Recent reports revealed Trump told Bob Woodward the virus was 'more deadly' than the flu — then said the opposite in public.
Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to downplay the coronavirus outbreak, telling reporters his deception occurred because he is a "cheerleader for this country."
"I love our country and I don't want people to be frightened, I don't want to create panic," Trump said. "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."
Trump was responding to newly released audio recordings of an interview he gave to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward on Feb. 7, in which he said he already knew by then that the virus was "more deadly" than the flu but that "I wanted to always play it down."
More than 189,000 people in America have died from the virus, more than any other country in the world.
From a Sept. 9 press availability at the White House:
REPORTER: Can you address the concerns from the Woodward book in regards to whether, did you mislead the public by saying that you downplayed the coronavirus and you repeatedly did that in order to reduce panic? Did you mislead the public?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think if you said in order to reduce panic, perhaps that's so. The fact is, I'm a cheerleader for this country, I love our country and I don't want people to be frightened, 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 want to show strength, we want to show strength as a nation, and that's what I've done. And we've done very well, we've done well from any standard.
You look at our numbers compared to other countries, other parts of the world, it's been an amazing job that we've done. I think it's very sad in many respects because the incredible individuals working so hard on it, including our vice president, they've done this great job, they haven't been acknowledged by the news media and they should, for the job we've done.
Whether it's ventilators and now you'll see very soon with vaccines and with therapeutics 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.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.