President Donald Trump is “furious” that the stock market plunged amid coronavirus fears despite his attempts to downplay the risk of outbreak, The Washington Post reports.
The Dow Jones fell by more than 1,000 points on Monday and by nearly 900 points on Tuesday despite Trump’s claim that the stock market was “looking good.”
Trump has “encouraged aide” not to provide any updates that may cause further alarm and blamed the media for stoking panic over the virus, which now threatens to infect up to 70% of the world population according to some estimates.
Trump’s frustration was stoked by updates from the Centers for Disease Control, complaining that their warnings “spooked investors.”
Trump under fire for lack of preparation:
Trump’s administration was slammed by Republicans on Tuesday after a briefing and a hearing on the virus.
"You're the secretary, I think you ought to know that answer," exclaimed Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy after acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf failed to provide an estimate of the threat the virus poses.
"At this stage, I think we are substantially underinvesting in what would be appropriate for a setting which could be serious," said Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. "I think we should be pulling out all the stops."
"This is not the time to try to shortchange the American people. This is the time to step up," added Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby.
Despite criticism from Republicans, the White House blamed Democrats for politicizing the response.
“Unfortunately what we are seeing today is a political effort by the Left and some in the media to distract and disturb the American people with fearful rhetoric and palace intrigue,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement. “The United States economy is the strongest in the world thanks to the leadership and policies of President Trump. The virus remains low risk domestically because of the containment actions taken by this Administration since the first of the year.”
CDC says outbreak now inevitable:
"It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday.
"The immediate risk to the general American public remains low. But, as we have warned, that has the potential to change quickly,” added Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. "The fact that we have been able to keep cases to this low level is an accomplishment, especially given that we are, unfortunately, beginning to see community spread in a growing number of other countries.”