(Mar 13): The America First presidency collided with a global pandemic on the evening of March 11. The result did not appear to reassure skittish markets or a nervous nation. President Donald Trump relied on a familiar playbook as he spoke in a prime-time address from the Oval Office, announcing sweeping new restrictions on travel from Europe and scattered executive actions to help workers and businesses rocked by what he labelled a “foreign virus.”

He blamed allies for not adopting tough immigration measures that he said had prevented a wider outbreak in the US. But the combative approach and small-bore measures seemed only to highlight the president’s struggles to confront the most consequential moment of his presidency.

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