President Donald Trump defended his handling of the coronavirus in a public meeting that aired Tuesday night – including from a former supporter who asked him why he threw “people like me under the bus.”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t downplay it. In fact, I played it in a lot of ways in terms of action, ”Trump said at the start of the town hall show on ABC.
Trump was responding to a direct question from a voter at the event in Philadelphia.
President Donald Trump faced tough questions from voters at an ABC city hall in Philadelphia aired Tuesday night
“If you think it’s the president’s responsibility to protect America, why would you downplay a pandemic known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities,” asked the voter, a woman from Pittsburgh.
Trump’s response came days after Bob Woodward’s book “Rage” revealed that Trump told the author on a March 19 that he was playing down the virus to avoid “panic.”
“I always wanted to minimize it. I always like to downplay it because I don’t want to create a panic, ”the president told Woodward, in a videotaped interview.
Trump faced tough questions from the start, including from a man named Paul Tubiana who said he voted for him in 2016.
Why did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus? asked Paul Tubiana, who said he voted for Trump in 2016
Moderator George Stephanopoulos pressured Trump over his claims the coronavirus ‘will go away’
Trump flew back and forth from Washington and enjoyed a Philly cheese steak on the way home on Air Force One
Trump clashed with voters days after revelations from Bob Woodward’s book, where Trump said he was playing down the virus to avoid ‘panic’
“I am conservative, pro-life and diabetic. I had to avoid people who didn’t care about social distancing and wearing face masks, ”he said – after Trump called rallies with maskless supporters in the West.
“I thought you were doing a good job with the pandemic response until about May 1. Then you took your foot off the accelerator pedal. Why did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus? He asked.
“Well, we really didn’t, Paul,” Trump replied.
“We have worked very hard on the pandemic. We have worked very hard. He was from China. They should never have let this happen, ”he said.
Interviewer George Stephanopoulos has challenged Trump over past claims that the virus is “going away.”
“It would go away without the vaccine, George, but it would go a lot faster with him,” Trump told him.
“Would it go away without the vaccine?” Asked Stephanopoulos.
“Of course, over a period of time. Of course, over time that goes away, ”Trump replied.
“And many deaths,” Stephanopoulos told him, as the country approached 200,000 because of the coronavirus.
“And you will develop – you will develop a herd – like a herd mentality,” Trump said. “It’s going to be – it’s going to be developed by the herd, and it’s going to happen. All of this will happen, ”he said.
In other comments, Trump cited comments by disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci at the onset of the pandemic, amid a shortage of protective gear – then noted that “some people” say not to close businesses to spread disease transmission.
But whether it was Dr Fauci or someone else, a lot of people got it wrong. They talked about not wearing masks, and now they’re saying to wear masks. Although some people say they don’t wear masks, ”Trump said.
“I mean you have a lot of different ideas. Some people say just leave it as it is and make no stops, and others say make shutdowns, ”he said.
Another stakeholder told him: “Wearing masks has been shown to reduce the spread of COVID. Why don’t you support a mandate to wear the national mask?
“And a good question is, you ask why Joe Biden – they said we were going to do a national mandate on masks,” Trump said, referring to a comment Biden made weeks ago about what he could do once in power after consulting with experts. .
“He called on all governors to have them. There is a state responsibility, ”said Stephanopoulos.
“Well no, but he didn’t. I mean, he never did, ”Trump said.
Trump flew back and forth from Washington for the event and enjoyed a Philly Cheese Steak on the way home on Air Force One. Trump posted an image of the meal, recalling his famous taco bowl image from his 2016 campaign.
The meal came from the D’Allesandro store in Philadelphia, a source told DailyMail.com on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to panic our nation. I am a cheerleader for this nation. I am the one who closed our country. I shut it down long before any of the experts thought I should – and I saved hundreds of thousands of lives, ”Trump said.