WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump sent a Twitter message on Thursday to mourn 100,000 people in the United States lost to the coronavirus pandemic, a day after the threshold was reached and his silence noted.
"We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000. 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.
The expression 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 U.S. news reports on Wednesday.
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 on Tuesday had prompted readers to check the facts in tweets sent by Trump, warning that his claims about mail-in ballots were false.
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.
"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."
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Rosalba O'Brien)