The US President Donald Trump has responded to claims that he deliberately downplayed the severity of Covid-19 to avoid causing a “frenzy” amongst the public.
In a number of audio interviews conducted by veteran journalist Bob Woodward dating back from as earliest as February this year Trump is recorded as saying: “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”
When questioned about the recordings at a White House briefing on Wednesday the President told journalists: “We have to show calm. I’m certainly I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy.We don’t want to go around screaming, ‘Look at this, look at this’.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has defended President Trump’s lack of honesty on the severity of the virus at its peak, speaking after the briefing she said:
“The president was expressing calm. The president was hopeful that we would be able to manage this and handle it in a way that we can make it go away as quickly as possible. The president rose to the occasion and did just that”.
So far 191 thousand people have died in the US since the start of the outbreak.