The president used his second revived coronavirus briefings in as many nights to again said he and his team have done a stellar job fighting the virus, despite months of harsh critiques from medical experts and Democratic lawmakers.
He said the protests “triggered” a broader relaxation of some mitigation efforts, as well as young people gathering at bars and on beaches. He also blames the US “sharing a 2000-mile border with Mexico, and cases are surging in Mexico.”
The implication is sick people, or asymptomatic individuals, are flowing into the United States from that country. Yet, Mr Trump is sending federal border officers, among others, to cities like Portland and Chicago to deal with violence there.
Donald Trump, who has consistently deflected blame for the coronavirus outbreak, on Wednesday evening pinned a surge of cases and deaths in America’s Sun Belt states on protesters, Mexico and young bar patrons.
Amid a national debate about opening schools for the fall term, Mr Trump said he is comfortable sending his young son back to soon, as well as his grandchildren.
Asked if he plans to publish a national plans to help local officials get classrooms running this fall, Mr Trump put the onus on those officials and governors.
The president again said he wants the country’s schools “100 per cent open” this fall, and contended his administration has data that school-age children do not contract the virus or pass it easily.
That flies in the face of what many health experts have said for months.
The president began his briefing by thanking federal and private-sector experts who are working on a vaccine – applause that comes before any company or agency has proven any of the experimental drugs will inoculate anyone from coronavirus.
“The light is starting to shine,” Mr Trump said, reverting to his optimistic tone after sounding more measured on Tuesday evening. “We will get there very quickly.”
The night before, the president said the Sun Belt outbreak will “get worse before it gets better.”
The president continued to brag about the US testing rate, saying over 50m tests have been administered.
‘I take no responsibility’
There are now at least 141, 000 people in America who have died from the virus and at least 3.9m cases. The United States has added nearly 1m cases in just two weeks, most in the Sun Belt region.
States down south and out west that opened in May and June, their GOP governors under pressure from the president, have driven that eye-popping surge in cases.
But, as he did again on Wednesday evening, the president has sought either share blame for the months-long outbreak and now the Sun Belt spike or pin it on others.
Notably, for the second consecutive night, the president was in the briefing room for only a short while – a departure from the wild coronavirus briefings he conducted in the spring, which could last almost two hours and created political headaches for Mr Trump and his White House and campaign aides.
His expected general election foe, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama this week sharply critcised Mr Trump in a coming joint campaign video.
“Can you imagine standing up when you were president and saying, ‘It’s not my responsibility. I take no responsibility.’ Literally. Literally,” Mr Biden says to his former boss, who replies: “Those words didn’t come out of our mouths when we were in office.”