President Trump defended his Wuhan coronavirus comments Wednesday during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, saying he didn’t want to “scare” the country.
"I'm the leader of the country, I can't be jumping up and down and scaring people," Trump said. "I don't want to scare people. I want people not to panic, and that's exactly what I did."
“I’m a cheerleader for this country and I don’t want to see panic,” he continued.
Outrage from the left took over the news cycle earlier Wednesday after audio clip from a February interview with journalist Bob Woodward leaked where he is heard saying he “always tried to play it down” because he didn’t “want to create a panic.”
Trump pointed to how prominent Democrats reacted to the virus in its early stages in the United States.
"If you look at the representatives of Joe Biden, you see what they were saying. They were saying 'no problem', 'this won't be a problem,'" he said. "He didn't think it was going to be a problem until months later. He was way late."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also went to San Francisco’s Chinatown to show people “everything is fine here,” Trump reminded viewers, whereas he took decisive action early.
"Nobody wanted me to do the ban on China, and as you know, shortly thereafter, I [instituted] a ban on [travel from] Europe, and that was even more controversial, and it was good, because I saw what was going on in Italy and in Spain and in France, and we did a ban there," Trump said. "And if we didn't do those bans, we would have had numbers that were much, much [worse]."
The president also blasted Woodward for producing “constant hit jobs” on presidents, from George W. Bush to Obama.
President Trump explains decision to be interviewed by Bob Woodward, defends administration's COVID response https://t.co/cEip3dNbWs— Leah Barkoukis (@LeahBarkoukis) September 10, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci came to the president’s defense earlier in the day on Fox News, telling John Roberts he never got “any sense that he was distorting anything.”
“In my discussions with him, they were always straightforward about the concerns that we had," he said.
QUESTION: Did you get any sense that President Trump was downplaying the coronavirus.— Jon Nicosia (@NewsPolitics) September 9, 2020
"No, no, I didn’t. I didn’t get any sense that he was distorting anything." - Dr. Anthony Fauci pic.twitter.com/LXANZOY8P2