Harris calls it ‘outrageous’ Trump downplayed coronavirus
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate, called President Trump’s remarks to journalist Bob Woodward about the coronavirus pandemic “outrageous” on Thursday.
The president told the longtime journalist in March “I wanted to always play [the virus] down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a pandemic.”
The president made the comments during a recorded interview, the audio of which was released by Woodward Wednesday.
At an in-person campaign event at the historically Black Florida Memorial University, Harris accused Trump of a “reckless disregard of the lives and health and well-being” of Americans, according to Axios.
“I find it so outrageous,” the California senator added.
Harris also referenced a February interview in which Trump told Woodward the coronavirus was “deadly stuff” and far more dangerous than the flu.
At the time, the president publicly compared COVID-19 and its severity to the flu.
“So, basically what we are hearing is that on Jan. 28, the president and the vice president were informed about the imminence and the dangers of COVID-19,” Harris said.
“He knew it was airborne that people would breathe it” Harris added.
She continued, saying that Trump downplayed the virus and suggested masks would be ineffective against it.
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), who introduced Harris at the event, noted that Miami-Dade County, where most of her district is located, has been a national epicenter for the virus.
The county has recorded 162,000 cases of the virus and 2,740 deaths, and Miami-Dade has the eighth-highest number of deaths of any county nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“It doesn’t just make me angry – I am enraged,” Wilson said, according to USA Today. “We call him a racist but we have another term now because he’s a murderer.”
Trump has repeatedly defended his decision to downplay the threat of the virus, saying during a press briefing Wednesday that he was acting as a “cheerleader” for the U.S.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.