First Minister, Mark Drakeford has hit back after President Trump retweeted a tweet suggesting that the US could become like Wales if Joe Biden is elected US President.
On October 6, Donald Trump shared a tweet by Fox News host Laura Ingraham which said: “Your future under Biden: “Rolling lockdowns’ will become norm in Wales”.
The tweet linked to a BBC News story in which Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Frank Atherton said that Wales could be going “in and out of (the current restrictions) over the next few months”. In the same story, Dr. Atherton noted the outbreaks across many Welsh universities, saying “We saw (outbreaks) in Swansea, Aberystwyth and recently the same picture up in Bangor”.
Several Welsh cities and towns have found themselves the subject of local lockdown restrictions after a rising number of cases across Wales.
The retweet has been seen by some as criticism of the Welsh response to the coronavirus, although many news outlets seemed to have misattributed this as a direct quotation by Trump, instead of concentrating on the statement’s author, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham.
Since, First Minister Mark Drakeford has hit back at the comments. “The tweet said that if Biden was elected then the US would look like Wales,” he said.
“I think there are very many people in America who would be delighted with that,” he added.
Who is Ingraham?
In the media limelight since the mid-1990s, Ingram has a checkered past of misleading and offensive comments.
These include her being described as having the “the most extreme anti-homosexual views imaginable” by her former university newspaper’s faculty adviser.
Additionally, she has likened detention centers where the Trump administration separated children from their immigrant parents as “summer camps that resemble boarding schools.” The reporter has aslo claimed that asylum seekers in the US carry ebola, and she has endorsed noted American white supremacist and anti-Semite Paul Nehlen.
Most recently she pushed the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. This, as well as the fact that Fox News has repeatedly defended Ingraham and her comments, which she usually dismissed as “liberal propaganda” could explain Trump’s sympathies towards her.
Trump: COVID-19 expert?
Many news outlets noted that, instead of criticizing the pandemic response of Wales, Mr. Trump should consider dealing with the bigger problems he’s responsible for, including the 210,000 American COVID-19 casualties and an economic downturn of an unprecedented magnitude.
In addition to Drakeford, several prominent Welsh politicians have also responded.
Sion Jobbins, co-founder of Yes Cymru, said that, had the rolling lockdowns happened in the US “you’d probably be looking at a lot less people dying, wouldn’t you?”.
“Like quite a lot of people I’m actually surprised that Donald Trump has even heard of Wales – and I’d be even more surprised if he has a detailed grasp of the situation here. I’m not convinced he’s got a detailed grasp of it in America, to be honest,” Jobbins added.
Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price said: “If Donald Trump and Fox News are now criticizing Wales then clearly Wales is doing something right. No country in the world is going to take public health lessons from President Trump – and certainly not Wales”.
He added: ”I look forward to welcoming Joe Biden to Wales as the next president of the United States”.
Dr Atherton said he hoped “most people in Wales don’t take President Trump as their guide on how to deal with coronavirus.
“I think people are perhaps a little more thoughtful than that”.twitter Follow @gairrhyddpol for all of the latest updates from the world of politics.