As Trump downplays threat of coronavirus, Sen. Ted Cruz self-quarantines

by | Mar 9, 2020 | Policy, Public Health

Even after one of Donald Trump’s closest Senate allies, Ted Cruz, announced he would be self-quarantining after making contact with someone with coronavirus, President Trump continues to wave away concerns about the virus. 

In a tweet on Monday, Trump again implied that the threat of coronavirus was merely a political attack by Democrats.

“The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation,” Trump wrote.

Later that same morning, Trump again minimized the threat of the virus by comparing it to the common flu. At a rally a week earlier, Trump called the coronavirus the Democrat’s “new hoax” after the Russia investigation. 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has more than doubled over the weekend, from 260 on Friday to 566 on Monday, according to NPR. The latest tally in Texas is 22 confirmed cases, largely within the Houston area region. 

There have been some concerns by journalists that the Trump administration has kept those numbers artificially low, either because of an incompetently slow rollout in testing or because confirming more cases would be politically damaging to Trump — late last week, the president said, “I like the numbers being where they are.” 

As Texas Republicans push the epidemic as an excuse to ramp up border security, Democratic leadership is pressuring the Trump administration to introduce paid sick leave for those infected with the virus as well as offer widespread, free testing. Democrats have also introduced an $8 billion emergency coronavirus funding package, $3 billion of which would be slated for developing treatments. 

The coronavirus, which the majority of voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of, is just the tip of the iceberg for Trump’s problems this month.

Aside from the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has unnerved markets and is threatening trillions in economic output around the globe, Trump is also facing an all-out crude oil price war from Saudia Arabia. Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia increased and cheapened its oil, leading to a 30 percent crash in the price of oil on Sunday and the tumbling of global stock markets.

The drop in price for crude oil threatens thousands of jobs across Texas, where Trump’s net approval rating has decreased by 13 percentage points since taking office.

Photo: Steven Ryan/Getty Images

fernando@texassignal.com | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at fernando@texassignal.com

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