President Trump on Thursday defended his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic amid the forthcoming Bob Woodward book and said he didn’t lie when he downplayed its risk earlier this year.
Trump also told reporters he believes the US has now “rounded the final turn” — unless Democratic candidate Joe Biden beats him on Nov. 3 and imposes “a very unscientific blanket lockdown.”
Trump fended off a reporter’s statement at a White House press briefing that he lied to the public about the virus while admitting to Woodward that the virus was “deadly.”
“The way you asked that question is very disgraceful,” Trump said.
“There was no lie here. What we’re doing is we’re leading, and we’re leading in a proper way… You don’t want me jumping up and down screaming, ‘There’s going to be great death!’
“I don’t want to jump up and down and start screaming, ‘Death! Death!’” Trump said. “It’s always a serious problem. That doesn’t mean I’m going to jump up and down in the air and start saying, ‘People are going to die! People are going to die!’ No, No, I’m not gonna do that. We’re gonna get through this.”
Trump told Woodward in February that the virus was “more deadly than… even your strenuous flus.” In March, he told the author, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down. Because I don’t want to create a panic.”
Trump said the US management of the pandemic has been successful.
“We’re rounding the final turn, and a lot of good things are happening with vaccines and with therapeutics,” Trump said.
President Donald Trump holds a news briefing today.EPA
The president blasted Biden’s performance as vice president during the H1N1 pandemic and recent remarks by Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) questioning the safety of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
“Biden’s record demonstrates that if he had been in charge of this very serious, highly, highly contagious epidemic or pandemic, the China virus, countless more Americans would have died,” Trump said.
He focused on Biden’s criticism of his January ban on travel from China and on the Biden-Harris vaccine skepticism.
“Joe’s decision to publicly attack the China ban proved he lacks the character or intelligence or instinct to do what is right,” Trump said. “Now, Biden’s launched a public campaign against the vaccine which is so bad, because we have some vaccines coming that are incredible.”
Biden said Monday that Trump has said “so many things that aren’t true, I’m worried if we do have a really good vaccine, people are going to be reluctant to take it.” Harris said Sunday that scientists would be “muzzled” and that “there’s very little that we can trust that … comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth.”
Trump said the remarks are irresponsible.
“Biden is perfectly happy to endanger the lives of other people by doing something that he thinks is going to help him politically because his polls are getting very bad, they’re getting very shaky,” Trump said.