Stephen King says President Trump has set a 'horrible example' during the coronavirus pandemic

Erin Donnelly
·4-min read

Stephen King — whose 1978 book The Stand envisioned a world decimated by a pandemic — lashed out at President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for their response to the coronavirus.

Speaking to CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday, the author referenced his fantasy novel and expressed disbelief that leaders weren’t better prepared for a global health crisis.

“Just in the last three or four weeks people are saying to me, ‘We are living in a Stephen King world,’ and boy, all I can say is I wish we weren’t,” King told Stelter, host of Reliable Sources.

Author Stephen King (pictured in 2014) criticized President Trump's response to the coronavirus threat. (Photo: Leigh Vogel/WireImage)
Author Stephen King (pictured in 2014) criticized President Trump's response to the coronavirus threat. (Photo: Leigh Vogel/WireImage)

“This has been waiting in the wings for a long, long time. I wrote The Stand about a pandemic that wipes out most of the human race, and thank God this one isn’t that bad, but I wrote that in 1979 and ever since then this has just been waiting to happen.

“The fact that nobody really seemed prepared still mystifies me.”

He went on to accuse Trump and DeSantis, who has demanded self-quarantines for travelers to his state from New York, New Jersey and Louisiana despite some Florida beaches remaining open, of minimizing the coronavirus threat and backtracking on quarantine orders.

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“It’s almost impossible to comprehend it in a way,” King, who has a home in Florida, said. “I remember back in the ‘70s when Republicans kind of laughed at Jimmy Carter as being indecisive and wishy-washy.

“The president we have now, and again Ron DeSantis here in Florida, the same way, these are supposed to be go-to-it guys, these are supposed to be the take-charge guy, it’s the guy you want in charge when something really goes wrong because they don’t waffle, they don’t wishy-washy.”

He added, “You had Trump at first saying, ‘Well, this isn’t really very serious, don’t worry, everything’s going to be OK,’ then when the stock market starts to die, when the reality of the thing hits home, he’s talking about, ‘Well, take it easy, really. This thing is going to be like a miracle, everything’s going to be OK by Easter and we’ll have the churches full.’

“And then a couple of days later he talks about a quarantine. Andrew Cuomo didn’t know about it, nobody really seemed to know, it just came out of his head.”

Of DeSantis, King said, “I’m not sure he’s ahead of the curve, I think he’s somewhere behind it. This whole situation is a little bit like the barn door has been locked but the horse was stolen, I’m going to say, 10 days ago.”

He claimed that many in Florida are disregarding the state’s social distancing guidelines, which he likened to Trump being crowded by lawmakers in the Oval Office while signing the coronavirus bailout bill.

“I have to say that there’s been a horrible example set from the top on down,” King said.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.

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