President Donald Trump is casting wide blame for a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases, pointing to racial justice protests, travelers from Mexico and young bar-goers.
Holding his second briefing on the virus in as many days after a three-month hiatus, Trump sought on Wednesday to explain the rise in confirmed cases across the nation’s South, Southwest and West.
Trump says cases among young Americans first started to rise “shortly after demonstrations.” He says the protests following the death of George Floyd “presumably triggered a broader relaxation of mitigation efforts nationwide.”
He also says a “substantial increase in travel” around Memorial Day and summer vacations was also a driver of new cases.
Further, he says, “Young people closely congregating at bars and probably other places, maybe beaches,” likely also led to new cases.
Trump also blames travelers crossing the U.S.-Mexico border for spikes, saying cases in Mexico are surging.
The president also says his administration is providing an additional $5 billion to nursing homes, which have borne a disproportionate share of the death toll in the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the money is in addition to other actions, such as a push to facilitate testing of nursing home staff and a commitment to share inspection data on low performing nursing homes with state authorities.
The White House move follows Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s recent unveiling of a family caregiver plan that aims to greatly expand and subsidize alternatives to institutional care for frail older adults.
Both men are retooling their messages to seniors against a backdrop of eroding political support for Trump among older Americans.