President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office regarding the federal government’s response to the coronavirus, announcing a near-total ban on travel from Europe to the United States.
Trump struck a fresh tone Wednesday night, possibly in reaction to criticism that his administration hadn’t been taking the virus seriously enough. Trump’s address comes on the same day the World Health Organization officially classified the coronavirus as a pandemic, a declaration it had hesitated to make early on.
“We are responding with great speed and professionalism,” Trump said. “To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.”
Trump said the new rules will go into effect Friday, but the United Kingdom will not be affected. (RELATED: ‘Buy American’ – White House Confirms Executive Order That Will End Medical Supply Chain Reliance On China)
I am fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government to deal with our current challenge of the CoronaVirus!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2020
Trump also announced that he will take “emergency action” to give financial relief to impacted workers.
“Using emergency authority, I will be instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interest or penalty for certain individuals or businesses negatively impacted,” he said. “Finally, I am calling on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief.”
Trump’s messaging on the coronavirus came under fire from even his allies earlier this week, who argued that his often-chaotic statements were making it harder for his coronavirus task force to do its work.
There were also reports that the president was caught on a hot mike cursing about a pen stain before the broadcast.
Media will soon pivot to and focus on this hot mic from the CSPAN feed… pic.twitter.com/EciwbrWfAg
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) March 12, 2020
No pen stain was visible on the broadcast.