Trump says he has no regrets about Covid-19 response, claims he ‘up-played’ virus regardless of downplaying it

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on judicial appointments throughout a short look within the Diplomatic Room on the White House in Washington, September 9, 2020.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied that he had downplayed the specter of the coronavirus, claiming he “up-played” the hazard of the illness by way of his actions – regardless of 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, additionally mentioned he did not remorse something about his response to the pandemic.

The president claimed that his strikes early on within the Covid-19 disaster saved lives and demonstrated “motion, not with the mouth however in precise reality.”

The president’s assertion that “in some ways I up-played it by way of motion” came less than a week after the release of audio from an interview with veteran journalist Bob Woodward, through which Trump mentioned of the coronavirus: “I needed to at all times play it down … I nonetheless like taking part in it down, as a result of I do not need to create a panic.” 

That clip was recorded in mid-March, greater than a month after Trump reportedly instructed Woodward that he understood the virus was “extra lethal than even your strenuous flu.”

Trump’s advisors, Woodward reported in his new guide “Rage,” had warned him in late January that the coronavirus “would be the greatest nationwide safety risk you face in your presidency.”

In the city corridor occasion Tuesday night, Trump was requested by a pupil, “If you consider it is the president’s accountability to guard America, why would you downplay a pandemic that’s identified to disproportionately hurt low earnings households and minority communities?”

The president responded, “Yeah, properly I did not downplay it. I really, in some ways I up-played it by way of motion.”

The pupil appeared to reference the president’s recorded feedback with Woodward as she started a follow-up query: “Did you not admit to it your self, saying that you simply…”

But Trump minimize her off. “What I did was, with China I put a ban on. With Europe I put a ban on. And we might’ve misplaced 1000’s of extra folks had I not put the ban on,” he mentioned.

“So that was referred to as motion, not with the mouth however in precise reality, we did a really, superb job after we put that ban on. Whether you name it expertise or luck, it was crucial. So we saved a whole lot of lives after we did that.”

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, who hosted the city corridor, mentioned, “There had been holes within the ban, and the European ban did not come for one more month.”

The president replied, “Well, they had been Americans, I imply the holes in had been when you have anyone in China that is an American citizen, we needed to allow them to in.” 

Multiple fact-checks of Trump’s declare that he imposed a “ban” on China observe that 1000’s of overseas nationals had continued to come back into the U.S. within the months after the coverage took impact in early February. The Associated Press in July famous that “greater than 27,000 Americans returned from mainland China within the first month after the restrictions took impact.”

Stephanopoulo later famous the devastating U.S. demise toll from Covid-19 – nearly 195,000 –  and requested Trump if he has any regrets about his administration’s dealing with of the pandemic. 

“No,” Trump replied. “I believe we did an incredible job.” 

ABC’s 90-minute city corridor, hosted on 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.

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