Schumer slams Trump's Rose Garden briefing on China as 'pathetic'

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday Top intelligence officials to brief Gang of Eight on Thursday Over 1700 veterans ask Senate to pass statehood bill MORE (N.Y.) ripped President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE’s Rose Garden briefing Friday as “pathetic” after the president only discussed U.S. relations with China and made no mention of the number of American coronavirus deaths or the social strife that has rocked cities around the country in recent days.

“President Trump’s Rose Garden event just now was pathetic. It perfectly encapsulates his inability to lead when our nation needs it most. The only question is whether President Trump is afraid to lead or just doesn’t know how,” Schumer said in a statement.

Schumer noted the number of COVID-19-related deaths in the United States has surpassed 100,000 and continues to rise while 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic.

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The Democratic leader also alluded to the recent high-profile deaths of African Americans in Georgia, Louisville, Ky., and Minneapolis, which have sparked protests around the country.  

“Our communities are hurting from senseless murders and years of racism and injustice. But President Trump is only interested in scapegoating and divisiveness when he should be leading,” Schumer said.

The statement appeared to take a swipe at Trump’s controversial tweet Friday morning in which he threatened to send in the National Guard to Minneapolis to restore order, warning “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Twitter later appended a message to Trump’s tweet warning that it violated the company’s “policies regarding the glorification of violence.”

Trump’s 10-minute news event Friday afternoon, however, was focused on China’s trade policies and its growing control of Hong Kong, which critics say violates the agreement China struck with Britain in 1997 to allow the colonial territory 50 years of autonomy, the so-called “one country, two systems” framework.

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Trump said as a result of the Chinese government’s growing power over Hong Kong, the former British colony “is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment we have afforded the territory since the handover.”

He said he would direct his administration to being the process of eliminating preferences that give Hong Kong special treatment. He said the administration would also revoke Hong Kong’s status as a separate travel and customs territory from the rest of China. 

Trump was flanked by Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHouse postpones testimony from key Pompeo aide about IG firing The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democratic proposal to extend 0 unemployment checks Pompeo pushes back on Russian bounty reports MORE, Secretary of Treasury Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHouse votes unanimously to extend deadline for coronavirus small-business loan program Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Mark Penn The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks MORE and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.

The president did not take any questions from the press after his announcement. 

Trump also announced that the United States would end its relationship with the World Health Organization for not being more critical of Chinese reports about the extent of the coronavirus spread within its borders and would redirect U.S. funding to other organizations.