As Coronavirus Outbreak Worsens, Trump Attacks Obama

Gage Skidmore / flickr

Donald Trump spent Monday morning downplaying the threat of the coronavirus outbreak, railing against the so-called "deep state," and attacking President Obama.

"The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant," Trump tweeted at 7:20 a.m. "Surgeon General, 'The risk is low to the average American.'"

Nearly 20 minutes later, he announced he had a "long way to go" in fighting the "Deep State," warning of the "very bad, sick people in our government" who "hate our Country." Recent reports have said Trump is actively ridding his administration of those he deems insufficiently loyal to him.

 
 

A minute later, Trump attacked former President Barack Obama.

"The Obama/Biden Administration is the most corrupt Administration in the history of our Country!" Trump, one of three presidents ever to be impeached, said.

The Monday morning tweets came as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus that was first reported in China, increased in the United States.

On Monday, the New York Times reported at least 539 confirmed cases in 34 states, as well as 22 deaths. At the end of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 164 cases and 11 deaths.

As evidence of risk increased, the CDC released new travel guidance on Sunday that included recommendations that the elderly and those with underlying health issues avoid cruise ships and unnecessary travel such as long plane trips.

Trump's own Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, said on Sunday, "we're shifting into a mitigation phase, which means that we're helping communities understand, 'You're going to see more cases. Unfortunately, you're going to see more deaths.'"

As Trump was tweeting his various attacks Monday morning, economic indicators over the weekend pointed to a dramatic drop in the stock markets on Monday morning. The Dow Jones, which began trading at 9:30 a.m., opened 1,700 points down.

The Trump administration has been roundly criticized for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

In February, federal workers from the Department of Health and Human Services interacted with Americans evacuated from China without proper protective gear or training on how to deal with infectious diseases, the Washington Post reported.

Immigration experts have called on the administration to do more to protect migrants locked up in detention facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump himself has repeatedly lied and tried to downplay the severity of the outbreak. At one point, Trump called the outbreak a "hoax," only backtracking after intense media criticism.

Much of the criticism has focused on Trump handling the crisis more like a public relations issue rather than a health emergency.

On Friday, Trump was explicit in his concern for managing the perception of the coronavirus outbreak as opposed to dealing with the substance of the outbreak.

During a visit to CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Trump was asked about passengers aboard the Grand Princess, a cruise ship with at least 21 people with COVID-19 aboard, expecting to dock in California.

"I'd rather have them stay on, personally, but I fully understand if they want to take them off," Trump said about the sick people aboard the ship. "I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault."

Shortly after 9 a.m., Trump mentioned efforts by his administration related to the coronavirus, tweeting, "Great job being done by the @VP and the CoronaVirus Task Force. Thank you!" He then praised his administration for an early decision to restrict travel from China.

Minutes later, he was back to writing about conspiracy theories.

"So much FAKE NEWS!" Trump tweeted at 9:17 a.m.

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