President Donald Trump was caught on video scrolling through his phone on Wednesday during a meeting with small business owners who've been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. As the video reveals, Trump picked up his phone as another of the meeting attendees detailed the hardships her business faced since the lockdown.
While it hasn't been confirmed, Salon pointed out that around the time of this incident, Trump tweeted a veiled threat directed at China. The tweet referenced Ambassador Robert Lighthizer's comments at a House hearing on Wednesday where he said that it was unlikely the Chinese and U.S. economies would be able to "decouple" from one another. "It was not Ambassador Lighthizer's fault (yesterday in Committee) in that perhaps I didn’t make myself clear, but the U.S. certainly does maintain a policy option, under various conditions, of a complete decoupling from China," Trump tweeted, adding a "Thank you!"
Trump scrolls through his phone while small business owners share their pandemic stories. pic.twitter.com/zKNJnT781E— The Recount (@therecount) June 18, 2020
Trump's scrolling comes amid increased criticism over his administration's handling of the pandemic, which has appeared to have turned into general disinterest. The once-daily coronavirus briefings, often a source of controversy in their own right, ceased weeks ago. On June 1, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of Trump's coronavirus task force, said that he hadn't seen the president in person in weeks.
"We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75 percent of the time after the task force meeting we'd meet with the president," Fauci told Stat News. "So I was meeting with him four times a week back, a month or so ago. But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately. And certainly, my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased."
While some places that had previously been hit hard by the pandemic, including New York City, have seen a slowdown of the spread, several states are reporting record-high spikes in infections. Despite the concerns from health officials, the president is slated to resume holding rallies, which will start on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It had also been noted that anyone who RSVP'd for the rally online was made to sign a disclaimer stating they couldn't sue the government if they contracted COVID-19.