President Donald Trump's Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday suggested the deadly coronavirus that has sparked fears of a global pandemic could have a bright side, at least for the United States: more jobs.
"Every American's heart has to go out to the victims of the coronavirus, so I don't want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease," Ross said in an interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business. "But the fact is it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain."
"It's another risk factor that people need to take into account," added Ross. "I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to [the] U.S., probably some to Mexico as well."
"Ah, that's a good point actually," responded Bartiromo.
Secretary Wilbur Ross says coronavirus will be good for [checks notes] American jobs: "I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America." pic.twitter.com/Y4SbDIcTi4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 30, 2020
The coronavirus has killed at least 170 people in China and infected nearly 8,000 more as the Chinese government and other nations have worked to contain the outbreak with travel bans and restrictions.
Ross' rosy assessment of potential U.S. economic gains from the virus was immediately denounced as grossly callous.
These people are so sick and heartless. And just imagine the uproar if a member of any other administration said this.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says China’s coronavirus ‘will help’ bring jobs back to U.S. https://t.co/KRXR8v4a7Q
— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) January 30, 2020
"This is the kind of thing you say when you have no soul," tweeted Jonathan Metzl, director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University.