‘I up-played’ the danger of coronavirus, says Donald Trump

Days after audio recordings emerged of President Donald Trump saying that he downplayed the threat of coronavirus, he has said the complete opposite.

Appearing at the town hall-style event on America's ABC News, Mr Trump denied that he understated the threat of COVID-19.

"Yeah, well, I didn't downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it, in terms of action," he said.

"My action was very strong.

President Donald Trump talks with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos.

"Yeah, because what I did was, with China, I put a ban on.

"With Europe, I put a ban on and we would have lost thousands of more people had I not put the ban on.

"So that was called 'action,' not with the mouth but in actual fact."

More than 196,000 people have died of coronavirus in the United States.

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for a trip to Philadelphia, to attend an ABC News town hall.

Mr Trump also reiterated his claim that coronavirus would go away on its own.

"It is going to disappear. It's going to disappear, I still say it," the president said.

"And you'll develop, you'll develop herd - like a herd mentality. It's going to be - it's going to be herd developed and that's going to happen, that will all happen."

In February Mr Trump likened coronavirus to "the sniffles" and suggested it was no more dangerous than the flu.

"And so far if you look at what we have with the 15 people and they're recovering, one is pretty sick, but hopefully will recover. But the others are in great shape," he said at a press conference then.

"Over the last 10 years, we lost 360,000 - these are people who died from the flu, what we call the flu – 'Hey, did you get the flu shot?' That's something."

Trump downplays coronavirus risk

But in a taped interview a few weeks later with journalist Bob Woodward, he described it as "more deadly that even your strenuous flus".

"I wanted to play it down," Mr Trump said.

"I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."

Donald Trump in one of his 18 interviews with Bob Woodward. On the president's desk are large photos of Mr Trump and Kim Jong-un.

At the town hall, one undecided voter asked Mr Trump to name a time when the country was great for African-Americans, in reference to his slogan "Make America Great Again".

"I hope there's not a race problem," Mr Trump said.

"I can tell you there's none with me because I have great respect for all races -- for everybody. This country is great because of it."

Mr Trump described police who shoot unarmed people as "bad apples".

"I think they were tragic events, and I do feel that we have to also take into consideration that if you look at our police they do a phenomenal job," he said.

"You'll have people choke, make mistakes and they happen, it happens, where they have to make a fast decision and some bad things happen.

"I also think there's some very big problems where if you don't give the police back their authority."

President Donald Trump waves after stepping off Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House.

Mr Trump said the reason why America had four percent of the world's population but 20 percent of coronavirus cases was because of "more testing".

The town hall event was held in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania.

Mr Trump's election rival Joe Biden referenced that as he criticised the president's coronavirus response.

"Long before COVID-19 spread to Philadelphia, President Trump's failed leadership was felt in every corner of the city," he said.

"Pennsylvanians deserve better."

The election will be held on November 3.

Source: 9News

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