Trump holds press conference on coronavirus after first American dies from outbreak
President Trump will address the nation Saturday afternoon from the White House briefing room on coronavirus, amid news of the first American death tied to the outbreak.
Trump announced his 1:30 p.m. ET press conference on Twitter on Saturday as Vice President Pence led a coronavirus task force meeting in the White House situation room.
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It’s the second time this week Trump will speak to reporters in a rare White House briefing room press conference, signaling the seriousness the Administration is placing on the coronavirus that has now infected more than 85,000 worldwide and killed 2,900. The closures and quarantines around the world have spooked investors and the stock market took a dramatic tumble this week.
Shortly before Trump was to address the cameras, Washington state health officials said one person has died from the new virus; the first person to die from the disease in the United States.
News of the death comes on the heels of three new cases in California, Oregon and Washington in which the patients were infected by unknown means. They had not recently traveled overseas or had come into contact with anyone who had.
As new cases have popped up in the United States, tensions between Trump and Democrats are bubbling up as well.
At a rally in South Carolina Friday night, Trump accused his Democratic critics of “politicizing” the coronavirus outbreak and dismissed the criticism about his handling of the virus as “their new hoax” and insisted “we are totally prepared.”
Meanwhile, the House held a bipartisan briefing with health officials Friday morning, leaving Democrats questioning whether Trump has a handle on the response.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who led the impeachment fight against President Trump, said Friday he has “profound concerns” about Trump‘s response to the coronavirus and cast doubt on whether the White House is telling the truth to the American public about the global outbreak.
“The president and vice president don’t inspire confidence,” Schiff told Fox News as he left a coronavirus briefing at the Capitol Friday morning. “And because the president has made so many false statements about so many things, you can’t really rely on the White House.”
Schiff’s comments come after Trump blasted Democrats in a tweetstorm for playing politics with the coronavirus threat.
“I have profound concerns about the management of this at the level of the White House,” Schiff said, “but there are some good career people who we got the opportunity to talk to today.”
As of Friday, there were 62 confirmed cases in the U.S., including 44 who were repatriated from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship, but it’s unclear what the total figure is as of Saturday afternoon.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and the Associated Press contributed to this report.