President Trump jeered Democrats Friday night for criticizing his response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, saying that it was a “new hoax” after a failed attempt to remove him from office over Ukraine.
“They tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia — that didn’t work out too well,” Trump told a cheering crowd in South Carolina. “They tried the impeachment hoax. That was a perfect conversation.”
“And this is the new hoax,” Trump declared.
Trump told the audience that just 15 people had been diagnosed in the US with coronavirus as of Friday, excluding Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, and the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
“Let’s get this right: A virus starts in China, makes its way into various countries all around the world, doesn’t spread widely at all in the United States because of the early actions that myself and my administration took against a lot of other wishes. And the Democrats’ single talking point and you see it is that it’s Donald Trump’s fault,” he said.
The president praised his administration’s response to the coronavirus, highlighting his decision to bar foreign nationals from entering the US if they visited China in the past 14 days. “Democrats will only say horrible things even though they know we’re doing a great job,” he said.
Trump spoke in South Carolina in a thinly veiled bid to draw attention away from the state’s Democratic presidential primary on Saturday.
Defending himself on coronavirus, Trump mocked Democratic criticism of his administration’s request for $2.5 billion to battle the virus that spread rapidly since January, with significant outbreaks in Italy, Iran, and South Korea.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump requested too little, urging $8.5 billion instead. At a briefing for reporters Friday afternoon, administration officials said they assume the larger amount would be for a multiyear response.
“I requested $2.5 billion to ensure we have the resources we need. The Democrats said That’s terrible. He’s doing the wrong thing,” Trump said. “They want to give me eight and a half, so I said I’ll take it. … These people are crazy.”