President Donald Trump on Thursday denied lying to the American people about the deadly nature of the coronavirus.
Trump gave the first question at his news conference to ABC News reporter Jon Karl, who said, “Thank you Mr. President. Why did you lie to the American people, and why should we trust what you have to say now?
“Such a terrible question and the phraseology. I didn’t lie,” Trump replied. “What I said is that we have to be calm.”
Karl pressed the media narrative kicked off by the new book published by author Bob Woodward, which argues that the president failed to tell the American people the truth about the deadly nature of the virus in the early stages of the pandemic.
But Trump repeatedly denounced the claim, dismissing it as a narrative pushed by the “fake news” media.
“The way you phrase that is such a disgrace, it’s a disgrace to ABC television network. It’s a disgrace to your employer,” Trump said to Karl.
The president said he always believed the coronavirus was a serious problem but wanted calm.
“That doesn’t mean I’m going to jump up and down in the air and say, ‘People are going to die! People are going to die!'” he said.
Trump said that his administration, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, did a great job in responding to the virus and deserved credit from the media.
“There was no lying, and the way you asked that question is very disgraceful,” Trump said to Karl.
The president also said that it was not a secret that the virus was airborne, something he said the Chinese had already reported.
“People knew it was airborne … everybody knew it was airborne. It was no big thing,” Trump said.
Trump said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Vice President Joe Biden, and other Democrats were also among the last to realize the deadly nature of the virus. He also said that Woodward should have reported it right away if he thought the president was lying, rather than wait for the release of his book.
“If Bob Woodward thought what I said was bad, then he should have immediately right after I said it gone out to the authorities so that he could prepare and let them know,” Trump said.