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Coronavirus: threat is approaching the White House, Trump promises to help the economy

Donald Trump promised Monday “far-reaching” measures to support the economy in the face of the consequences of the coronavirus, after giving the impression of underestimating the epidemic to the point of having personally been in contact with today elected forty.

Five members of Congress, including at least two Republicans who have been close to the President for the past few days, were in voluntary isolation on Monday after being exposed to the virus, but without showing symptoms.

One traveled on board Donald Trump’s Air Force One presidential plane on Monday, the other accompanied him on an official visit on Friday.

Despite these close contacts, the Republican president did not want to indicate if he had undergone a test to detect if he was carrying the virus, during a press conference at the White House of the team coordinating the American response to the epidemic.

After Donald Trump left without a word for the question, Vice President Mike Pence said he “sincerely” did not know if the President of the United States had been tested, but said that he himself had not been tested.

“Caught short”

The world has been “taken aback” by the coronavirus, Donald Trump had previously said, announcing that he wanted to see measures adopted soon in Congress to ease the American economy.

He notably mentioned “a possible cut in wage taxes” which must be discussed Tuesday between members of his administration and Congress officials. Trump will then give a press conference to detail these “major” and “far-reaching” measures, he said.

It is a question of helping the employees but also the companies so that “they are not penalized for something for which they are not responsible”, he explained, before hammering: “It is not the fault of our country “.

At the same press conference, the American secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin wanted to be reassuring: “The United States has the most robust economy in the world”.

The US Congress already approved on March 5 an emergency plan of 8.3 billion dollars to finance the fight against the coronavirus.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted on Monday evening that “further parliamentary action (will) soon become necessary”.

Partly responsible for the plunge of the major financial centers on Monday, the global coronavirus crisis is already having serious consequences for the global economy.

Donald Trump has so far tended to play down, with the White House denying on Monday that it would restrict its official program.

But in the middle of an election year, the crisis could deeply disrupt the agenda of the Republican who likes big meetings, even though one of his main campaign arguments for the presidential election in November, American growth, could be called into question by the epidemic.

Elected officials in quarantine

Great ally of the President, the elected representative of the House of Representatives Matt Gaetz announced shortly after leaving Air Force One, which brought Donald Trump to Washington on Monday, that he had been exposed “eleven days ago” to a carrier of the virus.

According to the New York Times, Mr. Gaetz learned the news during the flight and attempted to “quarantine himself by sitting down” alone.

Another House Republican who was in quarantine on Monday, Doug Collins, was just behind the American president during an official visit to Atlanta on Friday, and even shook his hand according to some media.

These two parliamentarians were exposed to the virus at a large conservative conference (CPAC), held from February 26 to 29 near Washington. Mr. Trump and his vice president Mike Pence attended.

It was also during this great annual Conservative meeting that two other Republicans shook the hand of a person carrying the virus: Republican Senator Ted Cruz and another elected member of the House, Paul Gosar.

Ted Cruz would have met Donald Trump on Thursday, after having been exposed to the virus, according to several American media.

The fifth congressman in solitary confinement on Monday was an elected House Democrat, Julia Brownley.

The epidemic has affected more than 600 people in the United States and killed at least 26 people. Schools have closed and major meetings have been canceled, but so far the presidential campaign has not been affected.

US health officials urged those most at risk – over the age of 60 and suffering from chronic illnesses – to stockpile food and medicine on Monday.

Known to be “germophobic” long before the epidemic, Donald Trump, 73, joked last week about the great precautions he was taking.

“I haven’t touched my face for weeks,” he said.

03/10/2020 01:22:49 –
Washington (AFP) –
© 2020 AFP

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