ABC’s Raddatz to Kudlow: ‘Why Should People Trust You’ After You Downplayed Coronavirus?

Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” guest host Martha Raddatz asked White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow how he could be trusted now on the coronavirus pandemic given on February 25, he said, “We have contained this.”

Partial transcript as follows:

KUDLOW: Well, listen, I say that weeks, it could be four weeks, it could be eight weeks. I say that hopefully, and I say that prayerfully. That’s what some of the science experts are telling us. I don’t know if they’ll be right. But let me just say this, you can’t have a good job unless you have a healthy business. And what we’ve tried to do is to provide tremendous, tremendous assistance to the individual men and women, and therefore, on the other side, tremendous assistance to the small businesses for which they work. We’re trying to balance this out. And I think that’s really the first time this kind of package has ever been put forward. I can’t guarantee it. I can’t wave a magic wand. I wish I could. I’ve spent all my career being an optimist and trying to promote economic growth. This virus, nobody expected this thing to come down as far and hard and widespread as it did, but it did. And we are —

RADDATZ: Mr. Kudlow, I want to — I want to stop you there just for a second, including you. It was — it was also just a month ago you told CNBC that you thought the virus was contained in the country, even though doctors were warning others — otherwise, you also downplayed the threat of a long-lasting economic tragedy. You have since said that was based on facts at the time.

KUDLOW: Yes.

RADDATZ: But why should people trust you this morning with your prediction?

KUDLOW: Look, I’m as good as the facts are. And at the time I made that statement, the facts were contained. The president had just put the travel restrictions on China and a lot of people agreed with me. In fact, at the time, a lot of people thought that the flu was worse than this virus. But as soon as the facts changed, we changed our whole posture and our whole strategy, and we’ve gone full bore, as I said. No package like this has ever been passed Congress before. And, look, as the president has said, we will do more if need be. Let’s just try to get this done now.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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