President Donald Trump, whose administration is under increasing pressure and criticism for its response to the coronavirus outbreak, lashed out in a Twitter tirade Monday morning that came as global markets tumbled, the disease continued to spread and Joe Biden appeared to be surging toward the Democratic nomination.
Trump blasted the media, accusing it of colluding with Democrats in trying to “inflame the CoronaVirus situation.” He accused the Democratic Party of trying to “smear” Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost his front-runner status to Biden in a Super Tuesday rout. And, finally, the president attacked his predecessors: “The Obama/Biden Administration is the most corrupt Administration in the history of our Country.”
The Trump administration and the president himself are under fire for what has been called a sluggish and flawed response to the initial outbreak of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19.
Critical reports in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, NBC News and other outlets have painted a portrait of a White House in an enhanced state of chaos. Some members of the administration, according to reports, have been calling for a more robust response since the early days of the outbreak. Others, including Trump and his top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, have sought to downplay the severity of the outbreak.
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States ballooned to at least 564 over the weekend, while at least 22 people have died from it in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University’s tally. Globally, more than 111,000 have been infected, and at least 3,890 have died.
Meanwhile, markets are in turmoil due in large part to the spread of the disease and its impact on trade and consumer demand. Dow futures tanked more than 1,200 points before the open. Global equities markets saw broad declines across the board.
Oil prices plummeted, too, as demand fears pushed OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Russia into a price war. Trump has long touted the stock market’s success during his term as a key argument for his policies.
The Biden and Sanders campaigns did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Biden, who surpassed Sanders in the delegate count after an astonishing performance on Super Tuesday and has fed his momentum with a slew of key endorsements, looked to cement his lead in the next round of primary contests Tuesday. All eyes ahead of the election day were on Michigan, the delegate-rich swing state in which polls showed Biden with a commanding lead over Sanders.
A week before Super Tuesday, Biden’s campaign appeared to have lost nearly all of its momentum to Sanders, who had triumphed in the Nevada caucuses and enjoyed a healthy lead in delegates.
But Biden’s turnaround in South Carolina set the stage for a massive haul on Super Tuesday, when 14 states held their nominating contests.
The former veep to Barack Obama had been a prime target of Trump’s ire from the time he entered the 2020 race. Trump even asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to announce an investigation into allegations of corruption Biden and his son Hunter through their connections to a Ukrainian natural gas company.
Those efforts, seen by critics as an attempt to smear the possible Democratic presidential nominee with the taint of a corruption probe, prompted the Democrat-led House to investigate, and eventually impeach, Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The president was acquitted of both articles of impeachment in the GOP-held Senate.
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