blunt” about the dire situation facing the United Kingdom during the war.

They also shared excerpts of the late leader’s addresses and compared them to Trump’s falsehoods about the pandemic that’s now killed more than 190,000 people nationwide:

Oh man. Trump: "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."Churchill was famously blunt with the British people about how bad things could get.

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 11, 2020

Quiz: which one is Churchill and which one is Trump? pic.twitter.com/AP80uIO8Kk

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 11, 2020

More from Winston Churchill, famous downplayer pic.twitter.com/c3WGehAEPZ

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 11, 2020

“The British people can face any misfortune w/ fortitude & 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”—Winston Churchill https://t.co/L5jadWU6r7

— Jon Meacham (@jmeacham) September 11, 2020

Winston Churchill totally downplaying things: pic.twitter.com/WxcshwGXI8

— James Pethokoukis (@JimPethokoukis) September 11, 2020

What Churchill actually said: "We are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history… I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind… many, many long months of struggle and of suffering." https://t.co/nR7xrDPu6X

— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) September 11, 2020

Things Churchill didn't say:- the Blitz is a hoax- the Nazis will miraculously be gone by April- going to a fallout shelter is voluntary; I don't think I'll be doing it- I don't take responsibility at all https://t.co/aHX0P9bUVN

— Tom Malinowski (@Malinowski) September 11, 2020

This would make sense of Churchill said that the Nazis would just go away. Like a miracle,… when the weather gets warm in April. https://t.co/9VjHy255qz

— Roshan Rinaldi (@Roshan_Rinaldi) September 11, 2020

What the Churchill family thinks of Donald Trump. Seems Soames is unlikely to second his feeble effort to liken himself to Winston.I imagine Churchill himself might have thought the comparison…*accent please*…invidious. https://t.co/rwsEocx0rV

— Virginia Heffernan (@page88) September 11, 2020 RELATED… WATCH: Police Pull Coronavirus-Infected Surfer From Ocean For Breaking Isolation Michael Cohen Makes Chilling Prediction About Trump And The Constitution If He Wins Tucker Carlson Throws Lindsey Graham Under The Bus For Trump's Recorded Lies A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus What should you still be disinfecting to prevent COVID-19? Is it possible you had coronavirus earlier this year? How can you manage your anxiety as coronavirus restrictions lift? Here’s the latest on how long COVID-19 antibodies last. How will COVID-19 change your office? Laid off and lost your health insurance? You have options. Everything you need to know about face masks right now. Find all our coronavirus coverage here. Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a HuffPost member today. HuffPost testPromoTitleReplace testPromoDekReplace Join HuffPost Today!No thanks. HuffPost Important conversations are happening now. Add your voice! Join HuffPost Today! Download Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter Join HuffPost

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