“Obviously, this is patently false,” she added of Mr. Trump’s remarks, in an unusually direct criticism of a US ally.New Zealand was hailed as a global achievement after and Ardern has been hailed as “anti-Trump”.
But the recent discovery of a cluster in Auckland has forced the country’s largest city to retreat.
A tanOn Monday, Mr. Trump jumped on this development as proof that his critics – who set New Zealand’s example – were wrong.
“You see what’s going on in New Zealand,” Mr. Trump told supporters. “They beat him; they beat him. It was like the first page (information), they beat it because they wanted to show me something. ”
Citing a “strong push in New Zealand,” Trump added: “It’s terrible. We don’t want that. “
New Zealand, with a population of five million, has confirmed around 1,300 cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began around eight months ago and now has around 70 active cases.
The United States, in contrast, is the hardest-hit country in the world with more than five million cases and more than 170,000 deaths.
This is not the first time that Mr. Trump and Ardern – a relatively young center-left leader – have clashed.
Shortly after her stunning election victory in 2017, Mr. Trump met her at a summit in Vietnam and joked that she had “caused a lot of upheaval in her country.”
“You know, no one walked when I was elected,” she retorted, referring to the protests that followed Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016.
Both leaders are heading for an election in the coming weeks, and for both, the beard swap is likely to play well with supporters.
Ardern was forced todue to the latest outbreak, endangering its considerable lead in the polls.
Mr Trump is behind Democrat Joe Biden in the polls and faces stiff criticism over his handling of the pandemic.