Trump Defends Playing Down Dangers Of Virus While Denying That He Lied
In a contentious press conference, President Donald Trump faced questions over recorded statements he made in the early months of the pandemic in which it is clear he knew far more about the severity of the coronavirus than he was telling the American public. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden calls those actions "almost criminal."
Trump Tries To Deflect Blame But Stands By Comments Made In Woodward Interview
President Donald Trump, at a White House news conference Thursday, continued to defend comments he made to journalist Bob Woodward in which he admitted he deliberately downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus to the public despite knowing its deadly danger, and argued that if the comments were so bad, Woodward should have made them public sooner. "If Bob Woodward thought it was bad, he should have immediately gone out publicly, not wait for months," Trump said, appearing to try to deflect any blame. Woodward told The Associated Press Wednesday that he needed time to confirm that Trump's private comments were accurate. (Cathey, Gittleson and Thomas, 9/10)
What Did Trump Know And When Did He Know It? Inside His Feb. 7 Admission
By the time President Donald Trump privately told journalist Bob Woodward on Feb. 7 that the coronavirus was “deadly stuff” transmitted by air, a threat “more deadly” than the flu, the warnings around him had been rampant. National security adviser Robert O’Brien had told Trump that Covid-19 would be the “largest national security crisis of your presidency.” Top trade adviser Peter Navarro was drafting urgent pleas to manufacture more medical supplies and personal protective gear in the U.S. Other worried senior aides were organizing meetings about the potential severity and spread of a pandemic. (Cook, McGraw and Cancryn, 9/10)
Trump Calls Question About Why He 'Lied' About COVID-19 A 'Disgrace'
President Trump on Thursday scoffed at a question about why he lied to the American public about the severity of COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic, calling it "disgraceful" in a contentious press conference amid fallout over his comments to Bob Woodward. "Why did you lie to the American people, and why should we trust what you have to say now?" ABC News correspondent Jon Karl asked during a news conference, referencing the president's comments in audio recordings from February that COVID-19 was "deadly" even as he publicly minimized the threat of the virus. (Samuels, 9/10)
The news continues to draw responses —
Biden On Trump Concealing Coronavirus Threat: 'It's Almost Criminal'
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said it is "disgusting" and "almost criminal" that President Donald Trump knew of the serious risk posed by the coronavirus in February and then downplayed its threat in March. In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Wednesday in Michigan, the former vice president said the revelations about Trump's early understanding of how deadly the virus is and how easily it could spread -- shared in recorded interviews for Bob Woodward's forthcoming book -- are "why we have no confidence in his leadership." (Bradner, 9/9)
Harris Calls It 'Outrageous' Trump Downplayed Coronavirus
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate, called President Trump’s remarks to journalist Bob Woodward about the coronavirus pandemic “outrageous” on Thursday. The president told the longtime journalist in March “I wanted to always play [the virus] down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a pandemic.” (Budryk, 9/10)
Warren: I Feel 'Deep Down Fury' That Trump Downplayed Pandemic
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Thursday blasted President Trump’s remarks to Bob Woodward on the coronavirus pandemic, telling MSNBC’s Joy Reid they inspired “deep down fury” in her. Reid specifically mentioned the death of Warren’s brother from the virus and asked her reaction to the comments in light of that. (Budryk, 9/10)
Vulnerable Republicans Avoid Criticizing Trump After Admission To Woodward About Downplaying Virus
Republican senators facing tough reelection races this fall steered clear of criticizing President Donald Trump after his stunning admission that he downplayed the severity of the crisis caused by the spread of coronavirus, dodging questions regarding his remarks or defending his overall response to the pandemic. (Maju and Rogers, 9/10)
In other news —
Biden Vows To Be 'Totally Transparent' On His Health If Elected
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden vowed to be “totally transparent” on his health if elected. “I guarantee you, I will be totally transparent in terms of my health and all aspects of my health,” Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Thursday. (Moreno, 9/10)
Kaiser Health News:
KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: The Politics Of Science
The headlines from this week will be about how President Donald Trump knew early on how serious the coronavirus pandemic was likely to become but purposely played it down. Potentially more important during the past few weeks, though, are reports of how White House officials have pushed scientists at the federal government’s leading health agencies to put politics above science. Meanwhile, Republicans appear to have given up on using the Affordable Care Act as an electoral cudgel, judging, at least, from its scarce mention during the GOP convention. Democrats, on the other hand, particularly those running for the U.S. House and Senate, are doubling down on their criticism of Republicans for failing to adequately protect people with preexisting health conditions. That issue was key to the party winning back the House in 2018. (Rovner, 9/11)