President Trump took to Twitter during the middle of the Democratic presidential debate Tuesday to defend his administration against several candidates' attacks on how the White House has handled the coronavirus outbreak.
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On Twitter, Trump said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was doing a great job handling the outbreak – calling criticisms from the Democratic Party unfair.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the coronavirus “very serious,” as evidenced by the fact that the stock market is “falling apart” after selling off for two days. Bloomberg also criticized the president for firing pandemic specialists two years ago.
“So there’s nobody here to figure out what we should be doing,” Bloomberg said. “And he’s defunded Centers for Disease Control, CDC, so we don’t have the organization we need … people are really worried and they should be, we don’t have anybody to respond.”
The CDC warned on Tuesday that it’s a not a matter of if, but rather when the virus begins to break out in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders mocked Trump on Tuesday for calling himself a “great genius” as he targeted the White House’s response.
“This great genius has told us that this coronavirus is going to end in two months – April is the magical day,” Sanders said.
Sanders said the U.S. has to expand the World Health Organization and make sure the infectious departments are fully funded.
“This is a global problem, we’ve got to work with countries all over the world to solve it,” Sanders added.
Former Vice President Joe Biden noted that he was part of the Obama Administration’s response to Ebola, which included increasing funding for departments that deal with infectious diseases.
“What I would do immediately is restore the funding – [Trump] cut the funding for CDC, he tried to cut the funding for [the National Institute of Health], he cut the funding for the entire effort,” Biden said, noting that he is the only candidate that has already dealt with foreign leaders.
The outbreak, which has stretched across the globe, has affected more than 80,000 people. There have been at least 2,700 deaths.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday that it's deeply concerning to see new cases outside of Asia.
The Trump administration asked Congress for $2.5 billion to combat the disease, including funds for preparedness and response, as well as about $1.2 billion for vaccine research and development.
As previously reported by FOX Business, National Economic Director Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday that the coronavirus could hurt U.S. GDP, but that the U.S. economy is still in good shape.
During a gaggle with the media, Kudlow said that while there are risks associated with the spread of the virus – so far there are no major red flags.
“This is going to clip something off first-quarter GDP,” Kudlow said. “How much? I don't know. You know, it's funny. Again, we'll know more in the next two or three weeks. And the quarter is not quite two-thirds completed, but frankly, the incoming data is pretty good.”