After silence, Trump marks 100,000 US coronavirus deaths in tweet

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President Trump speaks at a meeting on the COVID-19 outbreak response at the White House [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

After a notable silence on the number of United States coronavirus deaths surpassing 100,000 on Thursday, US President Donald Trump marked the grim milestone with a tweet.

“We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000,” Trump tweeted.

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“To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!” Trump said.

Less than an hour after his tweet, Trump called the coronavirus “a very bad ‘gift’ from China”, ramping up his criticism of the country where the virus was first detected.   

Thursday’s tweet of sympathy came after the voluble Republican president drew criticism in media and on Twitter for his failure to note the grim milestone that had dominated US news reports a day earlier.

Instead, he unleashed a barrage of Twitter posts on everything from surveillance legislation to the 2001 death of a former congressional staff member for Joe Scarborough, now a cable television host critical of Trump. 

He also threatened to shut down social media platforms he accused of stifling conservative voices. Twitter added a warning phrase to two Trump tweets that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent” and predicted that “mail boxes will be robbed”, among other things.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s likely Democratic opponent in the November presidential election, released a video message on Wednesday after tallies showed the novel coronavirus has killed more than 100,000 people in the country.

“There are moments in our history so grim, so heart-rending, that they’re forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief. Today is one of those moments,” Biden said. “To those hurting, I’m so sorry for your loss.”

The US leads the world in both deaths and infections, with at least 100,600 deaths and more than 1.7 million confirmed cases.

The hardest-hit region of the US is the New York City metropolitan area. Nearly 250 out of every 100,000 city residents have died, according to the New York Times.

Now, as the pandemic cools in New York, new hotspots are arising in the South and Midwest regions of the country.

Still, Trump continues to pressure state governors to reopen their economies and allow the “transition to greatness” he has adopted as a new campaign slogan to proceed full speed ahead.

All 50 states have started relaxing coronavirus restrictions to varying degrees.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

 

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