Amid coronavirus crisis, Trump spreads unproven claim Democratic mayor was involved in 'sex orgy'

US president spends Saturday morning sharing posts by right-wing pundit Candace Owens

Tom Embury-Dennis
Saturday 14 March 2020 12:58
Comments
Donald Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus pandemic

Amid an unprecedented health crisis due to coronavirus, Donald Trump has begun spreading unproven suggestions a former Democratic mayor was involved in a drug-fuelled "sex orgy".

The US president spent part of Saturday morning sharing posts by Candace Owens, a right-wing pundit, which attacked Andrew Gillum over an incident in a Florida hotel room on Thursday.

Mr Gillum, a former candidate for governor in Florida, was found "inebriated" in the room when police responded to a cardiac arrest call for another individual there.

When they arrived, police found Mr Gillum and a friend “under the influence of an unknown substance” and transported the friend to a local hospital. Mr Gillum was apparently too inebriated to answer questions, but was not taken to the hospital.

Police found clear plastic baggies in the room that police suspect was crystal meth.

The posts retweeted by Mr Trump cast doubt on Mr Gillum's claim he was simply drunk following a wedding and had never taken methamphetamines. The tweets also included unverified accusations of "nudity and puking", and that a "sex orgy" was suspected.

Mr Gillum issued a statement on Friday apologising for the incident.

“I was in Miami last night for a wedding celebration when first responders were called to assist one of my friends. While I had too much to drink, I want to be clear that I have never used methamphetamines. I apologise to the people of Florida for the distraction this has caused our movement,” Mr Gillum wrote.

He went on to thank Miami beach paramedics and said he planned to “spend the next few weeks with my family and [would] appreciate privacy during this time.”

There does appear to be some conflict in Mr Gillum’s statement and of that given by Mr Dyson. In an interview with the Miami New Times, his friend said he did not know anything about a wedding.

Mr Trump's intervention over the events in Florida came just hours after he announced on Friday a national emergency over the spread of coronavirus.

After weeks of playing down the severity of the illness, which has claimed thousands of lives globally, Mr Trump made the move in order to free up money and resources to fight it.

The House later approved legislation to provide direct relief to Americans suffering physically, financially and emotionally from the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am officially declaring a national emergency," said Mr Trump, unleashing as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the crisis.

Trump also announced a range of executive actions, including a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities with drive-through locations, as Washington tries to subdue the new virus whose spread is roiling markets, shuttering institutions and disrupting the lives of everyday Americans.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in