‘I’m surprised he’s even heard of us’: Wales hits back after Trump criticises country’s coronavirus response

“I look forward to welcoming Joe Biden here as next president of the United States,” says Plaid Cymru leader

Colin Drury
Friday 09 October 2020 16:31
Chief Medical Officer for Wales warns people not to listen to Donald Trump's coronavirus advice

As a US president currently fighting an election during a pandemic that has killed 211,000 citizens and caused an economic meltdown of unprecedented magnitude, one might assume Donald Trump would be looking to improve his own coronavirus record ahead of polling day.

Instead, in the early hours of Thursday morning, the leader of the free world took to social media to share a post criticising the response of … Wales.

Now, political leaders and campaigners in the land of the dragon have hit back.

Mr Trump retweeted Fox News presenter Laura Ingraham, who, alongside a story about a potential winter of rolling lockdowns initiated by Cardiff, had written: “Your future under Biden”.

But people here were quick to point out that, actually, such a future may not be considered such a bad thing  by many Americans.

“You’d probably be looking at a lot less people dying, wouldn’t you?” said Sion Jobbins, co-founder of Yes Cymru, an independence campaign group. 

“Like quite a lot of people I’m actually surprised that Donald Trump has even heard of Wales – and I’d be even more surprised if he has a detailed grasp of the situation here. I’m not convinced he’s got a detailed grasp of it in America, to be honest."

For comparison, the US has recorded 645.06 coronavirus deaths per 1 million people. Wales – where there are some 16 local lockdowns currently in place – has a corresponding rate of just 520.8. A total of 1,630 people have died here after being diagnosed with the virus.

“If Donald Trump and Fox News are now criticising Wales then clearly Wales is doing something right,” Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru, told The Independent.

“No country in the world is going to take public health lessons from President Trump – and certainly not Wales, as the birthplace of the NHS which gave the world the model of a national health service.”

He suggested that given Joe Biden was born in Scranton – the Pennsylvania city with a long Welsh history – many in the country were “rooting” for him to win the election.

“I look forward to welcoming Joe Biden to Wales as the next president of the United States,” he added.

Ms Ingraham’s tweet was initially posted after Frank Atherton, Wales’ chief medical officer, said earlier this week that the country could be "going in and out of those restrictions over the next few months".

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