24.11.2020

Coronavirus is a top priority for Trump – but not his biggest concern

Mr Trump mentioned the virus only briefly during a Tuesday evening event in the Rose Garden and focused on other topics during an event the next day in Atlanta.

“Things are coming back, and they’re coming back very rapidly – a lot sooner than people thought,” Trump said during a press conference that quickly morphed into a campaign event on Tuesday evening. “People are feeling good about our country. People are feeling good about therapeutics and possible vaccines.”

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The quickly spreading coronavirus is “a top priority” for Donald Trump, but it is not alone at the top of his list of daily agenda items, his top spokeswoman said.

“The president’s focusing on a lot,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday. “Covid is something we’re focused on. It’s a top priority. There are other things the president has to focus on.”

“He’s doing a lot of things at once,” she told reporters, “and that’s one of the great things about the Trump administration.”

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But tens of millions of people are still out of work, losing their jobs after the outbreak started.

Over 3.5m people have gotten the virus, and at least 137,000 people have died in the United States, which accounts for one-fourth of all global cases and deaths.

Democratic lawmakers and that party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, have criticised the president for what they call a slow and ineffective response.

Mr Biden has accused him of waving a “white flag” when it comes to Covid-19, even as cases, hospitalisations and deaths surge in many states. It was the president who pushed state and local officials to re-open their economies.

Twenty state governments have frozen or rolled back re-opening guidelines in recent weeks as more and more of their citizens have fallen ill.

For his part, the president held an event in the Rose Garden ostensibly about Hong Kong and China that became exclusively about his general election fight against former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday. The next day, he went to Atlanta to talk about rolling back environmental regulations to help speed infrastructure projects. And on Thursday afternoon, he is slated to talk about nixing other federal regulations.

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He has not had a coronavirus-themed event on his public schedule in weeks, though Ms McEnany claimed Thursday he is briefed daily on the topic.

Mr Trump recently said 99 per cent of virus cases are “totally harmless.”

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