President Trump defended his administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak as the 2020 Democratic contenders hammered him over his response at Tuesday night’s debate.
“CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus, 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 tweeted, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The tweet coincided with fierce criticism directed at the Trump administration’s handling of the outbreak from 2020 Democrats on the debate stage in Charleston, S.C.
“In the White House today, we have a self-described ‘great genius,'” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “This great genius has told us that this coronavirus is going to end in two months. April is the magical day that this great scientist in the White House has determined.”
Trump maintained that he would garner criticism from Democrats regardless of his response, calling the criticism “not fair.”
“No matter how well we do, however, the Democrats talking point is that we are doing badly. If the virus disappeared tomorrow, they would say we did a really poor, and even incompetent, job. Not fair, but it is what it is,” he tweeted.
The controversy over the government’s response to the coronavirus intensified Tuesday after stark warnings from U.S. health officials over the chances of an outbreak in the U.S.
“As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Tuesday.
“It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses,” she added. “Disruption to everyday life might be severe.”
On Monday, the administration said it would request $2.5 billion in emergency funding to address the virus. But lawmakers from both parties criticized the request as insufficient and said the administration is not doing enough to curb the risk of the virus spreading in the U.S.
“It seems to me at the outset that this request for the money, the supplemental, is lowballing it, possibly, and you can’t afford to do that,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a hearing on the agency’s budget request.
Over 77,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in China, where the outbreak first hit, but more than 2,000 cases have been identified in other countries. Fifty-seven cases have been confirmed in the U.S.