Justin Sink at Bloomberg:
The America First presidency collided with a global pandemic Wednesday night. The result did not appear to reassure skittish markets or a nervous nation.
President Donald Trump relied on a familiar playbook as he spoke in a prime-time address from the Oval Office, announcing sweeping new restrictions on travel from Europe and scattered executive actions to help workers and businesses rocked by what he labeled a “foreign virus.”
He blamed allies for not adopting tough immigration measures that he said had prevented a wider outbreak in the U.S. But the combative approach and small-bore measures seemed only to highlight the president’s struggles to confront the most consequential moment of his presidency.
And even in a 10-minute address, Trump couldn’t stick to the facts.
He overstated the European travel restrictions, saying he was “suspending all travel” from the continent, and suggested they would also apply to trade. He tweeted later that trade wouldn’t be affected, and the Department of Homeland Security clarified that the restriction applies generally to foreigners who’ve been in Europe within 14 days.
He said U.S. health insurers had agreed to waive co-payments for coronavirus treatment. A spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, said its members had agreed only to waive co-payments for testing.
To those claiming what Trump said the speech was correct, here’s the transcript of the relevant section pic.twitter.com/40L0YOTQec— Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) March 12, 2020
The White House inadvertently aired Trump talking off-camera before giving his address, including him saying "ah, fuck" and asking if "anybody has any white stuff" pic.twitter.com/gygZIPlsOa— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 12, 2020
Trump immediately after his #COVID19 speech, when he didn’t realize the cameras were still on—you have to see this for yourself.— Leah McElrath 🏳️🌈 (@leahmcelrath) March 12, 2020