US president Donald Trump speaking to supporters on Saturday (REUTERS)

Donald Trump graded his coronavirus pandemic response with a ‘D’ and appeared to admit to trying to blackmail Oracle, in talks to partner with TikTok, into supporting his patriotic education programme during his latest campaign rally.

The US president, who referred to himself on Saturday as “Donald Prump”, told supporters that the coronavirus “should’ve been stopped in China”, as he championed his administration’s D-grade response.

Speaking in front of a crowd in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the president praised the “largest industrial mobilisation since World War Two”, in order to produce ventilators and treatments,  

“[If] Somebody said, what grade would you give yourself? I said ‘A+’, but I would give myself a D,” he told the crowd, as American coronavirus deaths neared 200,000.

“I would say – I would give myself and my whole group – because Mike Pence is great, Mike really worked so hard, it's so unfair, he worked so hard,” said Mr Trump, in apparent reference to criticism over his administration’s handling of the pandemic, partly overseen by the vice president’s leadership of the White House coronavirus task force.

“The ventilators, the vaccines, the therapeutics we now have,” he continued. “Look at what's happening when somebody gets very sick, we bring’em [patients] back so often, compared to what it was originally”.

In an event that lasted more than 90 minutes, president Trump also appeared to admit he asked Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison put $5 billion towards a “patriotic” education programme announced this week, as part of a proposed deal to purchase the US operations of Chinese social media app TikTok.

Under the deal announced on Saturday, TikTok’s US assets are set to be owned by a new company called TikTok Global that will be headquartered in the United States, possibly in Texas, Mr Trump said.

“I said [to Mr Ellison] – you know – do me a favour, could you put up $5 billion into a fund so we can educate people as to the real history of our country”, said Mr Trump, adding that his so-called “1776 Commission” would teach “the real history, not the fake history.”

Story continues

The president used a Constitution Day speech earlier this week to denounce The New York Times’ 1619 initiative teaching children about American slavery, accusing it of being unpatriotic, as he set out a counter-project.

It was unclear whether or not Oracle will help fund the Trump administration’s “pro-America” education programme following his approval of the TikTok deal.

The Chinese government still has to agree to the proposals announced on Saturday.

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