Calling it an "outbreak that started in China" and a "foreign virus," the racist in the White House took to prime time television tonight to address COVID-19 and tell everyone the economy is doing just great, that the reason it's doing great is him, and that because of the great economy, we have some flexibility in dealing with the coronavirus and can help out workers and small businesses.
Oh yeah, also all travel from Europe is banned, including cargo and goods, as if that makes any sense. "To keep new cases from coming to our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight," he said. But even more confusingly, the United Kingdom is exempt from the travel ban. Basically, it was a really long way of saying, "Fuck off, Italy," in the same way he'd told China to fuck off when he instituted that travel ban last month.
He also said there are very few cases of coronavirus in the US right now, even though we literally do not know how many cases there are.
He has been saying for weeks that anyone who wants to get tested can get tested, which is absolutely not true. Tonight, inadvertently confirming that he's been lying about that, Trump said, "Testing capabilities are expanding rapidly, day by day." (If anyone who wanted to get tested could already, there would be no need to expand testing capabilities.)
Outlining what he called "strong but necessary actions to protect the health and well-being" of the United States, Trump also said:
• He met with health insurance companies this week and they agreed to waive copayments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and prevent surprise medical billing.
• "We are cutting massive amounts of red tape to make anti-viral treatments available in record time."
• "This is not a financial crisis, this is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world." (Oh, okay then!)
• "Will be asking congress to take legislative action to extend relief to workers who are home sick..." Oh great! Leave it up to Congress, that well-oiled machine where everything gets done in record time.
• "I am instructing the Small Business Administration to exercise available authority to provide capital and liquidity to firms affected by the coronavirus. Effective immediately, the SBA will begin providing economic loans in affected states and territories. These low-interest loans will help small businesses overcome temporary economic disruptions caused by the virus." He added that he's asked Congress to increase funding for this program by an additional $50 billion.
• "Using emergency authority, I will be instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interest or penalties for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted. This action will provide an additional $250 billion of liquidity to the economy."
• "Finally, I am calling on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief. Hopefully they will consider this very strongly." Oh good, yeah, ask away! Hopefully they will consider it! I'm so glad this is "not a financial crisis." I feel better already, boss.
Then he said, with a straight face, "We must put politics aside, put partisanship aside, and unify."
He added, toward the end of his remarks, "We made a life-saving move with early action on China. Now we take similar action with Europe." Except, you know, the whole United Kingdom loophole (so, wait, can someone fly to Heathrow and then fly from there to us?). And of course that other little tiny issue, which is that the virus is already here.
You can watch his address here: