© J. Scott Applewhite In a tweet, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., called President Trump the “xenophobe. In. chief.”
WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats slammed President Donald Trump after he announced that he plans to suspend immigration to the United States, arguing that such a move does nothing to protect Americans from the coronavirus and deflects attention away from his handling of the outbreak.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., tweeted that Trump is the “xenophobe. In. chief.”
“This action is not only an attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives but an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis and advance his anti-immigrant agenda. We must come together to reject his division,” tweeted Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Shortly after 10 p.m. ET on Monday, Trump announced in a tweet, “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
There were no additional details. A senior administration official said Trump could sign the executive order as early as this week.
The tweet came as the death toll in the U.S. from COVID-19 topped 42,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins’ Coronavirus Resource Center.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., Democrats’ 2016 vice presidential nominee, called it a “pathetic attempt to shift blame from his Visible Incompetence to an Invisible Enemy.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a possible vice presidential pick for Joe Biden in his 2020 White House race, said Trump has “failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1. The abandonment of his role as president has cost lives.”
“Tonight we have crossed 790,000 infections and 42,000 dead. This corrupt buffoon will try any poisonous distraction and blame anyone to deflect from his failures that are killing our fellow Americans,” tweeted Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.
A co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., tweeted that the president was “giving into racism & xenophobia.”
Healthcare workers react outside NYU Langone Medical Center on 1st Avenue in Manhattan. Emergency responders and people came out to cheer and thank the healthcare workers on April 20 in New York City, New York.
Volunteers direct traffic in Bolinas, a coastal enclave in Northern California that began testing all residents for the novel coronavirus and its antibodies on Monday, April 20 in Bolinas, California.
A medical professional conducts tests for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bolinas, a coastal enclave in Northern California on April 20.
Registered nurses at UC Irvine Medical Center hold a candlelight vigil at their shift change to describe conditions and the need for more N95 respirators and protective gear on April 20 in Irvine, California.