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Larry Kudlow defends response to coronavirus: Trump 'led wisely'

White House chief economic adviser Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE in a podcast released Friday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying Trump “led wisely” at its onset.

The remarks come as Trump and the White House are engulfed in a controversy sparked by the president's interviews with journalist Bob Woodward.

Trump told the famed Watergate reporter that he downplayed the severity of the pandemic earlier this year to prevent people from panicking. His remarks to Woodward early this year showed he saw the coronavirus as something much more serious than the flu, even as he downplayed it publicly.

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Kudlow touted the administration’s actions to stem the spread of the virus.

"I think we did the right thing and I think we did it pretty well," Kudlow said during an episode of CBS News’s “The Takeout” podcast.

“We did the best we could and I think it's really quite effective. I think the president led wisely, I think the vice president led wisely."

Kudlow, who sits on the White House coronavirus task force led by Vice President Pence, told CBS News that the president’s “public posture” did not reflect or slow down “the internal process of building an across the board infrastructure to combat the virus.”

He also said that "there was a lot we had to learn in a very short period of time" about the pandemic earlier in the year, praising Trump for imposing travel restrictions on China and Europe.

Kudlow, however, acknowledged the health crisis is "not over yet," although he said "we're on top of it."

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The president faced widespread backlash from Democrats after the audio of Woodward’s interview was released. 

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida Supreme Court reinstates ban on curbside voting in Alabama MORE said it was “almost criminal” that Trump downplayed the threat of the virus in public, and Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuPelosi suggests Trump setting 'dangerous' example with quick return to White House The spin on Woodward's tapes reveals the hypocrisy of Democrats Larry Kudlow defends response to coronavirus: Trump 'led wisely' MORE (D-Calif.) amounted it to “reckless homicide.”

Trump, after the release of the Woodward tapes, acknowledged that he downplayed the virus in order to project “confidence,” even after the White House initially said he had not done so. 

“The fact is, I’m a cheerleader for this country, I love our country, and I don’t want people to be frightened. I don’t want to create panic, as you say. And certainly, I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy,” Trump said. “We want to show confidence. We want to show strength. We want to show strength as a nation.” 

On Thursday, Trump said Woodward did not release  the audio of Trump’s comments sooner because they were not “bad or dangerous.”

“Bob Woodward had my quotes for many months. If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives?" Trump tweeted. "Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!”