Trump Dismisses The Severity Of COVID-19 After Increased Testing

Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, refused Sunday to comment on President Donald Trump’s inaccurate claim that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases “are totally harmless.”

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Hahn, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said he was “not going to get into who’s right and who is wrong” when pressed repeatedly about Trump’s comments Saturday. But he called the virus and recent surge in cases “a serious problem that we have.”

“We must do something to stem the tide,” he said, “and we have this in our power to do it by following the guidance from the White House task force and the CDC.”

“People need to take it seriously,” he added.

Hahn was pressed on Trump’s remarks during an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” as well. He said the White House task force is “certainly concerned” about the rapid rise in cases across the Sun Belt. He added that the situation is “a little bit different” from what the country saw in March and April because confirmed cases are increasing among younger Americans and the U.S. has new tools to handle outbreaks.

“Well, what I’d say is, you know, any case we don’t want to have in this country,” he said. “This is a very rapidly moving epidemic, rapidly moving pandemic, and any death, any case is tragic. And we want to do everything we can to prevent that.”

What Did Trump Actually Say?

President Donald Trump on Saturday criticized American progressives, protesters, and the media as he celebrated the Fourth of July with a “Salute to America” on the White House South Lawn.

“We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing,” Trump said.

Trump lashed out at the protests, which a majority of Americans support and that continue more than a month after Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody.

“We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statutes, erase our history, indoctrinate our children or trample our freedoms,” Trump said. “We will safeguard our values, traditions, customs, and beliefs.”

Statues of Confederate leaders who fought for slavery have been a major target of demonstrators’ takedowns, and Trump said Saturday that the media has participated in desecration by slandering those who died fighting the Civil War.

“You slander their memory by insisting they fought for oppression and racism,” Trump said. “You slander people much braver and more principled than you.”

Donald Trump, who no longer refers to COVID-19 as ‘China virus’ has yet again condemned China.

“China must be held fully accountable,” he said.

Trump promised a vaccine “long before the end of the year,” an optimistic estimate shared by few medical experts.

He wrapped up his address by saying, “Our country is in great shape.”

Politicians React To Trump’s Statements

In an interview with “State of the Union,” Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler, a Democrat, said Trump’s claim “makes me angry.”

“You know, I understand he has a tough job, but it is dangerous not to be sending a clear message to Americans, to folks in my town,” Adler said. “We have the July 4 weekend, and we need everybody wearing masks. And when they start hearing that kind of ambiguous message coming out of Washington, there are more and more people that won’t wear masks, that won’t social distance, that won’t do what it takes to keep a community safe. And that’s wrong, and it’s dangerous.

“I just have to hope that people aren’t going to listen to that and they will stay focused on what they’re hearing here more locally,” he added.

On infections in his city, Adler said: “If we don’t change the trajectory, then I am within two weeks of having our hospitals overrun. And in our ICUs, I could be 10 days away from that.”

On “This Week,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a Republican, said, “It’s clear that the growth is exponential at this point.”

“You know, we’ve been breaking record after record after record all — the last couple of weeks,” he said.

“It’s tough for him any time, and every time, really, he’s not talking about issues related to the economy or to safety or to public health,” former Gov. Scott Walker said in an interview when asked whether Trump’s handling of the pandemic and recent remarks like his stated desire to “slow down” testing for the virus were jeopardizing his chances of winning again in Wisconsin.

“This is going to be a referendum on the president, and it’s going to be a referendum based on the three things that people are worried about right now: their health, the health of the economy, and how safe things are in the state,” Walker said. “They’ve got to really continue addressing those three issues.”

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