A new report has found “overwhelming opposition” among Democratic leaders to Bernie Sanders winning the party’s nomination against Donald Trump, as the president faced increasing criticism over his administration's response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Though a new poll put him ahead of Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator blasted Mr Trump as “incompetent and inadequate” while ridiculing his appointing Mike Pence to oversee the crisis. Meanwhile, the New York Times said Democratic delegates were unlikely to hand the nomination to Mr Sanders if he failed to garner a majority.
Mr Trump followed a press conference on the global epidemic on Wednesday night in which he said Americans faced only a “very low” risk from the virus by tweeting about the FBI spying on his campaign team in 2016, a gesture giving credence to the Vermont senator’s rebuke.
At a White House news conference, Mr Trump sought to minimise fears as he insisted the US is “very, very ready” for whatever the COVID-19 outbreak brings.
Under fire about the government’s response, he put Mr Pence in charge of coordinating the efforts.
“This will end,” Mr Trump said of the outbreak. “You don’t want to see panic because there’s no reason to be panicked.”
But standing next to him, the very health officials Mr Trump praised for fighting the new coronavirus stressed that schools, businesses and individuals need to get ready.
“We do expect more cases,” said Dr Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If the CDC confirms that the latest US case doesn’t involve travel or contact with an infected person, it would be a first in this country and a sign that efforts to contain the virus’ spread haven’t been enough.
Additional reporting by AP. Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load