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Top House Democrat denounces Trump for golfing during coronavirus outbreak

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Representative Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, knocked President Trump for suggesting Democrats were skipping town as the nation grapples with the spread of the coronavirus when he spent the weekend at his golf course in Florida.

During a press conference Tuesday, Jeffries, of New York, was asked to respond to Mr. Trump's tweet earlier in the day accusing Democrats of heading out on vacation in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Nancy Pelosi just said, 'I don't know if we can be ready this week.' In other words, it's off to vacation for the Do Nothing Democrats. That's been the story with them for 1 1/2 years!" Mr. Trump tweeted, referencing comments Pelosi, the House speaker, made Monday regarding whether the House would be prepared to vote this week on an economic relief package in response to the coronavirus.

Jeffries, however, criticized the president for flying to Florida for a weekend of golf while thousands of people worldwide are dying from the virus and the U.S. economy takes a hit from the spreading illness.  

"Donald Trump wants to lecture us when he spent the weekend at his Florida golf resort? With everything happening in this country, he wasn't in the Situation Room. He wasn't in the White House. He wasn't even in Washington, D.C.," the New York Democrat said. "Donald Trump was at a Florida golf resort hanging out with the billionaire boys club in the midst of a global epidemic."

Democrats, he added, are "not going to be lectured by Donald Trump about leadership when he's failed to show a scintilla of it in the midst of this whole crisis."

After touring tornado damage in Tennessee and visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Friday, Mr. Trump flew to Florida for a weekend at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach estate. He spent Saturday at Trump International Golf Club before returning to Mar-a-Lago for a working dinner with President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil. Mr. Trump returned to his golf club Sunday.

The Trump administration is working to minimize the economic impacts of the spreading coronavirus, particularly after financial markets plummeted Monday. The president is set to meet with congressional Republicans on Tuesday to discuss possible relief measures, including a payroll tax cut. He told reporters during a press conference at the White House on Monday his administration is working with Congress and the business community to ensure hourly workers "never miss a paycheck."

There are more than 780 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. across three dozen states and the District of Columbia. More than two dozen people in the U.S. have died from the virus.

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