The rail stopped after an interview with White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday after he was told last week about revelations that President Donald Trump had deliberately reduced coronovirus in the early months of the epidemic.
Confronted by host Jake Topper on CNN’s “State of the Union”, Navarro’s interview was cut off as the two shouted at each other.
Tupper confronted Navarro about Trump’s tape-recorded comments in journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, “Rage”, which was scheduled to be released this week. In it, Trump told Woodward in a February 7 phone call that coronavirus is “deadly stuff” and worse than the flu. After that conversation, however, Trump publicly downed the virus and repeatedly compared it to the flu.
“Nobody knew in February,” Navarro said of the potential impact of the novel coronovirus, despite Woodward’s comments of Trump, who were tapped. “No, nobody knew. Not the President, not you, not Nancy Pelosi, not Bill de Blasio.”
Navarro then made a “cherry-picking” comment on Tupper, which the president did. Tupper responded that Trump was “not honest with the American people about the impact of the virus”.
“You’re not honest with the American people,” Navarro said. “CNN is not honest with the American people.”
Navarro also pointed to Trump’s decision to stop some passengers from China in late January, a move he said the president saw as a “serious, serious matter” of the virus.
Navarro described the White House strategy from this time on as “hope for the best, prepare for the worst, keep calm and start attacking”. He said he gave a memorandum on February 9, two days after Trump’s phone call with Woodward, requiring personal protective equipment and therapeutics.
The Woodward revelations have appeared on the campaign trail in Washington, DC and in recent times. Faced with conflicting statements and recorded comments in which Trump said he intentionally removed the virus in public, the president said that doing so was necessary to maintain “calm” and did not want people to “Don’t panic,” insisted on Thursday “a ‘lie’ to the American public.”
“What I said is we have to calm down,” he said of painting a Rasian figure from reality. “We can’t panic.”
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump questioned a question as to why he was telling the public that the virus was “flu-like” when he knew it was more deadly than before.
Trump said, “I went out and said it’s very simple: I want to show confidence level, strength as a leader.”
Trump told Woodward in that February call that he knew the virus was airborne, which was not widely known to the public at the time. In March, he told Woodward: “I always wanted to play it.”
“I’m still enjoying playing it because I don’t want to create a panic,” Trump said on March 19, a record with Woodward.
More than 190,000 Americans have died of coronovirus so far.
“It was a life-death betrayal for the American people,” said Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during a campaign stop in Michigan last week. “It is beyond despair. It is an insult to duty, an insult.”
“He knew how deadly it was. He knew and deliberately played it down,” Biden said. “Worse, he lied.”