Trump fires off tweets as US tackles coronavirus, including messages supporting rollback of guidelines to mitigate spread

The White House listed no events on his public schedule Monday morning.

March 23, 2020, 2:27 PM

As the nation reeled from the novel coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump spent his Monday morning on Twitter, sharing 29 tweets and retweets that ranged from criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden to attacking The New York Times, and shared messages that supported rolling back national guidelines aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Trump was scheduled to have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence at 12:30 p.m. but had nothing else on his publicly released schedule. The White House planned to hold a news conference on coronavirus at 5:30 p.m. The president, while not scheduled to attend the news conference, has shown up daily and was widely expected to do so again Monday.

The White House maintains a separate schedule for the president that contains meetings and calls not listed on the public version. It did not respond to a question about what else the president was doing on Monday morning.

Over the course of four hours on Twitter, Trump commented on the Olympics, attacked The New York Times, criticized former Vice President Joe Biden, and retweeted a message from an account with the handle @SexCounseling noting "The fear of the virus cannot collapse our economy that President Trump has built up."

A man wearing a face mask amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus walks past the Olympic countdown clock outside Tokyo station on March 23, 2020.
Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images

He also retweeted a number of messages supportive of loosening health guidelines in order to dampen the impact of the pandemic on the economy.

Those retweets came after he tweeted last night, shortly before midnight, "WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!"

Public health experts have warned that measures may have to stay in place for longer than 15 days. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last week he thought Americans would have to stay home for "at least several weeks" to slow the spread.

"If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks and other areas, at least going to be several weeks," he told NBC News.

Shortly after noon, the president shared a news article that reported a case where a man who took a specific drug -- a decades-old medicine used against malaria -- to treat COVID-19 seems to have recovered from the virus.

The headline connected the man's survival to Trump pushing specific drugs -- in news conferences and on Twitter -- despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration having not approved any drugs to treat COVID-19 and as top health officials warn any success with these drugs has so far only been anecdotal.

This report was featured in the Tuesday, March 24, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.

"Start Here" offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, the ABC News app or wherever you get your podcasts.

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