Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday made the ridiculous claim that the media was trying to damage President Donald Trump politically with its coverage of the deadly coronavirus.
During a Q&A at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Mulvaney claimed the media was inflating the disease because its coverage of the impeachment “hoax” failed to sabotage Trump.
“The reason you’re seeing so much attention to it today is that they think this is what’s going to bring down the President,” the White House official told the CPAC audience. “That’s what this is all about.”
“I got a note today from a reporter saying ‘What are you going to do today to calm the markets?’” he continued. “I’m like, ‘Really what I might do to calm the markets is tell people to turn their televisions off for 24 hours.”
Mulvaney also downplayed the severity of the deadly virus by arguing that while the illness “absolutely is real,” its death rate doesn’t compare to that of the Ebola virus.
“When you look at the severity of diseases, one of the ways you can look at it is by looking at the percentage of people who get it who die,” he told the audience. “I know that’s sort of hard-hearted, but that’s how we look at certain-that’s probably how you would look at it. If I get a cold, am I gonna die? No? Okay.”
On Tuesday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow tried to make a similar point about the virus’ fatality when he said markets ought not to “overreact.”
“I don’t want to sound heartless or cruel or anything. This is a human tragedy,” Kudlow said during an interview on CNBC. “It’s mostly centered in China. There is contagion elsewhere, Italy, Iran, I think that’s what’s upset the market.”
Trump and his administration have been putting much of their focus this week on shielding the President from unflattering news coverage on his fumbling efforts to address the coronavirus and attempting to stabilize the rapidly plunging stock market.