Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a swipe at President Donald Trump’s nationalist rhetoric as America’s position as the global leader in cases of COVID-19 emerged.
Clinton took to Twitter to mock Trump’s “America First” slogan on Friday. Clinton has been consistently critical of her former campaign rival and the tweet was one of several she has recently made denouncing the president’s handling of the pandemic.
“He did promise ‘America First,'” Clinton wrote while sharing a New York Times article about the United Staes surpassing China and Italy to take top position in the number of COVID-19 cases. The U.S. total exceeded 100,000 cases as of Friday, with nearly 1,600 deaths.
Trump had repeatedly referred to “America First” while espousing a nationalist policy during his 2016 campaign against Clinton, and he famously used the term during his January 2017 inaugural address.
“We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power,” Trump said at the inauguration. “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.”
Clinton also blasted Trump Friday for apparently contradicting medical experts by insisting hospitals don’t need tens of thousands of additional ventilators. Officials in hard-hit areas of the country have requested the ventilators due what is said to be an increasingly short supply of the potentially life-saving medical equipment.
“A month ago, Trump said: ‘It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,'” tweeted Clinton. “Yesterday, he said: ‘I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.’ What will it take to get @realDonaldTrump to listen to experts instead of his own hunches?”
Trump said “nobody really knows what will happen” with COVID-19 during a White House meeting with African American leaders on February 27, while also claiming that the “incredible job” the administration was doing would lead to the virus vanishing.
“We have done an incredible job. We’re going to continue,” Trump said. “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
The following day, during a campaign rally in South Carolina, the president said that criticism of the administration’s response to the virus was the “new hoax” of Democrats determined to hurt his re-election chances.
Clinton previously accused Trump of “failing to lead and failing Americans” during the crisis, suggesting that the president had ignored the warnings U.S. intelligence officials reportedly gave him that a pandemic was on the way months before the situation began to spiral out of control.
“The Trump administration was told in January that coronavirus was likely to become a pandemic,” Clinton tweeted last week. “They refused to act for fear of spooking the markets, losing weeks of time to prepare that we won’t get back.”
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.