President Trump says his use of the word "hoax" does not refer to the coronavirus itself but to criticism of his administration's handling of the crisis.
Asked if he regretted calling the virus spread a hoax during a rally in South Carolina Friday night, Trump insisted that he didn’t.
“Hoax referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody,” Trump said of administration critics. “I’m not talking about what’s happening here, I’m talking about what they’re doing.”
Trump said the criticism was a “continuation of the hoax,” and mentioned the Russia investigation and his impeachment.
He then said he doesn’t like when his officials on the virus response are criticized.
“I don’t like it when they are criticizing these people and I don’t like it,” he said. “That’s the hoax I’m talking about.”
More on this: The President said at the rally in South Carolina Friday that Democrats are now "politicizing" the virus. "Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus," Trump said. "They have no clue, they can't even count their votes in Iowa."
"This is their new hoax," Trump added.