As fears concerning the coronavirus outbreak roiled monetary markets, U.S. political leaders grappled Monday with a public well being and financial maelstrom — in addition to considerations for their very own security.
The White House mentioned it’s “conducting enterprise as ordinary,” whereas Trump officers mentioned they’d the matter nicely in hand and charged political opponents with rooting for an financial collapse.
In a information convention Monday, Trump mentioned his administration will ask Congress to move payroll tax reduction, as he seems to be to calm monetary markets’ fears over the impression of the coronavirus epidemic.
Trump informed reporters that the administration was in search of “very substantial reduction.”
On Capitol Hill, at the very least 4 lawmakers had been in self-quarantine as discussions had been underway on methods to tackle the virus outbreak and financial volatility and maintain the federal government functioning.
After Trump refused to reply reporter questions on whether or not he had been examined for the virus, the White House issued an announcement late Monday night saying he had not.
“The President has not acquired COVID-19 testing as a result of he has neither had extended shut contact with any recognized confirmed COVID-19 sufferers, nor does he have any signs,” White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham mentioned in an announcement, referring to the illness brought on by the virus.
“President Trump stays in wonderful well being, and his doctor will proceed to intently monitor him.”
Trump lashes out
Trump dove in to shake palms with supporters Monday morning when arriving to headline a fundraiser in Longwood, Fla., that raised roughly $four million US for his re-election marketing campaign and the Republican Party. He ignored shouted questions concerning the plunging inventory market as he boarded Air Force One for the flight again to Washington.
In Monday morning tweets, Trump lashed out on the steep market drop and information that giant public gatherings had been being known as off as a result of of the virus.
“At this second there are 546 confirmed instances of coronavirus, with 22 deaths,” Trump tweeted, evaluating it to seasonal influenza and the hundreds of deaths that it causes. “Think about that!”
So final yr 37,000 Americans died from the frequent Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per yr. Nothing is shut down, life & the economic system go on. At this second there are 546 confirmed instances of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!
Scientists at this stage do not know what the loss of life charge of the brand new coronavirus really is and whether or not it’s going to wind up being about the identical as flu or worse.
At the identical time, administration officers had been insistent that they weren’t attempting to dismiss public considerations. “This is a really severe well being downside,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar informed Fox News.
At the Pentagon, officers have begun “social distancing” measures. On Monday, Defence Secretary Mark Esper’s common assembly with senior employees, which usually can be held face-to-face in a single room with 40 to 50 members, was damaged up into three rooms, with video-teleconferencing among the many rooms, in response to the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman. He mentioned Esper and the 15 to 20 folks in his room, together with Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sat at the very least six toes aside, in line with well being steering.
Trump has delegated a lot of the virus response to U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence, who joined Trump to offer an replace on the federal authorities’s virus response Monday afternoon with the nation’s governors.
On Capitol Hill, the place many lawmakers are older and have frequent fixed contact with the general public, leaders had been fielding questions from members and employees about how the advanced will probably be secured. Leaders have thus far proven little willingness to shut the Capitol, however conferences had been scheduled all through the day to debate preparations.
On Monday, Republican Reps. Doug Collins and Matt Gaetz put themselves into voluntary quarantine after publicity to an individual finally month’s Conservative Political Action Conference who later examined optimistic for the virus.
Both mentioned they didn’t have any signs however would wait out the rest of the 14 days for the reason that contact at house.
Gaetz travelled to Washington with Trump on Air Force One on Monday. Collins met Trump on Tuesday night time on the White House and shook palms with Trump on Friday when the president visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Atlanta headquarters.
A day earlier, Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar positioned themselves in quarantine after coming in contact with the identical individual on the conservative convention.
As nicely, Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley mentioned she met final week with an individual who has since been identified with the virus. She closed her workplace and mentioned she and her employees are “self-monitoring and sustaining social distancing practices.”
Vast numbers of guests come to the Hill, particularly at the moment of yr when advocacy teams prepare “fly-in” journeys to foyer and communicate to lawmakers, and faculty teams descend for excursions.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill had barely began to ponder the financial implications of the unfold of the virus and what is likely to be wanted to stimulate the economic system as folks began to cancel holidays and enterprise journeys and steer clear of shops. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is “exploring the chance of focused tax reduction measures that would present a well timed and efficient response to the coronavirus,” spokesman Michael Zona mentioned Monday.
“Everything’s on the desk,” Grassley informed reporters.
Democrats indicated they most popular different responses, like passing laws requiring employers to offer their staff paid sick go away — a longtime coverage precedence of Democrats — and further assist for these with decrease incomes.
“The greatest method to make sure financial safety for the American folks proper now’s to deal with the coronavirus itself, competent and full on,” mentioned Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “Something we’ve not but seen. Getting a deal with on the disaster and containing the unfold of the virus is by far one of the best ways to handle any results on the economic system.”
A day after saying it was “continuing as regular,” Trump’s marketing campaign cancelled a three-day Women for Trump bus tour throughout Michigan that included Mercedes Schlapp, the previous White House aide who’s married to the American Conservative Union chairman, Matt Schlapp.
Schlapp is below self-quarantine after he, too, was uncovered to the contaminated individual at CPAC. He launched Trump and greeted him with a handshake on stage earlier than the president spoke on Feb. 29.
“The president of the United States, as everyone knows, is sort of a hand washer,” Grisham informed Fox News. “He makes use of hand sanitizer on a regular basis. So he is not involved about this in any respect.”