Health Secretary Alex Azar put out a strangely fawning statement Thursday morning celebrating President’s Trump’s remarks on coronavirus Wednesday night and praising his move in late January to restrict travel from China.
“Some criticized the President’s decisive steps early on in this outbreak as an overreaction,” Azar said. “Now, as the world works to stop the virus’s spread, the President’s early actions have proven prescient.”
Trump on Jan. 31 announced a ban on incoming travel from China that was similar to the ban he announced for Europe Wednesday night: Foreign nationals who’d stepped foot in the country in the past 14 days were barred from entering the United States, and Americans would be screened if they’d been to China.
Azar’s tone veered somewhat from his public health lane in the statement.
“The President made a powerful, unifying call to action for all Americans to play a role in protecting our country from the virus,” he said.
Read the full statement below:
HHS Secretary Azar Statement on President Trump’s Oval Office Address
HHS Secretary Alex Azar issued the following statement on President Trump’s Oval Office address regarding the COVID-19 outbreak:
“President Trump’s address to the American people last night laid out bold new steps he is taking to protect our country from COVID-19 and alleviate the economic impacts of the pandemic. Some criticized the President’s decisive steps early on in this outbreak as an overreaction. Now, as the world works to stop the virus’s spread, the President’s early actions have proven prescient.
“The President made a powerful, unifying call to action for all Americans to play a role in protecting our country from the virus. The policies he laid out are the recommendations of our best public health experts. All Americans, and especially older Americans, should be observing commonsense hygiene steps and following guidance from federal, state, and local authorities about avoiding unnecessary travel and large gatherings in some areas. If we take these kinds of steps, put politics aside, and come together as a country, we can slow the spread of the virus and keep all Americans as safe and healthy as possible.”