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From ‘hoax’ to pandemic: Trump’s shifting rhetoric on coronavirus

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From calling “hysteria” over the outbreak a Democratic hoax, to announcing a national emergency and urging all Americans to work from home and avoid public spaces, US president Donald Trump’s rhetoric on the coronavirus pandemic has shifted significantly in the space of a few weeks.

Trump has come in for heavy criticism from political opponents for what they say was his failure to take the threat of the virus seriously when the outbreak first emerged.

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“Thirty five thousand people on average die each year from the flu. Did anyone know that?” Trump told supporters at a rally on February 28.

“Thirty five thousand. That’s a lot of people. And so far, we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States.”

“Now, the Democrats are politicising the coronavirus… this is their new hoax.”

But just a few weeks later, Trump’s tone had changed dramatically as he announced a national emergency and urged Americans to take drastic measures to avoid contamination.

“My administration is recommending that all Americans, including the young and healthy, work to engage in schooling from home when possible, avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, avoid discretionary travel ,and avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and public food courts,” he told the nation this week.

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Trump fumes after CNN’s Jim Acosta asks if his coronavirus briefings are just ‘happy talk’

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During Friday's coronavirus task force press briefing, President Donald Trump lost his patience with CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta when he questioned whether the hearings were whitewashing the challenges facing the government.

"I hear from a lot of people who see these briefings as sort of 'happy talk' briefings," said Acosta. "And some of the officials and you paint a rosy picture of what is happening around the country. If you look at some of these questions, do we have enough masks, no. Do we have enough tests, no. Do we have enough PPE, no."

"Why would you say no?" said Trump. "The answer is yes. I think the answer is yes. You asked me do we have enough masks. Yes."

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Trump uses coronavirus briefing to tout pastor who said 9/11 attack was God punishing America

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During a press briefing today to address the nation's response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump was asked about certain Christian pastors who plan to defy state lockdown orders and hold Easter church services this Sunday.

"I've had talks with the pastors, and most of the pastors agree ... that they are better off doing what they are doing, which is, distancing," Trump said, adding that the pastors want to "get back to church so badly."

Trump then referred to a notorious pastor who sits on his religious advisory council.

"I'm going to be watching Pastor Robert Jeffress, who's been a great guy," Trump said. "He's a great guy and I'm going to be watching on a laptop."

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2020 Election

Trump slammed for ‘ridiculous’ ad trying to link Biden to the Chinese government

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On Friday, writing for The Washington Post, Greg Sargent tore apart President Donald Trump's "ridiculous" new attack ad trying to claim that Vice President Joe Biden is beholden to Chinese interests.

"The ad clips Biden’s words out of context to misleadingly imply that Biden criticized Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China, when that’s not what Biden did," wrote Sargent. "Second, the ad relies on numerous past quotes from Biden to demonstrate he’s supposedly been soft on China. But those quotes were mostly boilerplate diplomatic language — and Trump has repeatedly praised China in language very close to what Biden has used ... And third, the Asian man that Biden bowed to turns out to be Gary Locke, a former Washington governor and U.S. ambassador to China, an American."

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