Garcetti: I would have acted sooner if Trump hadn't downplayed virus

Los Angeles Mayor Eric GarcettiEric GarcettiBiden administration in talks with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti for India ambassador post: reports Hillicon Valley: DOJ to review cyber challenges | Gaetz, House Republicans want to end funding for postal service surveillance | TikTok gets new CEO Mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium to shut down by May MORE (D) said on Sunday that he would have responded differently to the coronavirus outbreak if President TrumpDonald TrumpWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal MORE had not downplayed its threat earlier this year. 

Garcetti said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he would have taken action earlier, and saved lives in the process, if Trump had publicly shared what he said privately to journalist Bob Woodward.

“We were the first city to close things down, the first city to offer widespread testing. But we had to go it alone. And we heard that consistently. That's up to the states. That's up to the local governments,” Garcetti said.


Garcetti said Trump’s decision to downplay the threat at the same time he was describing the coronavirus as "deadly" to Woodward and the delayed local action cost thousands of lives in his city and possibly 100,000 across the nation.  

“I had firefighters providing tests to people, volunteers who would give their time because we had no leadership at the national level,” Garcetti said. “If we had known and had leadership that ... actually allowed us to do the work and provided us the resources to do so, we would have taken action much earlier, and thousands of lives in my city and, obviously, maybe tens of thousands if not 100,000 lives in America could have been saved.”

Trump acknowledged last week that he may have downplayed the threat of the coronavirus to the public. Asked after the Woodward recordings were released if he misled the public or downplayed the coronavirus, Trump told reporters, “If you said in order to reduce panic, perhaps that’s so.” 

Trump was widely criticized by Democrats after the recordings of the interviews with Woodward were released and was even called out by some Republicans. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Senate votes to repeal OCC 'true lender' rule Top female GOP senator compares Cheney ousting to 'cancel culture' MORE (Maine), one of the most vulnerable GOP senators who is seeking reelection, said Friday during a debate that she believes Trump “should have been straightforward with the American public.” 

CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperClyburn says he's willing to compromise on qualified immunity in policing bill GOP divided over expected Cheney ouster GOP governor says Republican Party has to allow for differences MORE pressed White House adviser Peter Navarro during a separate Sunday interview on “State of the Union” on why Trump was not straightforward with the public. 

Navarro said Trump “was straightforward,” but he did not fully address Tapper’s questions in the heated interview regarding Trump’s conflicting statements in February between the Woodward interview and a press conference Trump held just days later. 

The interviews were conducted for Woodward’s forthcoming book, titled “Rage.” It is Woodward’s second book on the Trump presidency.