Trump Calls New Zealand's 9 New COVID Cases 'Big Surge' as U.S. Records 42,000

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he leaves the White House in Washington, D.C. for a trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin on August 17, 2020. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

President Donald Trump called New Zealand's new COVID-19 outbreak "terrible" on Monday, insisting that the country was struggling on a day that saw nine new cases compared to nearly 42,000 new U.S. cases.

Trump made the remarks during a campaign stop in Mankato, Minnesota. He noted that some of the countries that have been used as examples of having successfully contained the virus are now experiencing new outbreaks. He suggested that New Zealand's previous success, or reports of the success, had somehow been directed towards him.

"Places that they were using to hold up, they're having a big surge, and I don't want that, I don't want that, but they were holding up names of countries," Trump said. "And now they're saying 'whoops!' In fact, even New Zealand, do you see what's going on in New Zealand? They beat it, they beat it, it was like front page news because they wanted to show me something. The problem is big surge in New Zealand."

"So, you know, it's terrible," he added. "We don't want that, but this is an invisible enemy that should never have been let to come to this country, to Europe or the rest of the world by China. Just remember that."

From May until last week, New Zealand went over 100 days without a single new case of COVID-19 spread in the community or from an unknown source. There are now 90 active cases, including nine cases reported on Monday and another 13 cases on Tuesday.

New Zealand health authorities are unsure of the origin of the new outbreak, although several possibilities are being investigated. Strict preventative measures have been in place in the country since the beginning of the pandemic.

Even when accounting for the large disparity in population size, around 5 million in New Zealand versus approximately 330 million in the U.S., the New Zealand outbreak is infinitesimal compared to the U.S. outbreak.

There were 41,893 new cases reported in the U.S. on Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The running total of cases is now over 5.3 million, including about 170,00 deaths. In New Zealand, there have been 1,643 total cases and only 22 deaths.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday that she was delaying the country's parliamentary election in response to the fresh outbreak, from mid-September to mid-October.

Late last month, Trump also floated the idea of delaying November's election, although he later backtracked after bipartisan disapproval of the idea and he appears to have no constitutional authority that would allow him to do so unilaterally.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.