President Trump authorized new travel restrictions and warnings Saturday in response to the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed the first American life.
During a rare appearance in the White House press briefing room that came shortly after news of the first death in the United States from the new virus, Trump told reporters that he’s even looking at closing the southern border – even though no confirmed cases in the U.S. have been linked to Mexico.
The White House announced new travel restrictions affecting Iran, Italy and South Korea and Trump confirmed he’s looking to potentially tighten traffic at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Yes, we are thinking about the southern border, we have received a lot of power on the southern border over the last couple of years from the courts but we are looking at that very strongly,” Trump said at the press conference.
"We have received a lot of power on the southern border over the last couple years from the courts" — Trump says he's considering closing the southern border in response to coronavirus (no cases have come from Mexico) pic.twitter.com/NTpLIlZ1CP
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 29, 2020
As PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor noted, “Trump didn’t mention possibly closing the northern border with Canada.”
President Trump says he is thinking very hard about possibly closing the southern border of the United States with Mexico in response coronavirus.
Note: Trump didn’t mention possibly closing the northern border with Canada.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) February 29, 2020
“Unfortunately, one person passed away overnight,” Trump said.
“She was a wonderful woman, a medically high-risk patient in her late 50s. Four others are very ill. Thankfully 15 are either recovered fully or they’re well on their way to recovery. And in all cases, they’ve been let go in their home.”
Trump also took a veiled shot at the press for not doing more to report what he described as a very strong response to the coronavirus.
“We’re doing really well. Very, very professionally handled,” Mr. Trump said. “We will respectfully ask the media and politicians and everyone involved not to do anything to incite a panic.”
Trump also said that he did not regret using the word “hoax” in the context of the coronavirus response at a rally in South Carolina Friday.
“Hoax referred to the action that they take to try to pin this on somebody because we’ve done such a good job,” Trump claimed, accusing Democrats of politicizing coronavirus.