President Trump is facing criticism from within his own administration over his handling of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
White House officials have privately expressed their position that some of Trump’s remarks since the outbreak hit the U.S. have exacerbated panic in the country, the Washington Post reported Monday. Those remarks include Trump’s comments about the Grand Princess cruise ship, recently docked in Oakland, Calif., aboard which 19 crew members and two passengers tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Do I want to bring all those people off? People would like me to do it,” Trump said at a press conference on Friday. “I would rather have them stay on, personally . . . I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”
Maryland governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, criticized the administration over contradictory messages on the response to the outbreak.
Trump’s statements “sometimes conflict with the information we’re getting from the rest of the administration,” Hogan told the Post. “He at times just says whatever comes to mind or tweets, then someone on TV is saying the opposite,” the governor added. “It’s critically important that the message is straightforward and fact-based for the public.”
Other officials have expressed frustration with Trump’s unwillingness to listen to those in his administration who bring bad news.
“It’s a clearly difficult situation when the top wants to hear certain answers,” one former official told Politico. “That can make it difficult for folks to express their true assessment — even the most experienced and independent minds.”
Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson on Monday also delivered his own criticism of Republicans who he said were downplaying the threat from coronavirus.
“People you trust, people you probably voted for, have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem,” Carlson said. “”It’s just partisan politics,’ they say. ‘Calm down. In the end this was just like the flu and people die from that every year. Coronavirus will pass.'”
“We get it. But they’re wrong,” Carlson added. “It’s definitely not just the flu.”