Trump slams Democrats for COVID-19 budget criticism

WASHINGTON (AA): U.S. President Donald Trump slammed the top-ranking Senate Democrat on Tuesday who said his $2.5 billion request from Congress to fight the deadly coronavirus is insufficient.

“Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare for Coronavirus,” Trump said on Twitter. “If I asked for more he would say it is too much.”

“He didn’t like my early travel closings. I was right. He is incompetent!,” Trump added.

The social media post came hours after Schumer called the request “too little, too late” and accused the Trump administration of “not taking the coronavirus crisis as seriously as they need to be.”

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi also blamed Trump of “compounding vulnerabilities by seeking to ransack funds still needed to keep Ebola in check.”

“Our state and local governments need serious funding to be ready to respond effectively to any outbreak in the U.S. The President should not be raiding money that Congress has appropriated for other life-or-death public health priorities,” Pelosi said Tuesday on Twittter.

She added the House will swiftly advance a “strong, strategic” funding package that “fully addresses the scale and seriousness of this public health crisis.”

On Monday, the Trump administration sent a letter to Congress, requesting at least $2.5 billion to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

It requested $1.25 billion in emergency funding for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund at the Health and Human Service (HHS) agency to continue supporting critical response and preparedness activities against coronavirus.

The Trump government also demanded Congress permit $535 million in emergency supplemental funding appropriated for the prevention and treatment of Ebola to be used for the response to the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.

During his official visit to India, Trump tweeted that the epidemic “is very much under control” in the U.S.

“We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” he added.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also announced he and his South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-doo, agreed to consider reducing common training because of the risk of coronavirus infection.

The announcement came Monday during a joint press conference in Washington.

The virus has sounded global alarms, with China reporting 2,663 deaths from the outbreak, and health experts grappling to find a cure.

Outside mainland China, the coronavirus has spread to more than 25 other countries including the U.S., U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain and India.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international health emergency.