U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on judicial appointments throughout a quick look in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, September 9, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied that he had downplayed the risk of the coronavirus, claiming he “up-played” the hazard of the illness by way of his actions – despite privately admitting months earlier that “I wanted to always play it down.”
Trump, talking at an ABC News city corridor occasion with voters in Philadelphia, stated his strikes early on in the Covid-19 disaster saved lives and demonstrated “action, not with the mouth but in actual fact.”
The president’s assertion that “in many ways I up-played it in terms of action” came less than a week after the release of audio from an interview with veteran journalist Bob Woodward, through which Trump stated of the coronavirus: “I wanted to always play it down … I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
That clip was recorded in mid-March, greater than a month after Trump reportedly informed Woodward that he understood the virus was “more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”
Trump’s advisors, Woodward reported in his new guide “Rage,” had warned him in late January that the coronavirus “will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency.”
In the city corridor occasion Tuesday night, Trump was requested by a scholar, “If you believe it’s the president’s responsibility to protect America, why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low income families and minority communities?”
The president responded, “Yeah, well I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways I up-played it in terms of action.”
The scholar appeared to reference the president’s recorded feedback with Woodward as she started a follow-up query: “Did you not admit to it yourself, saying that you…”
But Trump lower her off. “What I did was, with China I put a ban on. With Europe I put a ban on. And we would’ve lost thousands of more people had I not put the ban on,” he stated.
“So that was called action, not with the mouth but in actual fact, we did a very, very good job when we put that ban on. Whether you call it talent or luck, it was very important. So we saved a lot of lives when we did that.”
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, who hosted the city corridor, stated, “There were holes in the ban, and the European ban didn’t come for another month.”
The president replied, “Well, they were Americans, I mean the holes in were if you have somebody in China that’s an American citizen, we had to let them in.”
Multiple fact-checks of Trump’s declare that he imposed a “ban” on China be aware that 1000’s of international nationals had continued to come into the U.S. in the months after the coverage took impact in early February.
The Associated Press in July famous that “more than 27,000 Americans returned from mainland China in the first month after the restrictions took effect.”
ABC’s 90-minute city corridor, hosted at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia in accordance with Pennsylvania’s social distancing guidelines, comes simply seven weeks earlier than the presidential election between Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. It was set to air at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday.