President Trump on Wednesday acknowledged that he downplayed the novel coronavirus earlier this year, arguing that he wanted to “reduce panic” about the spreading disease by publicly minimizing its threat.
Trump’s remarks to reporters came as he faced renewed scrutiny over his handling of the pandemic following the release of audio recordings of his interviews with journalist Bob Woodward for his new book.
In the recordings, the president privately acknowledged that COVID-19 was “deadly” in early February, despite publicly dismissing concerns about the virus around that time.
“If you said in order to reduce panic, perhaps that’s so,” Trump said Wednesday afternoon when asked if he downplayed the virus or misled the public to avoid panic.
“The fact is I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love our country,” Trump continued. “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.”
Read more at The Hill.