SOUTH CAROLINA (AP) — President Donald Trump lashed out Friday at Democrats who have questioned his handling of the coronavirus threat, calling it their new “hoax.”
At a campaign rally in South Carolina, Trump sought to steal some of the spotlight from his Democratic rivals a day before voters cast their ballots in the state’s presidential primary.
Trump accused Democrats of “politicizing” the coronavirus and boasted about preventive steps he’s ordered in an attempt to keep the virus that originated in China from spreading across the United States.
Just before Trump began to speak, health officials confirmed a second case of coronavirus in the U.S. in a person who didn’t travel internationally or come in close contact with anyone who had it. The president did not mention that news.
“They have no clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa,” Trump said, referring to problems that plagued Democratic vote in the Iowa caucuses Feb. 3.
“They tried the impeachment hoax … this is their new hoax,” Trump said of Democrats and coronavirus.
Some Democrats have said Trump could have acted sooner to bolster the U.S. response to the virus. Trump said Democrats only want to see him fail and argued that the steps he’s taken so far have kept cases to minimum in the U.S. and led to no deaths from the virus.
Unlike the three earlier voting states, South Carolina is not considered a swing state. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton there by more than 14 percentage points in 2016.
Trump has linked his presidency to the markets through tweets and speeches often taking credit for each new high in the markets. Now, Trump is trying to reassure Americans the economy is still strong while also theorizing that the Democratic candidates’ debate performances have spooked investors.