Navarro knocks ’60 Minutes’ over coronavirus coverage: ‘This is like the fake news stuff’

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro slammed “60 Minutes” for its coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in an interview with the CBS show while defending the Trump administration over claims of not being prepared to respond to it. 

Asked about reports that the intelligence community was notifying the administration of the threat back in January, Navarro said, “This is like the fake news stuff.” 

“I don’t know what you mean. It’s like if an intelligence agency said a global pandemic could happen, right? I mean, I’m sure they’ve been saying that for decades and nobody took them seriously,” Navarro said. “Why, I mean black swans are hard to sell. This was the 500-year flood, this hasn’t happened since 1917. You can line up every president since then and say, ‘Why didn’t you think this could happen again,’ but that’s not productive right now.” 

Navarro then challenged correspondent Bill Whitaker to show him a “60 Minutes” episode from the Obama administration or George W. Bush administration with a report about a potential global pandemic. 

“Show me the ‘60 Minutes’ episode a year ago, two years ago or during the Obama administration, during the Bush administration, that said, ‘Hey a global pandemic [is] coming, you got to do XYZ and by the way we would shut down the entire global economy to fight it,’” Navarro said. 

“Show me that episode, then you’ll have some credence in terms of attacking the Trump administration for not being prepared,” Navarro added. 

“I guarantee you we did,” Whitaker responded. 

In the broadcast late Sunday, “60 Minutes” played clips from an episode in 2009 about the swine flu and from a 2005 episode about the avian flu. 

The 2005 episode included interviews with Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force, discussing the nature of the outbreak and what was being done to prepare. 

Navarro also told “60 Minutes” that he’d give “no apologies here from this administration.” 

“We are, we are doing better and more than any other president could’ve done,” he added.  

“Sir, this is the best you can?” Whitaker pressed.

“You say, ‘This is the best you can?’ It’s, like, oh, somebody could’ve done better. Really? Who could’ve done better on this? I mean, really, think about this,” Navarro responded.

Navarro himself had warned his White House colleagues about the threat the novel coronavirus posed to the U.S. in a memo in late January, The New York Times reported last week. 

He again issued a warning in February, as President Trump was still downplaying the risks of the coronavirus, in a separate memo estimating that up to 2 million Americans could die from the virus, Axios reported last week. 

Trump said at a briefing last week he had not seen the memos, adding that they would not have had any impact on his actions.

Tags Anthony Fauci Coronavirus Donald Trump Peter Navarro

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