Two months after it emerged in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus has spread throughout Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, North America, and sub-Saharan Africa with nearly 84,000 cases worldwide.
The United States is scrambling to prepare for an outbreak that officials have deemed inevitable—but President Donald Trump and his staff are saying the concern is overblown.
On Wednesday, Trump accused the media of deliberately sensationalizing the virus to make him look bad. He spelled the name of the virus wrong in the process.
Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as p… https://t.co/bVSoM0VMFZ— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1582722201.0
Trump's acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney echoed those claims at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, when he said that the media was only covering the coronavirus to take down the President.
Here's Mike Mulvaney at CPAC characterizing coronavirus coverage as "an attempt to bring down the president" and bl… https://t.co/DkTqrVHCqU— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1582899599.0
Mulvaney said that the press had been too preoccupied with the impeachment trial of the President to cover the virus, before continuing:
"Why didn't you hear about it? The press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president...the reason that you're seeing so much attention to [coronavirus] today is that they think that this is going to be what brings down the President."
In reality, the media is likely to face challenges covering the virus because Vice President Mike Pence—whom Trump appointed as response director—must give permission before officials at the Center for Disease Control and National Institute of Health can release updates to the public, potentially slowing or censoring life saving information.
With that in mind, you can imagine why people weren't keen on Mulvaney's take.
If it weren't so terrifying, it would be interesting to watch how their post-truth constant political warfare world… https://t.co/u21dqriXSw— Ben Rhodes (@Ben Rhodes) 1582901656.0
This is what fascism looks like https://t.co/CmJfsYjD5w— Chrissy in the Dumbest Dystopia (@Chrissy in the Dumbest Dystopia) 1582901602.0
Yep. Just turn your TV off. Meanwhile, I've watched like 10% of my retirement account vanish in the past week becau… https://t.co/qlCq7SCCRT— Rob Glover (@Rob Glover) 1582906588.0
Yep, Jim Acosta pulled his money out of the stock market causing it to drop 14%. Mulvaney should know better. https://t.co/eAIg4vB0w1— stephen greene (@stephen greene) 1582907114.0
They’re so nuts. Don’t the people watching this see how the rest of the the world and the global financial sector i… https://t.co/XqzKdVjAs7— Bong Hits for Anti-Populism (@Bong Hits for Anti-Populism) 1582899826.0
This strategy is the Trump administration's specialty though, whether it's in response to impeachment or a pandemic.
This WH response is centered on 1) downplaying 2) misinforming 3) blaming and 4) cheering the markets. They’re not… https://t.co/W13e1HNcjE— james (@james) 1582906800.0
The Trump Admin tries to frame literally everything as a conspiracy against the President. We already have confirm… https://t.co/oVESqLv5kR— Ahmed Baba (@Ahmed Baba) 1582903387.0
It was just a matter of time before they went this route. This or it's real and created by the "deep state"to hurt… https://t.co/JpsSElaBrj— Robert Daniels (@Robert Daniels) 1582907080.0
Accurate information among the populace is a key component of containing the virus, and this administration can't be trusted to deliver that.