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Since the panic over the growing coronavirus outbreak began, president Trump has struggled to handle it in a calm, rational way. Who could have predicted that?

After comparing the virus to the flu and moaning about how it’s affecting his economic progress, Trump has now attempted to link the coronavirus outbreak to Democratic immigration policies.

Trump labelled Democratic attacks on his handling of the crisis a “new hoax” – echoing his critiques of the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and the impeachment inquiry against him – in a rambling speech in South Carolina.

Trump defended his administration’s handling of the outbreak and accused Democrats of “politicising the coronavirus”.

He said:

We are doing everything in our power to keep the infection and those carrying the infection from entering the country. We have no choice.

Whether it’s the virus that we’re talking about, or the many other public health threats, the Democrat policy of open borders is a direct threat to the health and wellbeing of all Americans.

Given that immigration – particularly along the southern border – has been an obsession of Trump and his supporters, it was only a matter of time until this topic became linked to coronavirus. But Trump cited no evidence to link the virus with migration at the southern border, because as far as we know there isn’t any.

His administration has faced criticism for its handling of coronavirus, as Democrats point to cuts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) under Trump’s leadership.

Trump has also been criticised for putting Mike Pence – who famously doesn’t believe in science and was blamed for an HIV outbreak in Indiana while serving as governor – in charge of the response to the epidemic.

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