Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) on Wednesday said President Donald Trump “knowingly betrayed the American people” in his response to the coronavirus following the revelation that the president told journalist Bob Woodward he wanted to play the pandemic down to avoid mass panic.
“Donald Trump knowingly betrayed the American people. His refusal to act cost 190,000 Americans their lives, and tens of millions their livelihoods. He is unfit to be president. We must vote him out in November,” she said:
Donald Trump knowingly betrayed the American people.
His refusal to act cost 190,000 Americans their lives, and tens of millions their livelihoods.
He is unfit to be president. We must vote him out in November. https://t.co/iBwJcqczG7
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 9, 2020
She echoed the remarks made by former Vice President Joe Biden (D), who said Trump “failed to do his job — on purpose”:
Donald Trump knew.
He lied to us for months.
And while a deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job — on purpose.
It was a life or death betrayal of the American people. https://t.co/WDmVUvmmJk
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 9, 2020
In the tapes, which quickly became a point of widespread media controversy, Trump told Woodward that he wanted to play the pandemic down “because I don’t want to create a panic”:
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) September 9, 2020
However, Trump did not entirely deny the risks of the virus at the beginning of the year, warning in January that the country had to be “very, very careful” and implementing a travel ban on China at the end of that same month.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, backed Trump up during a Wednesday appearance on Fox News, telling viewers that he did not believe that the president “distorted things that I spoke to him about.”
“I don’t think he said much different than what we said [to him] when we were in the Oval Office,” he stated.
The news comes on the heels of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) blaming the coronavirus outbreak in New York entirely on the president.
“Donald Trump caused the COVID outbreak in New York,” Cuomo said during Tuesday’s presser. “That is a fact. It’s a fact that he admitted and the CDC admitted and Fauci admitted.”
“The China virus, the China virus, the China virus. It was not the China virus,” the governor said.
“It was the European virus that came to New York. They missed it. They missed it. The China virus went to Europe. It got on a plane. It went to Europe,” he continued. “They never even thought of the possibility. And then, 3 million Europeans got on the plane and came to New York. And they brought the virus”:Governor Andrew Cuomo / Facebook
The United States ultimately implemented a travel ban on European countries in March.
Trump struck an optimistic tone in his Republican National Convention speech last month, telling the American people that the United States is meeting the challenge of the “powerful invisible enemy” and will “defeat the virus and the pandemic and emerge stronger than ever before.”