President Trump in an early morning tweet on Sunday accused the “Fake News Media” of attempting to “make us look bad” on the administration’s coronavirus response.
The president called the White House’s plan to combat the growing outbreak in the U.S. “perfectly coordinated and fine tuned.”
“We moved VERY early to close borders to certain areas, which was a Godsend,” he tweeted. “V.P. is doing a great job. The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad. Sad!”
We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus. We moved VERY early to close borders to certain areas, which was a Godsend. V.P. is doing a great job. The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad. Sad!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2020
It was unclear what prompted the president’s tweet.
His administration has faced criticism over its response to the spreading virus, with health experts saying it has struggled to balance keeping the public calm and informed. Those experts said the public was left unprepared for the virus, The New York Times reported.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced in front of the Senate on Feb. 13 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had begun working with five cities that were ready to begin testing for the coronavirus.
But the CDC pushed back when Azar sent the agency his prepared comments because the cities were not prepared, and the tests were not working, according to The Washington Post.
In addition to the malfunctioning tests, the administration had narrowed testing to those who had visited China or come in contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient. Only about a dozen labs outside the CDC could test for the virus at the end of February, further limiting the number of people who have been tested so far to 1,583.
The president himself has made statements that conflict with experts, such as saying the virus being “very much under control in the USA” in late February. Trump claimed on Friday that “anybody that needs a test, gets a test,” contradicting other administration officials.
The coronavirus has killed at least 17 people in the U.S. and infected more than 430 people, with cases extending to 28 states. Worldwide, more than 107,000 people have contracted the coronavirus, leading to more than 3,600 deaths and more than 60,000 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University data.