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Trump says coronavirus is "receding" even as cases and deaths rise

Trump says coronavirus pandemic is "under control"
Trump says U.S. coronavirus pandemic is "under control" despite rising death toll 02:05

President Trump claimed the coronavirus is "receding" in the U.S., as COVID-19 cases continue to climb and schools scramble to deal with plans to teach students virtually and in person. Meanwhile, negotiators on Capitol Hill are trying to reach a deal on aid for millions of Americans struggling and out of work.

On Sunday, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said of the epidemic in the U.S., "What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal urban areas." Comments like this prompted the president to lash out at his own administration's leading expert.

"So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics," the president tweeted early Monday. "In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!"

Contradicting Birx, the president said he thinks the virus is "receding" and added that while some hot spots remain, the country is generally heading in the right direction. 

"We are beginning to see evidence of significant progress nationwide," Mr. Trump said during a press conference at the White House. "… An encouraging sign, very encouraging, I have to add, that the virus is receding."

Trump criticizes Dr. Birx after she issues dire coronavirus warning 02:03

Pressed on his criticism of Birx, the president merely reiterated that he thinks the country is doing very well.

He and his supporters have offered comments critical of Dr. Anthony Fauci, a more outspoken member of the task force. But until now, the president had only positive things to say about Birx. 

Back on Capitol Hill, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows are working with top Democrats to reach a deal on coronavirus aid. Expanded unemployment benefits expired last week after the House, Senate and White House were unable to reach a deal. Mnuchin said they are a "little" closer to an agreement. 

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