Trump Blames Europe For “A Large Number” Of U.S. Coronavirus Infections

Click on photo to watch entire 10 minute address

Insists U.S. is not in the midst of a “financial crisis” despite huge market plunge

Most of the reporting we’ve seen about Trump’s address tonight to the nation about Coronavirus (long overdue in our opinion), is along the lines of “Trump is finally taking the Coronavirus threat here seriously”. And sure he is in the sense that he’s no longer insisting it’s just 15 cases that will go away soon. And his ban on travel from Continental Europe for 30 days, which apparently includes both people and cargo, may very well turn out to be a good move.

But frankly, we already knew it was better to exercise an overabundance of caution and preparation, instead of being dismissive of those who were. So the President catching up to that isn’t impressive. And we already knew it was going to get worse, something he seems to be just catching up to too.

Although still not quite.

For instance: where are plans to start setting up additional treatment facilities in major population centers if they become necessary? Who’s tasked with doing that? Or at least considering now what might be available and how expanded treatment or quarantine centers might be equipped and staffed? That’s the kind of guidance and leadership we’re looking for from a President just now. Moves in that direction might raise concerns about worsening conditions, but also might help everyone feel a little bit more reassured there’d be something actually there in the form of support should things do get a lot worse.

The U.S. is “the best anywhere in the world”? Don’t just tell us that. Start proving it.

Three days ago we wrote:

Trump seems to be signaling [what] will be his central Coronavirus message: that even if numbers of people infected and dying start going up as testing finally becomes at least somewhat available, the U.S.’ numbers, ‘his’ numbers, are still ‘better’ than anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere.”

With his speech tonight, the President has made plain that is indeed his deal. Enunciating that this “foreign” virus is not his fault (nobody’s saying it is), and he’s doing better at it than any of his “competitors”. That continues to be his central message.

For instance, his assertion that: “A large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe”, after the European Union “failed” in its precautions.

Trump then asserts that:

This is not a financial crisis, this is just a temporary moment of time.

And that echoes Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin when he testified before Congress just a couple of days ago. Saying at that time:

This is going to have an impact on the short term of the economy….It’s very different than the financial crisis because the good news here is that there will be an end in sight.”

Something to which the stock market did not think on but for a moment or two before continuing on its sharp recent downward path. For the fact that–at its most simple–you’d have to not consider tourism to be a major global industry for that to be true. As we’ve pointed out previously, there’s some debate about this, since tourism slices across a lot of industry sectors, but overall it appears to be the second biggest global business after manufacturing, and has been growing exponentially over the last decade. How long before airlines and major hotel chains might need bailouts?

And speaking of manufacturing, supply chains from Asia are already significantly cut off and now will be completely shut off from Europe. How is that not an economic crisis that will last well beyond 30 days or however long the ban ends up being.

Also, remember the stock market is considered a leading indicator. That is investors are trying to figure out where the economy is headed, not where it is right now. And the huge plunges we’ve seen recently indicate there’s almost no visibility.

Again, we’re not saying Trump’s most immediate move is wrong. Just that overall, he’s still sticking to a very skewed narrative all his own.