Trump describes administration’s response to Covid-19 as ‘incredible’
WASHINGTON, DC – The White House has pushed back on claims President Donald Trump withheld vital information relating to the coronavirus, misleading the American people.
The furore arose Wednesday as long-time news Washington Post journalist and author Bob Woodward revealed the president admitted to him he downplayed the looming crisis, despite being warned it would be the biggest national security threat of his presidency. He also told the veteran reporter his administration’s response to the virus had been ‘incredible.’
While the controversy was brewing on Wednesday, Woodward was also being criticized for not revealing the details of the conversations eralier. The quotes circulating on EWednesday, backed up by audio tapes, took place in February.
“There is no ethical or moral defense of Woodward’s decision to not publish these tapes as soon as they were made,” John Stanton, the former Washington bureau chief for BuzzFeed, posted in a tweet iWednesday. “If there was any chance it could save a single life, he was obligated to do so. Bob Woodward put making money over his moral and professional duty.”
Woodward’s new book Rage, which details his conversations with the president, was released on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to create panic, as you say, and certainly I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy. We want to show confidence. We can to show strength,” the President told Woodford.
“The job we’ve done has been incredible. But we don’t want to instill panic. We don’t want to jump up and down and start shouting that we have a problem that is a tremendous problem, scare everybody,” Mr Trump told Woodward, according to tapes of the conversation released on Wednesday.
At a press briefing later Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was on the defensive. Asked if President Trump intentionally mislead the American people about the threat of Covid-19, McEnany responded: “Absolutely not. This president – at a time when you’re facing insurmountable challenges, it’s important to express confidence, it’s important to express calm.”
“The president, just days after having this discussion with Bob Woodward, said this, from this podium. On March 30th, he said, “I do want them to stay calmWe are doing a great job. If you look at the individual statements, they’re all true. Stay calm. It will go away,” but it’s important to stay calm,” McEnany said.
“So this president does what leaders do – good leaders: It’s stay calm and resolute at a time when you face an unsurmountable challenge. That’s what this President has done.”
When asked whether or not it would appear that the President lied to the American public about the threat posed by Covid, McEnany replied: “The President has never lied to the American public on Covid. The president was expressing calm, and his actions reflect that.”
“On January 6th, the CDC issued a Wuhan travel notice before any confirmed U.S. cases, among another – a number of other actions. And I’d refer you to Dr. Fauci who said that this president has an impressive response. “I can’t imagine under any circumstance that [anyone] could be doing [anything] more.” That is the record of this president,” the White House press secretary said.
Asked then how did McEnany square the president’s words to Woodward when he said, “This is a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu. This is deadly stuff.” And then, just two weeks after he told Woodward that, he said, “This is a flu. This is like a flu.” And of course, he also said it was going to quickly go to zero. But that seems to be in direct contradiction of what he told Woodward?”
McEnany’s response: “Well,the president was listening to his medical experts because you also have, at the same time period, Dr. Fauci who said this. Asking – asked if the seasonal flu was a bigger concern, he said this on February 17th: “So right now at the same time people are worrying about going to a Chinese restaurant, the threat is that [what] we have in this country, we’re having a pretty bad influenza season, particularly dangerous for our children.” So he was reflecting that point.”
“And again, days later, in a briefing, he said, “The statements I made are [this]: I want to keep the country calm.” That is what leaders do, and that’s what President Trump does,” said McEnany.
The press secretary then made the claim President Trump was taking the virus more seriously than Dr Fauci.
“And, in fact, the president was taking it more seriously because, on the tape, he noted that flu could be worse and he was taking action to address it,” she said.
“Once again, context matters. That zero reported Covid cases, the CDC was implementing public health screenings, House Dems were preparing to file their first briefs in impeachment. One reported case, CDC – when there was one reported case, the CDC was activating an emergency operation center while Pelosi was releasing a statement criticizing McConnell over impeachment.”
“On January 31st, the President issued a travel ban on China, one that the former Vice President called xenophobic. That’s what Democrats were doing while this President was acting. And his actions reflect the seriousness with which he took Cobid-19,” McEnany said.
The White House official was then asked: “You quoted Dr. Fauci. Dr. Fauci is also apparently on the record saying of President Trump that his “attention span is like a minus number, and his sole purpose is to get reelected.” That’s according to veteran journalist Bob Woodward.”
“I think the bottom line here is that the president, by his own admission, in private, on the record, acknowledged the depth of this crisis, and yet told the American people something very different. How is that, at its core, not an abject betrayal of the public trust?”
McEnany: “The President has always been clear-eyed with the American people. He was always clear-eyed about the lives we could lose. Again, from this podium, he acknowledged that this was serious – back in March – that 100,000, 200,000 lives could be lost.”
“And with regard to Dr. Fauci, you’re referring to a quote he allegedly told Bob Woodward, and I can give you quotes that we can all play on loop and video of him saying that his response was impressive and he can’t imagine anyone under any circumstance doing anything better.”
“Dr. Fauci saying this: “I can just tell you” – the President – “the first and only time I went and said [you need to] do mitigation strongly, the response was, ‘Yes, we will do it.'” “The second timeI went with Dr. Birx to the President and said, ‘Fifteen days [to slow the spread] are not enough. We need to go to 30 days,’ obviously, there were [a lot of] people who had problems with that because of potential secondary effects. Nonethelessthe President went with the health recommendations””
“So there’s a long litany of praise from Dr. Fauci, and you’re referencing something he allegedly told Bob Woodward,” McEnany said.
Published at Thu, 10 Sep 2020 00:13:53 +0000, source Trump describes administration’s response to Covid-19 as ‘incredible’.