Trump dismissed the suggestion that the federal government could have done more to contain the pandemic in the United States, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, and argued that his staff lost the PR battle.
“I think we did a great job with coronavirus, except at public relations. Look, we would have lost 2 and a half million people, as I’ve said. We’re at 185,000, and it’s too much. One person is too much,” Trump said.
The commander-in-chief blamed China for the spread of the virus, suggesting that its government failed to act on time.
He again stressed that his team did not perform well in terms of PR and suggested that Democrats, such as Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, are winning in this regard.
“We did a great job except public relations-wise, my people got outplayed. Just like you said before, Nancy Pelosi said this or that, no matter what you do, if you say, ‘We did this,’ they say, ‘Well, it wasn’t good enough.’ If you say, ‘We did that…’ This is standard fare for the Democrats.”
As The Hill noted, Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has come under intense scrutiny.
In recent days, audio recordings released by journalist Bob Woodward reignited the debate about the president’s actions amid the unprecedented crisis. During his conversations with Woodward — a veteran reporter famous for covering the Watergate scandal — Trump admitted to downplaying the virus early on.
Democrats and others pointed to Trump’s comments as evidence that he was deliberately misleading the American people in order to boost his political standing ahead of the November presidential election.
Per Axios, the DNC War Room used Woodward’s recordings in an advertisement released earlier this week, suggesting that the commander-in-chief was caught “red-handed” spreading false and misleading information about the virus.
The brief video clip contrasted Trump’s statements with what he told Woodward. During media interviews and press conferences, he downplayed the threat of COVID-19, comparing it to the seasonal flu. However, during conversations with Woodward, he described the disease as dangerous and deadly.
On Tuesday, during an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, Trump said that he still expects coronavirus to go away on its own, without a vaccine. He argued that the United States will develop herd immunity “over a period of time.”