President TrumpDonald John TrumpBarr criticizes DOJ in speech declaring all agency power ‘is invested in the attorney general’ Military leaders asked about using heat ray on protesters outside White House: report Powell warns failure to reach COVID-19 deal could ‘scar and damage’ economy MORE in an interview late Wednesday appeared to blame his own staff for losing the coronavirus “public relations” battle while again attacking China’s government over its handling of the virus.
Speaking with Greta Van Susteren on Gray TV’s “Full Court Press: Election Countdown,” Trump discounted the idea that his administration could have done more to prevent the spread of the virus in the U.S., which has the highest number of cases in the world.
“I think we did a great job with coronavirus, except at public relations,” Trump told Van Susteren. “Look, we would have lost 2 and a half million people, as I’ve said. We’re at 185,000, and it’s too much. One person is too much.”
“[I]t never should have been allowed to happen by China. They should have never allowed it out. They stopped it from going into China, but they didn’t stop it from going into us,” the president continued. “We did a great job except public relations-wise, my people got outplayed. Just like you said before, [Speaker] Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPowell warns failure to reach COVID-19 deal could ‘scar and damage’ economy Overnight Defense: House to vote on military justice bill spurred by Vanessa Guillén death | Biden courts veterans after Trump’s military controversies Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings MORE [D-Calif.] said this or that, no matter what you do, if you say, ‘We did this,’ they say, ‘Well, it wasn’t good enough.’ If you say, ‘We did that…’ This is standard fare for the Democrats. They say it wasn’t good enough.”
The president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has come under question in recent days due to audio released by journalist Bob Woodward of Trump admitting that he “downplayed” the virus during the pandemic’s earliest days.
“I wanted to, I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic,” Trump said in the interview with Woodward.
The comments were seized upon by Democrats and critics of the president as evidence that the president was misleading American voters about the danger posed by the virus as well as the U.S.’s capability to respond.