President Donald Trump’s visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday turned into a scattershot defense of his administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, veering into political score-settling, exaggerations and talk harking back to his impeachment.
With financial markets slowing and the virus spreading, Trump tried once more to quell the growing alarm that has prompted travel to be curtailed and events to be canceled from coast to coast. But Trump, wearing his “Keep America Great” campaign hat while discussing the global worry, repeatedly detoured from his message of reassurance.
Trump called Washington state’s governor, who is dealing with the most serious outbreak in the nation, "a snake.” He said he’d prefer that people exposed to the virus on a cruise ship be left aboard so they wouldn’t be added to the count for the nation’s total number of infections. And he falsely claimed that a test for the virus was available immediately to all who want it. In fact, the lack of testing capability is presenting a major problem to health workers in the field.
Trump also said the accuracy of the coronavirus test was “perfect — like the letter was perfect.” With that, Trump was making a comparison to the July phone call with Ukraine’s president that led to his impeachment. Trump, who was acquitted by the Senate last month, has insisted he did nothing wrong.
Before departing Washington, Trump signed an $8.3 billion coronavirus response funding bill at the White House and instructed the public: “Be calm. It will go away.”
“We have very low numbers compared to major countries throughout the world. Our numbers are lower than just about anybody,” Trump said about cases of the virus.
Part of the reason for the low numbers is that he doesn't want the cruise ship to come back into the country....
“From my standpoint, I want to rely on people. I have great experts, including our vice president who is working 24 hours a day on this stuff. They would like to have the people come off,” he said, wearing a baseball cap promoting his reelection campaign. “I’d rather have the people stay, but I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision.”
“I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are,” Trump continued. “I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault. And it wasn't the fault of the people on the ship either, okay? It wasn't their fault either and they're mostly Americans. So, I can live either way with it. I'd rather have them stay on, personally.”
During his visit to the CDC, Trump touted the ratings of his town hall this week on Fox News and mocked a CNN reporter. He cut off Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar as he tried to counsel Americans to be patient. And despite calling this week for bipartisanship during the crisis, Trump said he told Vice President Mike Pence not to be complimentary during his Thursday meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington because “he is a snake.”
“So I told Mike not to be complimentary of the governor because that governor is a snake, OK? Inslee. I said, ‘If you’re nice to him he will take advantage.’ And I would have said no. Let me just tell you: We have a lot of problems with the governor, the governor of Washington. ... So Mike may be happy with him but I’m not.”
Inslee tweeted his own response to Trump’s comments: ”It’s important for leaders to speak with one voice. I just wish the president and vice president could get on the same page.”
Knows more than the generals. Stable genius. And this week...
“I like this stuff. I really get it,” Trump boasted to reporters during a tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where he met with actual doctors and scientists who are feverishly scrambling to contain and combat the deadly illness. Citing a “great, super-genius uncle” who taught at MIT, Trump professed that it must run in the family genes.
“People are really surprised I understand this stuff,” he said. “Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability.”
President "who knew how many people die from influenza?" is our new medical expert....
While explaining this, Trump appeared irritated by the reaction of a reporter. “You’re smiling when I say that. Where are you from?” he asked. When she replied CNN, the president snapped: “I don’t watch CNN. That’s why I don’t recognize you. I don’t watch CNN because CNN is fake news.”
The medical professionals around him smiled uncomfortably.
The president had a more positive reaction to Fox News. While explaining he had watched the network’s coronavirus coverage aboard Air Force One en route from Nashville — where he had toured tornado damage earlier in the day — to Atlanta, Trump cut himself off.
“How was the show last night?” Trump asked a Fox reporter in the room, referring to a Fox News-produced, town hall-style event in Scranton, Pa., that he had participated in the night before.
“Did it get good ratings?” Trump said. The reporter said he didn’t know. “Oh, really?” Trump continued. “I heard it broke all ratings records. But maybe that’s wrong. That’s what they told me.”
As his aides did their best to curry Trump’s favor — they praised his leadership and sought to reinforce some of his pronouncements — the president opined on the falling stock markets, insisting he is happy that Americans are canceling travel plans abroad to “stay in the United States and spend money in the United States.”
-------------------------------- Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.
Posts: 31305 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010
Still hard at work, focusing on the important stuff.
As stocks plummeted and concern spread about the growing coronavirus global health crisis, President Donald Trump began his week at his seaside resort in Florida with online screeds about fake news, Barack Obama and the Democratic primary.
The president fired off more than two dozen tweets and retweets Monday morning but was silent on the coronavirus-caused economic turmoil until an early Wall Street nosedive triggered an emergency “circuit breaker” to temporarily halt trading within minutes of the opening bell. Trump dismissed the drop, which knocked more than 2,000 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as mostly the fault of an oil dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
At least someone knows what he needs to be doing.
But in between comments on the economy and coronavirus, Trump fell back on a smattering of familiar attacks, accusing his predecessor, without evidence, of having the “most corrupt Administration in the history of our Country” and complaining about what he said were “very bad, sick people” trying to undermine him from within the government.
After beginning his day at Mar-a-Lago in South Florida, the president's public schedule on Monday revolved almost entirely around travel to and from a closed-door fundraiser in Orlando. He returns to Washington after the fundraiser and is set to meet with his economic team on Monday afternoon to discuss options for fiscal stimulus measures related to coronavirus.
Pence’s public schedule, by comparison, consists of a noon conference call with governors about the outbreak, a medal ceremony, and a meeting with the coronavirus task force he leads along with an on-camera press briefing on the outbreak.