Trump offers support for those who have lost family due to coronavirus

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE on Tuesday offered support for people who have lost loved ones from the novel coronavirus that has wreaked havoc on the country and sent shockwaves through the nation's economy, saying his administration is focused on getting "this enemy defeated."

During an interview on "World News Tonight," ABC News anchor David Muir noted that more than 70,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus — more than in the Vietnam War — and questioned Trump on his message for affected families.

“I want to say I love you. I want to say that we’re doing everything we can,” Trump said. “I want to just say to the people that have lost family ... and the people that have suffered so badly and just made it, just made it, that we love you. We’re with you. We’re working with you.” 

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The president acknowledged that while many are pushing to reopen states and get parts of the economy moving again, it would do little to ease the pain of those who have lost loved ones to the virus. More than 71,000 people in the U.S. have died as a result of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“You can never really come close to replacing, when you’ve lost someone, no matter how well we do next year — I think our economy is going to be raging, it’s going to be so good — no matter how well, those people can never, ever replace somebody they love,” Trump said. “And to the people that have lost someone, there is nobody — I don’t sleep at nights thinking about it — there is nobody that’s taking it harder than me.”

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Trump has caught flak for the administration's response to the pandemic from critics who claim he has not adequately acknowledged the tens of thousands of Americans who have died from the disease in a few short months.

Multiple pieces from outlets such as HuffPost and left-leaning The New Republic in recent days highlighted what they called a "lack of empathy" from the president for those battling the deadly virus, seeing a vacancy in the role of consoler in chief amid a major national tragedy.

Multiple analyses of Trump’s once-daily press conferences showed the president spent a small fraction of the time conveying condolences for victims’ families, instead defending his administration's efforts to combat the disease.

The New York Times in a story published last week noted that Trump had largely left the "grieving to others" as he focuses on the coronavirus’s political ramifications.

Trump has beat back against criticism of his coronavirus response, calling the broadsides “fake news” and lamenting that he is being unfairly treated. 

“Look, I am greeted with a hostile press the likes of which no president has ever seen,” he said during a Fox News town hall on Sunday. “The closest would be that gentleman right up there. They always said Lincoln — nobody got treated worse than Lincoln. I believe I am treated worse.”