Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Friday morning that the news media is trying to use the growing coronavirus crisis to “take down” President Donald Trump.

Speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Mulvaney claimed that Trump had briefed Congress on the virus six weeks ago but the media’s preoccupation with Trump’s impeachment kept the news from being disseminated, according to The Hill:

“Why didn’t you hear about it? The press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president.”

The only reason the media is covering coronavirus now, Mulvaney continued, is in an effort to “take down the president.”:

“Is it real? It absolutely is real. But you saw the president the other day — the flu is real.

“Are you going to see some schools shut down? Probably. May you see impacts on public transportation? Sure. We know how to handle this.”

A whistleblower with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), however, says the administration is far from ready for what could be waiting in the future as coronavirus infections continue to rise across the United States. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported:

“Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services sent more than a dozen workers to receive the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, without proper training for infection control or appropriate protective gear, according to a whistleblower complaint.

“The workers did not show symptoms of infection and were not tested for the virus, according to lawyers for the whistleblower, a senior HHS official based in Washington who oversees workers at the Administration for Children and Families, a unit within HHS.”

Financial markets are also not buying the administration’s deflection via conspiracy theory. As of 10:10 a.m. EST on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen another 800 points after shedding over 1,100 points on Thursday.

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