President Donald Trump: I think Speaker Nancy Pelosi's incompetent
President Trump talks coronavirus concerns in the U.S. and responds to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comment that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He
Around noon Wednesday, the CDC had confirmed 60 coronavirus cases in the U.S., a majority of which came from passengers repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan.
The agency also confirmed the first possible “community spread” of the coronavirus in the U.S., found in a patient in California. The CDC doesn’t know exactly how the patient contracted the virus.
From its epicenter in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province, the virus has spread to nearly every corner of the globe, killing more than 2,700 people and infecting tens of thousands more.
Hours before the presser was scheduled to begin, Politico reported that the White House was considering appointing a coronavirus czar. The White House denied the report, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that he didn’t anticipate a czar being appointed.
“Mike’s not a czar,” Trump said when asked about his decision to put Pence in charge of the response to the coronavirus. “This isn’t a czar … I have very talented people. I want to use them on this.”
Azar told reporters in the briefing room that he is still the chairman of the coronavirus task force. He said he is “delighted” to have Pence “helping” him on the plan.
Trump has rarely appeared in the James S. Brady Briefing Room, where White House press secretaries have traditionally fielded questions from the press. The last official press briefing, however, was nearly a year ago during the tenure of former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The current press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, has never held an official press briefing.
The Trump administration has taken numerous steps in response to the virus, such as declaring a public health emergency and imposing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines. And White House officials, along with Trump himself, have worked to ease fears of a pandemic that have rattled governments and investors around the world.
Azar testified before Congress on Wednesday that the administration’s response to the coronavirus “has been the smoothest interagency process I’ve experienced in my 20 years of dealing with public health emergencies.”
A day earlier, National Economic Director Larry Kudlow told CNBC that “We have contained this. I won’t say [it’s] airtight, but it’s pretty close to airtight.”
Kudlow’s comments contrasted with a CDC official who said that “Current global circumstances suggest it’s likely this virus will cause a pandemic.”
The administration’s comments have failed to calm markets in recent trading sessions, however. Stocks plunged Monday and Tuesday in the largest two-day sell-off in years. After initially clawing back some ground on Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average once again fell into the red to end the trading session.
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