President Donald Trump certainly likes to spin news headlines to create an image that is favorable to him.
That’s a mighty difficult thing to do during a global outbreak in which coronavirus, or COVID-19, has affected hundreds of thousands of lives, and resulted in the deaths of thousands across the globe.
Trump tried, nonetheless, on Thursday evening, during a town hall meeting that aired on Fox News, to suggest that there were positive aspects to the disease’s spread. He stated, for instance, that the virus created some economic good for the United States.
When asked if the economy would suffer any from the spread of coronavirus, Trump had this to say:
“It certainly might have an impact, but at the same time I have to say people are now staying in the United States, spending their money in the U.S., and I like that.”
Trump’s words may ring hollow for a couple of reasons. For starters, the disease is spreading in the U.S., and in a fatal way. Whereas just last week there was only one reported death from COVID-19 in America, there are now 14 deaths reported, and 225 confirmed cases reported in 21 states within the Union, with more expected in the weeks ahead.
Trump tries to find a silver lining to the coronavirus during Fox News town hall: "I have to say, people are now staying in the United States, spending their money in the US — and I like that." pic.twitter.com/lbERhrSq6t
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 5, 2020
And while any talk of economic impact that coronavirus may or may not have in the U.S. may seem to be of less import, Trump’s rosy outlook also deserves scrutiny.
Indeed, during the town hall, Trump lamented that the markets have dropped quite a bit due to coronavirus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, for example, has been hit hard by the spread of the disease, opening on Friday (the morning after Trump’s town hall) more than 660 points lower than it had closed the day before.
A month ago, the Dow Jones was close to reaching 30,000 points. As of today, however, it’s down to around 25,500, a 15 percent drop from where it was previously.
Chris Walker is a freelance journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin, who focuses on news, politics, and analysis of world events. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, since 2005 Chris has reported on workers’ rights protests in Wisconsin, opined on four separate presidential elections and written on a number of other political subjects for a variety of national online publications.