Amid growing fears of a coronavirus outbreak in the United States, Donald Trump Jr. accused Democrats on Friday of hoping that the disease kills millions of Americans to thwart his father’s chances of reelection.
“Anything that they can use to try to hurt Trump, they will,” Trump Jr. said on “Fox & Friends.” “Anything he does in a positive sense ... they will not give him credit for. The playbook is old at this point. But for them to try to take a pandemic and seemingly hope that it comes here and kills millions of people so that they could end Donald Trump’s streak of winning is a new level of sickness.”
Congressional Democrats and some Republicans have criticized the Trump administration — which slashed spending for epidemic preparedness in its first budget — for lack of preparedness for the coronavirus outbreak, but there are no reports of Democrats rooting for people to die from it.
There has been speculation in the media that a prolonged stock market downturn — the Dow Jones has lost more than 3,000 points this week — could hurt Trump’s reelection bid, although Trump himself has used stock prices as a barometer of the success of his economic policies.
The comments by the president’s son echo those of Trump supporters, like radio host Rush Limbaugh, who told his listeners that alarmism about the coronavirus is part of a partisan plot to bring down President Trump.
Rep. John Garamendi, a Democrat who represents the Northern California district where a woman has fallen ill with the respiratory disease caused by the virus, was asked by MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson to respond to Trump Jr.
“He shouldn’t be near me when he says that,” Garamendi said. “There would be a serious altercation.”
“That’s just totally outrageous,” the congressman continued. “I can assure you there’s not a Democrat or Republican in Congress that wants anybody to be sick.”
“Don Jr. better not get any place close to me,” he added. “It would not be a healthy situation.”
The Trump administration has faced bipartisan criticism over its response to the coronavirus, which has sickened 83,105 people around the world and killed 2,858.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 1,200 points on Thursday, the largest one-day drop in history, after Trump failed to calm the markets during a meandering press conference about his administration’s efforts to combat the disease. According to the Rasmussen Reports, Trump’s job approval rating fell 5 points in the past 24 hours.
While there have been just 60 confirmed cases of the disease in the United States, the case in Garamendi’s district appears to be the first in the nation of “community transmission” — meaning the patient didn’t appear to contract the virus from foreign travel or a known infected individual.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday that some 8,400 people in the state were being monitored for signs of the disease.
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