In surprisingly brief remarks at the beginning of a press briefing about the government response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on Sunday afternoon, President Donald Trump declared himself “very happy” that the Federal Reserve had cut interest rates to near-zero in an emergency bid to protect the economy from the pandemic.
“It makes me very happy, and I want to congratulate the Federal Reserve,” Trump told reporters in the White House briefing room, adding that it was “really great for our country” and that “people in the market should be very thrilled.”
“That’s a big step, and I’m very happy they did it, and you will not hear anything bad from me, unless it’s a month or two from now,” Trump said.
Trump also declared that Google had backed up his inaccurate claims that it was working on a public website that would help Americans “determine whether a [coronavirus] test is warranted,” despite the search giant issuing a statement noting that the site in question was in early stages and that it only has plans to be tested in the Bay Area.
After listing off the names of the chief executives of retailers and consumer products companies with whom he had met the day before and discouraging Americans from hoarding food, the president departed, leaving to Vice President Mike Pence the task of telling the American people that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 had jumped by more than a third since Saturday.
The number of people confirmed to be ill with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus rose from 2,200 people on Saturday to 2,900 at noon on Sunday, said Pence, who maintained that the “risk of serious illness remains low” for the general population.