President Donald Trump asked the media on Saturday not to create a panic surrounding the coronavirus after confirming the news that one woman in the United States infected with the virus had died.
“I’d like to just ask, and caution that the media, we would respectfully ask the media, and politicians, and everybody else involved not to do anything to incite a panic because there’s no reason to panic at all,” Trump said.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke to reporters in the White House press briefing room on Saturday, confirming the death of a woman in Washington state from the virus and offered their condolences.
“She was a wonderful woman, a medically high-risk patient, in her late 50s,” Trump said about the woman who died.
“We want to assure that family that they’re on the hearts of every American, and those that are continuing to struggle, and in some’s cases in ICU units, can be assured of the prayers of millions of Americans,” Pence added.
Trump said that government officials were working “around the clock” to respond to the virus threat.
“For that reason, I really would wish that we could really, that we could report exactly what’s happened, how well we’re doing under quite adverse circumstances, but we’re doing really well,” he said.
The president also warded off criticism from reporters who complained that he used the word “hoax” while describing the establishment media and Democrat response to the virus threat at a campaign rally in South Carolina on Friday night.
“Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus,” Trump said, adding that it was the latest “hoax” to try to get him out of office.
“They tried anything. They tried it over and over. They’ve been doing it since he got in. It’s all turning. They lost. Think of it; this is their new hoax,” he said.
When reporters asked Saturday if he regretted using the word “hoax,” Trump replied, “No, no, no, hoax referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody because we’ve done such a good job. The hoax is on them.”
Trump said he would never refer to the coronavirus as a hoax.
He also shut down another reporter for asking him again about his rhetoric and use of the word “hoax.”
“The ‘hoax’ was used with respect to Democrats and what they were saying. It was a hoax, what they were saying, and that is very clear if you would read the words,” he said. “And I think you know that too.”