By and large, Donald Trump and his team have responded to the coronavirus in a tempered way. Yesterday, for example, the president published a tweet, featuring photographs from the White House Situation Room, with a message about the health threat that was intended to be reassuring.
"Just received a briefing on the Coronavirus in China from all of our GREAT agencies, who are also working closely with China," Trump wrote. "We will continue to monitor the ongoing developments. We have the best experts anywhere in the world, and they are on top of it 24/7!"
It came on the heels of a related presidential tweet from last week in which the Republican wrote, "China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!"
Few will ever extol Trump's prose, but there was nothing inherently problematic with the message itself. Perhaps Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross should've echoed it.
"Well, first of all, every American's heart has to go out to the victims of the coronavirus. So I don't want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease," Ross told Fox Business Network on Thursday. "But the fact is, it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain.""On top of all the other things, you had SARS, you had the African swine virus there, now you have this," Ross continued. "It's another risk factor that people need to take into account. So I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America. Some to U.S., probably some to Mexico as well."
For the record, when a sentence begins, "I don't want to talk about a victory lap over a very malignant disease, but..." that sentence will not and cannot end well.
As NBC News' report added, as of yesterday, "there have been more than 7,700 confirmed cases of the virus as the death toll in China hit 170 people."
Closer to home, there are five confirmed case of the virus in the United States, while 165 people are under investigation, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.