Coronavirus: Trump reverses and now says Easter will be highest spike in US with deaths not dropping until June

President hammers Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden in phone interview-turned-campaign rally

John T. Bennett
Washington
Monday 30 March 2020 14:10
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Trump reverses and now says Easter will be highest spike in US with deaths not dropping until June

Donald Trump said Monday that US officials expect the number of coronavirus cases in the United States to "spike" around Easter Sunday, a reversal from his talk of opening much of the country by 12 April.

The president, during a morning call-in interview with Fox News, continued his focus on the American death toll, saying this: "By a little short of June, maybe June 1m, we think ... the death will be ... brought down to a very low number."

Despite revising his own timeline for the virus spread subsiding on US soil, Mr Trump claimed the country is "getting close" to "winning" what he again called a "war" against the COVID-19 disease outbreak.

That came as his top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, was back on television saying there could be up to 100,000 deaths from the virus inside the United States.

"We have a very low morality rate," Mr Trump said. "And there are reasons for that."

He contended that had his administration not taken certain steps, like banning travellers from China, 2.2m Americans could have died. (The US death toll now is over 2,000.)

Two days after he floated a quarantine and strict travel restrictions for New York City, and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, the president knocked down a question about closing airports to help stop the virus's spread. "We're looking at opening things up before closing" down more public gathering spaces. Without explaining, he said closing things like airports would be too difficult, suggesting the economic hit would be too high.

A day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Mr Trump's early response to warnings the virus was headed to the United States "deadly," the president called the California Democrat a "sick puppy."

"She's got a lot of problems, in my opinion," he said without providing details of those alleged issues. "There's something wrong with the woman."

The president then slammed San Francisco, where Ms Pelosi lives, calling it a "slum" and saying the federal government might take control of the region to address its alleged problems.

Trump calls Pelosi a 'sick puppy' for attacking him

The president appeared in full campaign mode as he cannot hold his signature rallies, contending "Sleepy Joe wouldn't even know what was going on." That was a dig at former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee whom Mr Trump contends is mentally feeble.

The "Fox & Friends" co-hosts were in campaign mode, as well, asking Mr Trump about high approval ratings for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over his handling of the virus outbreak there. The president responded that Mr Cuomo has only been able to respond to the outbreak in the manner he has because of federal help that he green-lit. He also said he would "love" to run against the New York governor in a presidential general election.

In yet another stunning moment of his term, Mr Trump appeared to claim the United States should have a more confrontational relationship with Germany and a closer one with Russia because the then-Soviet Union lost "50 million people" fighting on the side of the United States – against then-Nazi Germany. "No one talks about that," he said, leaving out the US-Soviet Cold War that followed that world war.

He told the conservative news network's morning show he would be speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the "Fox & Friends" interview. Mr Trump has been criticised for at times appearing to carry out Mr Putin's whims, even though his administration has put sanctions on Russians over its 2016 election meddling.

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