Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) lashed out at presidential scion Donald Trump Jr. for claiming Democrats seemingly want the coronavirus to kill “millions of people” so they can end President Donald Trump’s “streak of winning,” threatening a “serious altercation” on Friday morning if the first son got near him.
With financial markets tanking amid growing fears over the coronavirus, Team Trump and right-wing media have trained their attention on complaining about how Democrats and mainstream media have reacted to the Trump administration’s disjointed response to the crisis. During a Friday morning Fox & Friends appearance, Trump Jr. insisted that Democrats were rooting for a massive disaster.
“For them to try to take a pandemic and seemingly hope that it comes here and kills millions of people so that they can end Donald Trump’s streak of winning is a new level of sickness,” he bellowed.
Appearing on MSNBC shortly thereafter, Garamendi was asked by host Hallie Jackson to react to those remarks. He immediately puffed his chest.
“He should not be near me when he says that,” the congressman seethed.
“Why not?” Jackson wondered aloud.
“There would be a serious altercation,” the California Democrat replied. “That is just totally outrageous. I can assure you that there’s not a Democrat or Republican in Congress that wants anybody to be sick.”
Garamendi went on to explain his concerns about the administration’s response to the viral outbreak, noting that the United States has been aware since December of the growing epidemic in China and that Americans have been exposed to it.
After criticizing Team Trump’s lack of preparation and planning, and referencing a whistleblower’s recent complaint highlighting the lack of training and safeguards for HHS personnel serving coronavirus evacuees, Garamendi concluded with another warning to the president’s eldest child.
“Don Jr. better not get close to me,” the Democratic lawmaker fumed. “It would not be a healthy situation.”
Following Garamendi’s challenge to Trump Jr., a spokesman for the president’s son provided the following response to The Daily Beast.
“The outrageous remarks from Congressman Garamendi were beyond the pale and should be universally condemned by Republicans and Democrats alike,” spokesperson Andy Surabian said. “Almost as outrageous as the Congressman’s comments was the lack of pushback from MSNBC host Hallie Jackson, who’s [sic] silence about political violence aimed towards a member of the first family, was truly deafening.”
“By threatening Don Jr. with physical violence on national TV, Congressman Garamendi made clear to everyone watching that he is better suited to represent Antifa than the people of California’s 3rd Congressional district,” he concluded. “He should apologize immediately.”
Garamendi, meanwhile, fired back with a statement of his own.
“My sole focus is on the health and safety of my constituents and all Americans," he said in response to Trump Jr. “Donald Trump Jr. made the outrageous statement that Democrats want people to die for political purposes. If he wants to come to my office to explain his comments, my door is open. There is no threat of physical violence—but he can expect a strong verbal altercation.”
“I will continue working to ensure our communities have the testing kits and resources necessary to successfully address the Coronavirus crisis. I hope Donald Trump Jr. and the President will join me in this effort,” Garamendi concluded.
—With reporting by Asawin Suebsaeng