U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday at a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of end of World War II (WWII) that the United States would “triumph” over the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) just as it did in 1945.
Due to the pandemic, which claimed over 1,600 lives in the US in the 24 hours ending on Friday evening, the anniversary was celebrated on a greatly reduced scale in Washington. The US president, accompanied by his spouse, Melania, went to the World War II Memorial, located close to the White House, for a brief wreath-laying ceremony attended by seven WWII veterans.
The Republican billionaire paid homage to “the forces of freedom who defeated tyranny” and referred to the “somber reminder of the price of freedom” paid by U.S. soldiers who took part in the war, according to a White House press release.
“Most of these selfless and heroic warriors had never known life in a prosperous America. They grew up during the Great Depression, when America’s economic prospects seemed bleak,” the U.S. president said, on a day when the Department of Labor released catastrophic statistics on unemployment in the United States.
According to the Department, the country’s unemployment rate reached 14.7% in April, its highest since the Great Depression, and 20.5 million jobs were lost as non-essential businesses closed their doors amid the pandemic.
“Over the past months, our nation has faced remarkable adversity during the Coronavirus pandemic, but as we have so many times before, America will triumph,” Trump stressed.
Despite the historic ties between Europe and the United States, Donald Trump has used his presidency to shake up established alliances, complaining for example that Europe enjoys unfair trade advantages and the U.S. foots too much of the NATO bill.
For the moment, however, Covid-19 is arguably one of the main challenges facing the US president. The United States registered 1,635 deaths from the virus in the 24-hour period ending on Friday at 8.30 p.m., bringing the cumulative death toll to over 77,000, according to the daily tally by the Johns Hopkins University.
The number of known infections increased by 29,079 during the same period, giving a cumulative total of 1.28 million officially diagnosed cases.