Donald Trump’s son has been heavily criticised after claiming COVID-19 will “magically disappear” after the US presidential election.
During an interview with Fox News, Eric Trump claimed the pandemic was being used as an excuse to disrupt his father’s re-election bid, labelling it as a “cognisant strategy” being used by the president’s critics.
The presidential election has been set for November 3, with the younger Trump claiming the virus is going to be used against his father to stop him holding political rallies.
“They think they’re taking away Donald Trump’s greatest tool, which is to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every time,” he told Fox News reporter Jeanine Pirro.
“You watch – they will milk it every single day between now and 3 November. And guess what, after 3 November, coronavirus will magically, all of a sudden, go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen.”
Trump also lashed out at presumptive Democratic election candidate Joe Biden, suggesting he “loves” the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus because he could not draw crowds to political events like his father could.
Biden’s campaign criticised Trump’s comments, lashing them as “unbelievable reckless”.
“We’re in the middle of the biggest public health emergency in a century, with almost 90,000 Americans dead, 1.5 million infected, and 36 million workers newly jobless,” said Biden communications director Kate Bedingfield.
“So for Eric Trump to claim that the coronavirus is a political hoax that will ‘magically’ disappear is absolutely stunning and unbelievably reckless.”
She also added that the Trump administration was “desperate to do whatever they can to throw up a smokescreen to try to conceal his historic mismanagement of this crisis.”
Eric Trump’s claims about the virus “magically” disappearing are similar to comments made by his father in the early days of the pandemic.
During one of his political rallies before social distancing restrictions were imposed, the president claimed the COVID-19 outbreak would “go away like magic” when the weather started to warm up.
On Sunday, President Trump promised Americans a speedy return to normalcy, with his comments seeming to be more optimistic than most experts say is realistic.
“We’re looking at vaccines, we’re looking at cures and we are very, very far down the line,” he said while calling into a charity golf tournament broadcast Sunday broadcast on NBC.
“I think that’s not going to be in the very distant future. But even before that, I think we’ll be back to normal.”
Trump said events would likely resume with small crowds – if any – but hopes that, by the time the Masters Tournament is played in November, the crowds can return.
Health experts, however, say the world could be months, if not years, away from having a vaccine available to everyone, and they have warned that easing restrictions too quickly could cause the virus to rebound.
— with AP