In an attempt to soothe spooked investors, President Trump on Wednesday night said the coronavirus pandemic has not triggered an economic catastrophe.
"This is not a financial crisis," he said during an address from the Oval Office. "This is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world."
The coronavirus has taken a toll on the financial markets; the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Wednesday 20 percent below its February high, The Wall Street Journal reports, ending its longest bull run. In his speech, Trump touted the U.S. economy, calling it the "greatest ... anywhere in the world, by far," and said he is taking "emergency action" to "provide extra support for American workers, families, and businesses."
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That includes instructing the Small Business Administration to start giving out billions of dollars worth of low-interest loans and telling the Treasury Department to defer tax payments, without interest or penalties, "for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted" by coronavirus. Trump also said he is asking Congress to "consider strongly" enacting "immediate payroll tax relief."
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