President Donald Trump said Monday that on a scale of 1 to 10, he would rate his performance in response to the coronavirus crisis at the top.
“Very simple question: Does the buck stop with you?” Walker asked. “And on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your response to this crisis?”
“I’d rate it a 10,” Trump answered. “I think we’ve done a great job.”
The president also said the buck “normally” stops with him, “but this has never been done in this country.”
The remarks came the day the Dow Jones hit -3,000 points, its worst drop in three decades, amid growing fears that the pandemic will lead to a global economic recession.
In the same press briefing, Trump urged Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and to stay away from public areas in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The new recommendations apply to everyone, “including the young and healthy,” for the next 15 days, he said.
“We’ve made the decision to further toughen the guidelines and blunt the infection now,” the president said. “We’d much rather be ahead of the curve than behind it, and that’s what we are.”
Despite the president’s perfect self-rating, there is evidence that his leadership has been poor during the pandemic. His administration’s failure started in 2018, when Trump disbanded the White House office specifically dedicated to preparing for a pandemic.
During the Monday briefing, Trump downplayed the U.S.’s slow response to the crisis by saying the country has “a problem that a month ago nobody ever thought about.” However, the U.S. confirmed its first coronavirus case almost two months ago. In an attempt to save the markets, Trump told CNBC on Jan. 22 that the U.S. had it “totally under control.”
And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in February that the virus would spread throughout the country and cause “severe” disruption to everyday life, Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, falsely claimed the disease was “contained” in the U.S.
Since then, confirmed COVID-19 cases have increased in the U.S. to about 4,000 ― and that’s even without access to enough tests ― and more than 60 people have died. And the markets have not been saved.
The U.S. is still responding slowly to the crisis that is growing exponentially by the day. The country is only carrying out a small number of coronavirus tests in comparison with other countries where people are infected.
The president also spent much of his time on Monday criticizing the media and Democrats for not praising his response to the the crisis, which included only declaring a national emergency late last week.
Earlier Monday, Trump told concerned governors on a call that states should try getting necessary medical equipment on their own in order to combat the outbreak.
“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment ― try getting it yourselves,” the president said, according to The New York Times and CNN. “We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”
And during a prime-time address from the Oval Office last week, Trump messed up several facts about his administration’s response to the pandemic, congratulated himself and blamed other countries for allowing the disease to spread.
On Friday, Trump announced new measures meant to open up additional funding to address the outbreak. But instead of spending his news conference talking about what the federal government was going to do to help the public, Trump devoted much of his time to praising the private sector.
Trump has given himself a 10 out of 10 rating once before: after a hurricane destroyed Puerto Rico in 2017 and killed thousands of its residents.
Keep up with the latest updates on the coronavirus at our live blog.