President Donald Trump's son Eric Trump came under fire from critics after claiming on Fox News Saturday night that restrictions on public gatherings due to the coronavirus outbreak were designed to hurt his father's chances at re-election in November by curtailing the ability to hold rallies.
"After November 3rd, the coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen," the younger Trump told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro in a remote interview.
"Biden loves this," @EricTrump says, talking about agonizing shutdowns during the pandemic... "They'll milk it every single day between now and Nov. 3, and guess what, after Nov. 3, coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear... " pic.twitter.com/WS0CPQMtsj
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 17, 2020
Trump said the conspiracy was being used by former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to run against his father in the general election.
"Biden loves this, Biden can’t go out on stage without making a horrible blunder," said Trump. "They think they're taking away Donald Trump's greatest tool, which is being able to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every single time."
The coronavirus outbreak, which has largely paralyzed the world economy and at press time killed 89,498 people in the U.S., is not a hoax. Scientists and public health officials have credited social distancing measures with curbing the spread of the disease.
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Critics on social media took issue with Trump's cavalier attitude toward the virus.
"90,000 dead Americans, but Eric wants you to know Trump and his rallies are the real victims here," tweeted journalist S.E. Cupp.
MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle wondered why Trump and Pirro were doing the interview remotely if the two really believed the virus was a hoax.
"Why not do a face-to-face interview in the studio?" said Ruhle.
Fox News employees are working from home until at least June 15 because of the virus.