WASHINGTON, United States – Concern that President Donald Trump himself could be exposed to the coronavirus through contact with two Republican lawmakers loomed Monday as US stocks plummeted, feeding growing national anxiety.
Trump, who flew back to Washington after a weekend golfing at his Florida resort and having dinner with Brazil’s right-wing president, has spent weeks dismissing the seriousness of the threat.
But after an emergency meeting with administration staff, he told journalists that he would propose “very substantial” economic measures to Congress on Tuesday. These will include tax relief and aid for workers in the gig economy who worry about calling in sick.
Trump said he would hold a press conference to discuss the measures on Tuesday, adding the coronavirus — which has killed 26 people in the US — has “blindsided the world.”
The run on stock market prices robbed Trump of one of his main talking points ahead of the November presidential election. The Dow Jones closed 7.8% lower in the worst session since 2008.
And with pictures of a virus-hit cruise ship constantly on live television, Trump’s tweet Monday that “life & the economy go on” seemed increasingly out of touch.