President Trump resumed his daily coronavirus news briefings on Monday, just two days after tweeting that they were “not worth the time & effort” and after White House officially canceled the planned appearance.
He largely avoided the sort of anger he had displayed in recent days, even for questions that would typically provoke a sharp response. Asked if a president should be re-elected after so many Americans died in a matter of weeks, he argued that he had prevented it from being worse.
“Yeah, we’ve lost a lot of people,” “But if you look at what original projections were, 2.2 million, we’re probably heading to 60,000, 70,000. It’s far too many. One person is too many for this. And I think we’ve made a lot of really good decisions.”Trump said
Pressed on his offhand suggestion last week that experts should study whether ingesting or injecting disinfectant could counter the virus, a comment that set off warnings by health agencies that doing so could be fatal, the president brushed it off quickly and moved on.
“I can’t imagine why,” Trump said when told that some Americans might try it, putting their lives at risk. Asked if he took responsibility, he said, “No, I don’t.”
The furor over the disinfectant comments, which the president later claimed were sarcastic, prompted deep anger last week. Mr. Trump then spent much of the weekend railing on Twitter about the news media, including The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and even the usually friendly Fox News when it proved insufficiently loyal by airing even a bit of criticism. He opted not to hold briefings on Saturday or Sunday even though for the most part he has been doing them seven days a week.
“There has never been, in the history of our Country, a more vicious or hostile Lamestream Media than there is right now, even in the midst of a National Emergency, the Invisible Enemy!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday morning. “FAKE NEWS, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” he added.
During Monday’s Rose Garden press conference, Mr Trump was also asked whether he would delay the presidential election in November.
“I never even thought of changing the date of the election,” he said. “Why would I do that?”
Former US Vice-President Joe Biden, Mr Trump’s presumptive Democratic opponent, said last week he thought Mr Trump would “try to kick back the election somehow”.
But Mr Trump told reporters the idea was “made-up propaganda”.
“I look forward to that election,” Mr Trump said.
While not at his feistiest, Mr. Trump still flashed some of his usual bombast, claiming as he often does that until the virus hit he had built “the greatest economy in the history of the world” and “you would have been at war with North Korea if I wasn’t president,” two assertions belied by history and statistics.
But he said he would be open to joining lawsuits against states that have imposed social distancing restrictions to combat the virus deemed too strict, as Attorney General William P. Barr has suggested. “It would depend on the state; it would depend on the circumstances of the state,” Mr. Trump said. “The attorney general doesn’t want to have rights taken away. There are some people, they’re not allowed to open up a store. They’re going to lose their livelihood.”
He made no effort to reconcile that with his own administration’s guidelines urging that most stores be kept closed or with his criticism of Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia for opening some businesses in his state too quickly.
At the same time, Mr. Trump complained about the prosecution of Michael T. Flynn, his former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to authorities, and quickly equated it to his own time under investigation. “What happened to your president of the United States should never again be allowed to happen,” he said.
The total number of confirmed US Covid-19 cases is almost at one million and over 55,000 deaths, reported todate.
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