Donald Trump on Sunday lamented that becoming president had cost him billions of dollars – a day after refusing to rule out taking bail out money for his business in the wake of the coronavirus.
The president said that it ‘cost me billions of dollars to be president of the United States’. He also said wife Melania had never heard him booed before he ran for office.
Trump’s comments came during his daily coronavirus briefing.
He had earlier attacked the reporter who asked if he had sold off any of his stock for his ‘nasty question’ during the Sunday evening press conference into the worldwide pandemic.
Trump said: ‘That’s a nasty question. It’s a nasty question but I guess it deserved to be asked. I don’t have stock. I own things.
‘Look at my legal costs. It cost me billions of dollars to be president, and I’m so happy I did it. Because who cares?’
Four senators dumped millions of dollars worth of stock while Capitol Hill was being briefed on the threat of coronavirus but before the markets tanked as infections soared, disclosure records have revealed.
Republicans Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler and James Inhofe and Democrat Dianne Feinstein collectively offloaded up to $11million in stock between late January and early February, according to reports.
Discussing his own wealth Trump said Sunday: ‘When I ran I said “this is going to cost me a fortune”. I am being sued by people o never even heard of. I think it is very hard for rich people to run for office.’
President Donald Trump, flanked by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor, speaks during a news conference, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Washington D.C. on Sunday
Trump on Saturday said he will not rule out accepting government assistance for his Trump Organization after the company closed Mar-a-Lago, fired staff, and even shut down the bars at its Washington D.C. luxury hotel in the wake of the coronavirus.
‘I don’t know. I mean, I just don’t know what the government assistance would be for what I have. I have hotels. Everybody knew I had hotels when I got elected. They knew I was a successful person when I got elected so it’s one of those things,’ he said Saturday at his daily coronavirus briefing.
The administration is working on a financial rescue package for workers and businesses affected by the disease.
‘Is it hurting me? Yeah, it’s hurting Hilton, it’s hurting all the great hotel chains all over the world. It’s hurting everybody,’ the president said of the economic fallout of the coronavirus. ‘Very few businesses that are doing well.’
But, he added, the closures were a good thing as more than 22,000 people in the United States have been affected and almost 300 people have died.
‘I think it’s a good thing. You don’t want people getting together hotels and clubs and everything, you get together. We want to beat this deal. I have many of them, hotels, clubs, things like that where people get together. I would think it would be a good practice to close them up,’ Trump said.
The president said he also didn’t give his sons – Don Jr. and Eric – who took over running the company after he was elected – any advance warning about restrictions coming to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
‘I didn’t speak to anybody,’ he said. ‘I speak to my sons. They basically follow the rules. When they say close them down in New York, we close them down or wherever they may be having them.’
Several states where the Trump Organization has properties have closed bars, restaurants, gyms, clubs and other areas where large numbers of people gather to help contain the spread.
‘Various facilities are temporarily closed given local, state and federal mandates. We anxiously await the day when this pandemic is over and our world-class facilities can reopen,’ a spokesperson for the Trump Organization told DailyMail.com.
Mar-a-Lago became Ground Zero for the coronavirus after a Brazilian official who dined there tested positive for the disease
Bars in The Trump International Hotel Washington D.C. closed because of the mayor’s call to close them in order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus
The White House is pushing for a $1 trillion package that would include $200 billion for the airlines and other critical industries directly affected by the coronavirus, such as the hospitality industry. Hotels and restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic as people are staying home.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a close Trump ally who has dined at Mar-a-Lago, on Friday issued an executive order that all restaurants and gyms in the state must close. Restaurants are allowed to do take-out orders.
Earlier this week he closed bars and nightclubs to slow down the spread of the disease during Spring Break’s high peak season.
But the order also affected Trump’s Winter White House in Palm Beach, which became Ground Zero for the administration and the virus after a Brazilian official who attended a dinner there March 8 tested positive for the disease.
That had a cascade effect as the president was at the dinner along with several members of his administration and the first family. President Trump has tested negative for the disease.
But the club was closed Monday for a deep cleaning. Other guests from the March 8 event had to be tested for the virus. At least three cases have been tied to attendees there.
Normally, the president would spend weekends at Mar-a-Lago this time of year, where he would enjoy dinner with his fellow club members and spending time at his Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach.
Additionally, earlier this week, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered all restaurants, bars, and clubs to close to help contain the pandemic.
That order closed the restaurant and bar at the Trump International Hotel Washington D.C., which sets just blocks from the White House.
The hotel is a popular watering hole for Republicans. Members of the Trump family have been seen in its bars and restaurants when they are in town. And the president sometimes dines there.
