President Trump announced Wednesday that he would be holding a 6 p.m. ET news conference to discuss the coronavirus, which is rapidly spreading around the world and triggering fears of a pandemic.
The president also bashed the media and Democrats for allegedly overhyping the threat.
“Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus [sic] look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible,” Trump said, referencing dives in the U.S. stock market both Monday and Tuesday which were triggered by fears about coronavirus. “Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape!”
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The president followed that tweet with another announcing the news conference.
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“I will be having a News Conference at the White House, on this subject, today at 6:00 P.M. CDC representatives, and others, will be there. Thank you!” he wrote.
The president’s announcement follows criticism from many in the media about his administration’s handling of the threat and comments made by Democratic presidential contenders Tuesday night on the South Carolina debate stage to the same effect.
Ahead of the debate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., tweeted that Trump is mishandling the U.S. government’s response to the virus, which originated in China’s Wuhan province and has infected tens of thousands around the globe, despite largely sparing U.S. citizens on American soil so far.
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“The Trump administration is absolutely bungling the response to coronavirus, putting our public health and our economy at risk,” she said. “This is why we need a real plan and an adult in charge.”
Warren then tweeted her plan for “combating infectious disease outbreaks,” and went on to slam Trump for “crisis mismanagement,” previous budget cuts to health programs and not taking a stronger stance against Chinese President Xi Jinping after his country’s largely opaque response to the outbreak.
In recent days Trump, who spent Monday and Tuesday on a state visit in India, has sought to reassure Americans, online and in press conferences, that the virus is not a major threat. He’s specifically cited the fact that there has been no “community spread” of coronavirus within American borders, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
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“CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus,” Trump tweeted Tuesday, “including the very early closing of our borders to certain areas of the world. It was opposed by the Dems, ‘too soon’, but turned out to be the correct decision.”
He said that Democrats’ go-to talking point, no matter how the viral threat is handled, will be that “we are doing badly.”
In another tweet that came Wednesday morning, Trump again congratulated his administration for how it is handling the disease that has infected one American soldier in South Korea, according to a Tuesday night announcement, and the CDC has warned will inevitably begin circulating within U.S. borders.
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“Just landed,” Trump tweeted as he returned to the U.S. “India was great, trip very successful. Heading to the White House. Meetings and calls scheduled today. @CDCgov, @SecAzar and all doing a great job with respect to Coronavirus!”
Trump’s posts downplaying the coronavirus threat come as reports in South Korean media and the Los Angeles Times say a Korean Air cabin crew member who tested positive for the disease may have worked flights between Seoul and Los Angeles — a development that could have exposed Americans and people coming into America to the virus that takes up to 14 days after exposure to trigger symptoms, according to the CDC.
Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this report.