Trump hosted a press conference at his golf club in New Jersey and, in addition to the press, spoke to a non-socially distanced crowd about the country’s response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
NEW JERSEY United States. (Agencies) – U.S. President Donald Trump hosted a press conference at his golf club in New Jersey — filled with a number of falsehoods delivered to dozens in a non-socially-distanced crowd.
Trump addressed reporters and guests in the ballroom of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Friday in a long press conference that touched upon the US coronavirus response.
At the start of the conference, few attendees were photographed wearing masks and were not socially distanced at the event — a direct violation of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcement discouraging indoor gatherings filled with more than 25% of a room’s capacity and requiring individuals to wear a mask indoors.
Towards the end of the press conference, a reporter asked Trump if he was concerned about the fact that thousands of Americans were dying from the virus and went on to talk about how the crowd had not been wearing masks and social distancing, which prompted the crowd to boo in response.
Trump defended the attendees at the press conference who weren’t wearing masks, saying that them not wearing was “an act of a “peaceful protest,” as the individuals were seemingly in violation of Murphy’s new health guidelines. -No, they don’t have to — this is political activity,” said Trump. -“You’re wrong at that because they have exceptions for political activity, and it’s also a peaceful protest. And to me, they look like they pretty much all have masks on, but you have an exclusion that talks about peaceful protests or political activity, right?”
New health guidelines imposed by the New Jersey government allows indoor gatherings of political activity to up to 100 people, though it does not mention whether individuals are exempt from social distancing and mask-wearing for that purpose.
In addition to threatening to sign executive orders aimed at coronavirus relief, in the face of collapsing negotiations between the GOP and Democrats on a COVID-19 relief bill, Trump discussed the devastating explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, and discussed the ongoing pandemic, again claiming the virus would go away.
During the press conference, Trump said “nearly every nation on earth continues to combat the virus, … including Japan, the Philippines, major parts of Europe.”
“Cases continue to surge in Latin America, right now it’s the most infected place anywhere in the world,” Trump said, “though the US continues to lead the world with the highest number of confirmed cases. “… Latin America is doing very little testing; they are not really equipped to do that. It’s tough.”
He went on to claim that in the United States, on the other hand, “the pandemic it’s disappearing, it’s going to disappear,” he said.
As of Friday, the US has reported nearly 5 million infections and more than 161,000 deaths. A model developed by the University of Washington predicts that the US could see up to 295,000 coronavirus deaths by December 1, 2020.
“We’re doing very well,” Trump said. “You don’t hear that too often from the media. We have a very large country, a very complex country in a sense.”
The president claimed that states in which the country saw devastating surges in infections, like Texas, Arizona, and Florida, are now “stabilizing,” and states that bore the brunt of the coronavirus outbreaks, like New York and New Jersey, Trump said, “we have not seen a resurgence.”
Coronavirus cases, however, are increasing in other parts of the country, as larger cities consider online schooling going into the upcoming fall semester to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Some of the nation’s largest public-school districts, including Los Angeles and Chicago, announced that they will remain online for the beginning of the school year, citing concerns on continued rises in coronavirus infections. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that the city’s schools would reopen for the upcoming school year because “we’ve been smart since day one.”
More than 250 employees in Gwinnett County School District in Georgia — the state’s largest school district — either tested positive for the coronavirus or had been exposed to it while planning for in-person learning for the coming semester.
During the press conference, Trump reiterated his claim of the reported surges are due to the country’s high testing rates and not actual infections, claiming the US “is only five percent of the world’s population, but we’ve conducted 25% of the world’s testing. Any proper global analysis of confirmed cases must really take this into account because we’re constantly showing cases, cases, cases are up. We’re doing a lot of testing,” he continued.
However, the US still lacks a comprehensive testing infrastructure that allows for individuals to be quickly and accurately tested for the coronavirus in order to properly isolate positive individuals and trace those whom they came in contact, The New York Times reported.
Trump also announced at the New Jersey press conference that he would pursue a “major” executive order requiring health insurance companies to cover all pre-existing conditions for clients.
“That’s a big thing. I’ve always been very strongly in favor — we have to cover pre-existing conditions,” the president said. “So we will be pursuing a major executive order requiring health insurance companies to cover all pre-existing conditions for all of its customers. This has never been done before but it’s time that people of our country are properly represented and properly taken care of,” he continued.
However, the president incorrectly claimed that it had never been done before — pre-existing conditions are covered under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, which Trump has ardently pushed to abolish since he took office.
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