Donald Trump is facing increasing criticism over his administration’s response to the deadly coronavirus — but perhaps not to the level of his own attacks against Barack Obama amid the Ebola outbreak of 2014.
Health officials warned on Tuesday the spread of the virus throughout the US appeared inevitable, despite Mr Trump’s claims on Twitter that “coronavirus is very much under control in the USA”.
The president has also sought to ease economic concerns about fears of a possible global pandemic, saying the US Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation has been “working hard”. He said that stock markets are looking “very good to me!” - as the Dow Jones plummeted 1,000 points.
Mr Trump was far less confident about the US handling of Ebola under his predecessor, according to a series of his tweets from 2014, the virus was spreading from Africa to various parts of the world.
He attacked Mr Obama as “a psycho” in the posts, writing: “I am starting to think that there is something seriously wrong with President Obama’s mental health.”
Mr Trump was demanding at the time that US officials halt anyone coming into the country from parts of the world where cases of Ebola had been confirmed, while launching incendiary claims about “the plague”.
I am starting to think that there is something seriously wrong with President Obama's mental health. Why won't he stop the flights. Psycho!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)October 16, 2014
“The US must immediately stop all flights from EBOLA infected countries,” he wrote in August 2014, “or the plague will start and spread inside our ‘borders.’”
He added: “Act fast!”
The U.S. must immediately stop all flights from EBOLA infected countries or the plague will start and spread inside our "borders." Act fast!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)August 2, 2014
In another July tweet, Mr Trump slammed US officials as “incompetent” amid reports that a patient with a confirmed Ebola case was being brought into the US.
“KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE!” the president wrote.
The president’s past tweets garnered renewed focus as he faced his own criticism for the White House’s mixed messaging on the coronavirus.
Despite Mr Trump’s claims about the spread of the virus being under control, Democratic Senator Patty Murray described his administration’s response to the outbreak as “unacceptable” in a statement on Tuesday.
“We cannot afford to plan on the cheap or at the last minute," she said. "I'm deeply concerned that we are way behind the eight-ball on this.”
Mr Trump’s own White House acknowledged it “cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus” on Tuesday, as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said: “The immediate risk to the general American public remains low, but that has the potential to change quickly."
The White House budget office has requested $2.5 billion to assist in developing a vaccine to combat the spread of the virus, along with additional treatment measures and protective equipments for officials.