Three new cases of coronavirus were reported Sunday in the United States, according to a New York Times report — two in Washington state, and one in Rhode Island, that state’s first. But while Donald Trump took to his Twitter account to announce new coronavirus screening measures for travelers entering the country, he also took time to attack former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — and to praise a Mexican restaurant in Arizona.
In his tweet, however — as seen in the Facebook post below, from the restaurant’s owners — Trump mistakenly named the location of Sammy’s Mexican Grill as Phoenix, Arizona, rather than the actual location which is in the Tucson area.
“The food is GREAT at Sammy’s Mexican Grill,” Trump tweeted, moments after owners Jorge and Betty Rivas appeared on the Fox News program Fox & Friends on Sunday morning, as described in a report by Fox Business.
The couple claimed in the interview that they were attacked online with negative reviews for their restaurant, after they were seen in attendance — in the VIP section — at Trump’s campaign rally in Phoenix on February 19, damaging their revenues at Sammy’s. But the couple said on the Fox program that by Saturday, business had recovered to normal levels.
The Rivas couple have been longtime supporters of Trump, breaking from many voters of Latin descent who oppose his administration’s immigration policies. At an Arizona rally in 2016, Trump himself called Betty Rivas on to his podium when he spotted her holding a placard reading “Latinos For Trump.”
Live-tweeting Fox News broadcasts has been a regular habit for Trump throughout his term in office. According to researcher Matt Gertz, who has studied Trump’s Twitter patterns, in 2019 alone Trump live-tweeted Fox programs 613 times. That was an average of approximately 1.5 tweets per day directly echoing, amplifying, or otherwise responding to reports and commentary by Fox News.
In the one post on his Sunday Twitter feed responding to the coronavirus outbreak, as of 11 a.m EST, Trump said that travelers flying to the United States from “high risk” countries would now be screened for the virus both on departure and upon arrival in the U.S.
The Rhode Island coronavirus patient is reported to be a male in his 40s who had recently traveled to Italy, arriving back in the U.S. on February 22. Italy has become one of the countries hardest hit by the outbreak of the new virus, with more than 1,100 cases confirmed, and 29 fatalities from the disease, as of Saturday.
The two new cases in Washington state, which on Saturday was also the site of the first coronavirus fatality in the U.S., are both men in their 60s. Both are listed in critical condition, according to the New York Times report.