Trump to hold White House press conference on coronavirus updates
President Trump announced that he will be hosting a press conference at the White House on Saturday afternoon to provide updates on the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump said he would speak at the White House at 1:30 p.m. ET, shortly before he is scheduled to make an appearance at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
I will be having a 1:30 P.M. Press Conference at the White House to discuss the latest CoronaVirus developments. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 29, 2020
Trump last formally addressed the spreading coronavirus during a press conference Wednesday at the White House, when he announced that Vice President Pence would be leading the administration’s response to the deadly virus.
The announcement came amid criticism from Democrats who claim the administration’s response to the spreading disease is inadequate.
More than 60 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., with the majority from repatriated Americans from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that four cases of coronavirus that do not appear to be travel-related have been discovered in Western states.
Those cases — in California, Oregon and Washington state — have raised concerns about the potential for the virus to spread within communities.
Trump went after the news media and Democrats during a rally in South Carolina on Friday night, accusing them of unfairly criticizing his response to the virus.
“The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus,” he told the crowd.
“One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia. That didn’t work out too well,” Trump continued. “They tried the impeachment hoax.”
“This is their new hoax,” he said, apparently referring to Democrats’ criticism of the official coronavirus response.
White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney earlier Friday similarly accused the press of being too preoccupied with impeachment to cover the virus.
“Why didn’t you hear about it? What was going on four or five weeks ago? Impeachment. That’s all the press wanted to talk about.” Mulvaney said. “The press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president.”
Trump has defended his administration’s handling of the virus while seeking to limit widespread concern about the outbreak.
During the Wednesday press conference, he repeatedly said he did not think an outbreak was “inevitable,” while Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, described it as not a matter of “if,” but “when.”
“It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses,” Messonnier said. “Disruption to everyday life might be severe.