‘As an organization we are following federal, state and local direction and guidance very carefully,’ Eric Trump, who took over leading the company after his father’s election, told The New York Times.
The Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York has fired 40 members of its staff as it struggles ahead of a’significant shortfall in revenues’
At Trump’s National Doral Miami club, the golf course is closed but the pool remains open
The Trump Organization cut staff – 40 from its New York hotel and 95 per cent from its Washington location – along with closing golf courses in Los Angeles and the Miami area, the paper reported.
In a letter to owners of units in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York on Thursday and obtained by The Times, general manager Matthew Vandegrift warned of a ‘significant shortfall in revenues.’
‘While we recognize that hope is not a strategy, I can assure you we are thoroughly analyzing expenses,’ Vandegrift wrote. ‘Strategies have been deployed to mitigate the expected financial losses as a result of COVID-19.’
Several business have had to take lay off staff after being closed to help stop the spread of the highly contagious disease.
The Trump Organization owns more than a dozen golf clubs and at least partially owns or operates hotels in Chicago, Hawaii, Las Vegas, New York, Vancouver and Washington D.C., as well as Ireland and Scotland.
The president’s Bedminster New Jersey golf club, where he often spends summer weekends, is open for play although the club told members no caddies or other services were available.
At Trump’s National Doral Miami club, the golf course is closed but the pool remains open.
Donald Trump pledges to send in the national guard into Washington, California and New York as the hardest hit states are declared disaster zones
Donald Trump on Sunday pledged to send in the national guard into Washington, California and New York, as the hardest hit states were declared disaster zones.
The disaster declaration will provide federal assistance for both emergency protective measures and crisis counseling in Washington, the White House said.
Trump said Sunday: ‘And through (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the federal government will be funding 100 per cent of the cost of deploying national guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus while those governors remain in command.
‘We’ll be following them and we hope they can do the job and I think they will. I spoke with all three of the governors today, just a little while ago and they’re very happy with what we’re going to be doing.’
President Donald Trump gestures during a news conference on Sunday
Washington gov. Jay Inslee said the federal declaration was appreciated but added it was a ‘first step’ that doesn’t go far enough. Health officials there reported at least 95 coronavirus deaths in Washington state and nearly 2,000 confirmed cases Sunday.
In a statement Inslee said ‘today’s declaration does not unlock many forms of federal assistance we have requested to help workers and families who are badly hurting.
‘We will continue working with our federal partners to deliver the full suite of disaster assistance that is sorely needed in our state, such as expanded unemployment benefits for workers who lose their paychecks as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.’
Trump also said Sunday he’d ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ship mobile hospital centers to the hard-hit states of Washington, California and New York amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The president said FEMA will also provide thousands of hospital beds to New York, Califnoria and Washington plus dozens of medical stations which will be with the states in 48 hours.
Two naval hospitals – one the east and west coast – will also be used.
Trump said Sunday: ‘I’m a wartime president. This is a war — a different kind of war than we’ve ever had.’
He added: ‘We’re sort of a backup for states.’
New York City Grand Central Station pictured Sunday amid the coronavirus outbreak
A man wearing a face mask walks across the street in San Francisco on Friday, a day after California’s Governor Gavin Newsom implemented a statewide ‘stay at home order’ directing the state’s nearly 40 million residents to stay in their homes for the foreseeable future
California gov. Gavin Newsom has earlier written to Trump asking that the state be declared a ‘major disaster’.
He said: ‘Unfortunately, California has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
‘Besides California being home to nearly 40 million people, which itself poses significant logistical issues few other states face, California partnered with the federal government in several extremely complex and challenging repatriation missions, which strained California’s resources and impacted California’s healthcare delivery system.’
There were more than 33,000 cases across the U.S. and more than 400 deaths. New York state accounted for 117 deaths, mostly in New York City.
On Sunday, New York passed Washington state, the initial epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, in the number of fatal cases.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had said earlier: ‘I think the federal government should order factories to manufacture masks, gowns, ventilators, the essential medical equipment that is going to make the difference between life and death.’
Cuomo has told hospitals to figure out ways to increase their current beds by at least 50% because predictions from health officials are that COVID-19 cases needing advanced medical care will top 100,000 in New York state in the next month or so. Such a deluge could overwhelm hospitals in a city that has about 53,000 beds.
Hospitals started to feel the crush Sunday, creating emergency room overflows and dedicating COVID-19 wings, with officials in Brooklyn saying a number were becoming overwhelmed.
A worker at Life Care Center in Kirkland wears a mask as she leaves the facility Friday evening. The nursing home has been at the center of the outbreak of the new coronavirus in Washington
Health care workers said they were being asked to reuse and ration disposable masks and gloves.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.
Washington also announced that all state campgrounds would be closed until April 30.