Trump latest: POTUS blames US protestors for shocking COVID-19 surge

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The US has seen the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths, with 3,967,917 and 143,147 respectively, according to Johns Hopkins University. Mr Trump has recently admitted that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to “get worse before it gets better” at his first White House press briefing in months. But the president has blamed the spike in cases on protestors despite no evidence proving demonstrations are a large source of new infections.

Mr Trump pointed to the demonstrations as one of a series of factors contributing to the US’s struggles with the resurgent virus on Wednesday.

The US has seen constant protests in major cities after the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25.

Mr Trump said: “Cases started to rise among young Americans shortly after demonstrations, which you know very well about, which presumably triggered a broader relaxation of mitigation efforts nationwide.”

 

Mr Trump’s comments about protestors came along with the announcement of “Operation Legend”, which will see a “surge” of federal law enforcement crack down on the Black Lives Matter protests.

The president and US Attorney General William Barr announced the operation.

The Department of Justice said that it will see federal police swoop on Chicago and Albuquerque to “help state and local officials fight high levels of violent crime, particularly gun violence.

Attorney General Barr also added that violence separate to the protests “is a direct result of the attack on the police forces and the weakening of police forces”.

No evidence suggests a surge in violent crime against police officers in the US after the protests began.

Mr Trump has been lambasted for the federal intervention on the protests, with former defence secretary Leon Panetta branding the president as a “tyrant”.

Mr Panetta added: “It’s interesting because federalism has always been a calling card for Republicans to avoid having the federal government impose its will on states and communities.

“To have a president who is prepared to send federal officers into these communities I think represents a step that ought to not only create fear in the people that are impacted by that decision, but should raise a hell of a lot of fear for those Republicans who have defended federalism most of their lives.”

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The president also suggested that a “substantial increase in travel” from Mexican migrants is to blame for the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Mr Trump added: “We’re also sharing a 2,000 mile border with Mexico as we know very well and cases are surging in Mexico …

“It’s a big problem for Mexico but cases are surging very sharply and all across the rest of the Western Hemisphere.”

The US borders to Mexico and Canada have been completely closed since the middle of March.

Mr Trump also claimed that “a lot of people” say children “don’t transmit” coronavirus, just days after a South Korea study showed that those aged 10 to 19 are the most likely to spread the virus inside a household.

The study added: “Although the detection rate for contacts of preschool-aged children was lower, young children may show higher attack rates when the school closure ends, contributing to community transmission of COVID-19.”

The president made the claims at the briefing to advocate for schools to reopen in the autumn.

Mr Trump said: “They don’t catch it easily, they don’t bring it home easily. And if they do catch it, they get better fast.”

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