Trump claims he 'up-played' the coronavirus despite admitting to Bob Woodward that he downplayed it
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on judicial appointments during a brief appearance in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, September 9, 2020.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied that he had downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, claiming he "up-played" the danger of the disease through his actions – despite privately admitting months earlier that "I wanted to always play it down."
Trump, speaking at an ABC News town hall event with voters in Philadelphia, said his moves early on in the Covid-19 crisis saved lives and demonstrated "action, not with the mouth but in actual fact."
The president's assertion that "in many ways I up-played it in terms of action" came less than a week after the release of audio from an interview with veteran journalist Bob Woodward, in which Trump said of the coronavirus: "I wanted to always play it down ... I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."
That clip was recorded in mid-March, more than a month after Trump reportedly told Woodward that he understood the virus was "more deadly than even your strenuous flu."
Trump's advisors, Woodward reported in his new book "Rage," had warned him in late January that the coronavirus "will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency."
In the town hall event Tuesday evening, Trump was asked by a student, "If you believe it's the president's responsibility to protect America, why would you downplay a pandemic that is ...
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