WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — One day after President Trump’s conversation with Washington Post columnist Bob Woodward became public, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are wrestling with the implications of the President’s comments.
“I wanted always play it down. I still like playing it down. Because I don’t want to create a panic,” said President Trump during a recorded conversation with Woodward. Democrat Congressional leaders said in downplaying the virus, the president misled the American public.
“What the president did in those comments showed his contempt; contempt for the American people and their health,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “He didn’t want to cause a panic. Why? Because of the stock market? Nobody wants to cause a panic, we want to show leadership. Show a strategic plan. Following the science.”
Democrat Senator Mark Warner said the president admittedly downplaying the virus is “inexcusable, and likely cost lives.”
“The President’s undermining of the seriousness of the virus has really put into question a lot of people’s trust,” said Warner. “I don’t think there’s anyone in medical science that wouldn’t agree if we had been faster…about making sure people realize this was a serious issue, we could’ve prevented the number of people getting sick, the number of Americans dying.”
In a Thursday press briefing before a group of reporters, President Trump defended his comments to Woodward. President Trump said he wasn’t misleading the public, rather he wanted to project a sense of calm.
“Outwardly I said it’s a serious problem. And it’s always a serious problem. That doesn’t mean I’m going to jump up and down in their air and say ‘People are going to die, people are going to die, no.’ No. I’m not going to do that. We’re going to get through this,” said Trump.
When asked whether the American public can trust what he says about the pandemic moving forward, the President said, “I want to show confidence, and I want to show strength as a leader. And I want to show that our country is going to be fine one way or the other.”
Some Republican lawmakers like Senator Rick Scott of Florida came to the president’s defense. Scott said President Trump’s actions showed he took the virus seriously.
“He stopped travel from China. If you remember, Biden called him xenophobic. Pelosi went into Chinatown in San Francisco and said what the President was doing was wrong, so the president was actually taking it more seriously than the democrats were,” said Scott.
Scott did say, however, he believes the administration along with state and local governments could be more transparent in sharing facts with the public.
Bob Woodward’s book “Rage” will be released Sept. 15. President Trump said he had a series of conversations with Woodward for this book, spanning a number of hours.