President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that he knew the coronavirus outbreak was a pandemic before the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled it as such last week.
“This is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic,” Trump said at a press conference with his coronavirus task force. “All you had to do was look at other countries.”
The president’s comments were in response to being asked if he agreed that his rhetoric surrounding the coronavirus become more reserved on Monday. Trump disagreed, saying that he always knew the outbreak was “serious” despite calling it a “Democratic hoax” to hurt his reelection chances.
— Michael Holmes (@holmescnn) March 17, 2020
Trump’s answer immediately drew ire, with some pointing to a March 9 tweet of the president’s.
“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 the time.
Trump also previously characterized the virus as a Democratic “hoax.”
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. Surgeon General, “The risk is low to the average American.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020
Amid the erratic response from Trump, states this week amped up their efforts to combat the illness that has infected over 4,000 Americans and caused at least 87 deaths, forcing restaurants and bars to close and called on Americans to work from home in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus.
The Trump administration on Monday recommended that people should avoid gatherings of over 10 people.