United States President Donald Trump is hoping for a “miracle” that will make the coronavirus disappear but tanking stock markets and signs the disease is stalking America are delivering their verdict on his scattershot management of the crisis.
A historic Wall Street sell off, the first case on US soil that could not be traced to travel to countries battling the virus, and news of drug shortages outpaced White House efforts to show everything was under control.
“It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” Trump said at the White House Thursday as the virus marched across Asia and Europe after US officials said the US should brace for severe disruption to everyday life.
Trump also warned that things could “get worse before it gets better,” but he added it could “maybe go away. We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows.”
The President’s comments, which seemed divorced from the gravity of the situation, followed reporting that raised new questions about Trump’s capacity to handle the crisis.
For weeks, aides and allies have tried to impress upon him the seriousness of the coronavirus situation, warning him of the threat to the global economy and — by proxy — his own reelection prospects, according to people familiar with the conversations.
Devastating losses in Wall Street that finally convinced him to put a face on the crisis on Wednesday. But his erratic news conference only fanned the impression of a leadership vacuum.