Donald Trump is in charge of the nation’s response to the coronavirus, which may or may not become a global pandemic. He oversees the Centers for Disease Control, whose spokesperson warned that it was no longer a question of if but when the virus would affect the U.S. Trump sought to reassure the public by putting VP Pence in charge of coordinating federal agencies that are involved, despite the fact that Pence has a long record of belittling and ignoring science.

At a rally in South Carolina, Trump said the coronavirus is a hoax invented by Democrats and the liberal media to make him look bad.

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — President Donald Trump on Friday night tried to cast the global outbreak of the coronavirus as a liberal conspiracy intended to undermine his first term, lumping it alongside impeachment and the Mueller investigation.

He blamed the press for acting hysterically about the virus, which has now spread to China, Japan, South Korea, Iran, Italy and the U.S, and he downplayed its dangers, saying against expert opinion it was on par with the flu.

The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. They’re politicizing it,” he said. “They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.’ That did not work out too well. They could not do it. They tried the impeachment hoax.”

Then Trump called the coronavirus “their new hoax.”

Trump’s comments came as the White House has struggled to adequately respond to and contain the coronavirus’s increasingly sweeping path. At the rally — held here on the eve of the Democratic primary in South Carolina — he sought to manage Americans’ expectations about the White House’s ability to fight it.

By undermining the news reporting on the virus and by trying to hold liberals responsible for a potential public health crisis that has little to do with politics, Trump did what he often does best: He sought to deflect blame at a time when many Americans sought leadership and scientific facts.

Trump portrayed his efforts to close the southern border as the best response to coronavirus, even though the virus originated in China.

His treatment of the coronavirus as a political issue whipped up by Democrats contradicts the judgment of every international public health organization and guarantees that he has no plan or personnel to prepare for the spread of the disease. Actual people are dying. But Trump has repeatedly cut the budget and personnel of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes for Health. He thinks he is still playing the host of ”The Apprentice.”

Trump is not only a danger to democracy but a danger to our lives.