Coronavirus: Trump tells ousted service workers ‘money will soon be coming to you’ as stocks dive

President repeats description of super bug as 'Chinese Virus'

John T. Bennett
Wednesday 18 March 2020 15:22 GMT
Sanders proposes $2,000 for every American household during coronavirus crisis

Donald Trump on Wednesday assured Americans out of work because of the coronavirus outbreak the federal government "soon" will be sending them some extra cash, but US stock markets soon tumbled again.

"For the people that are now out of work because of the important and necessary containment policies, for instance the shutting down of hotels, bars and restaurants, money will soon be coming to you," the president tweeted.

Shortly after Mr Trump's social media post, US markets again headed south. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off over 1,000 points again by 10:50 a.m., and the S&P 500 had lost over 100 points.

The president has tried to use what had been record-high markets as a top reason voters should give him a second term. On Tuesday, he sidestepped questions about the markets, saying he is exclusively focused on ending the virus outbreak even as his team negotiations several emergency aid bills with Congress, including a massive stimulus bill.

Mr Trump's post came a day after he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the government could pay Americans as much as $1,000 to help stave off an economic slowdown from the coronavirus outbreak.

Bars and restaurants in many places have been shutdown or moved to takeout and delivery service only. The idea is to keep people spread out so the virus is not further spread.

"We're looking at sending checks to Americans immediately. And what we've heard from hardworking Americans, many companies have now shut down -- whether it's bars or restaurants," Mr Mnuchin said during a Tuesday White House press briefing. "Americans need cash now, and the President wants to get cash now."

Mr Mnuchin signalled the Treasury Department soon could start mailing out the stimulus payments.

"And I mean now, in the next two weeks," he said.

The president the next morning, as he has said about expected federal help for affected corporations like Boeing, that he wants to make the payments to Americans because "The onslaught of the Chinese Virus is not your fault!"

It was the second time in as many days he has used what some Democrats see as a racial slur to describe the virus, which originated in that country's Wuhan province.

Pressed on Tuesday about whether he worries the term creates a "stigma," Mr Trump did what he often does: he blamed the recipient of one of his controversial statements.

"Well, China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. That was false," he said. "And rather than having an argument, I said I have to call it where it came from; it did come from China. So I think it's a very accurate term."

Some of Mr Trump's top aides, like National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, have accused the government in Beijing of knowing the virus was loose in Wuhan. He recently accused the Chinese government of a cover up, not informing other countries that it was spreading and could affect their countries.

According to The Johns Hopkins University, that was 204,277 global cases and 8,246 deaths ago (as of 10:23 a.m. EDT).

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