Reporter vs. Trump: Why Didn't You Warn People Virus Was Spreading Like Wildfire Instead Of Holding Rallies? | Video | RealClearPolitics

Reporter vs. Trump: Why Didn't You Warn People Virus Was Spreading Like Wildfire Instead Of Holding Rallies?

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At Sunday's White House coronavirus task force briefing, CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang asked President Trump why he didn't "warn" people that the virus was spreading while he was holding MAGA rallies.

WEIJIA JIANG, CBS NEWS: Since you shared with us something else that you saw on TV today. I have a question about something you said Thursday. You said you were angry because information about the virus should have been told to us earlier and a lot sooner. "People knew it was coming and people did not want to talk about it."

Many Americans are saying the exact same thing about you, that you should have warned them the virus was spreading like wildfire through the month of February instead of holding rallies with thousands of people. Why did you wait so long to warn them and why did you not have social distancing until March 16th?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Who are you with?

JIANG: I'm Weijia Jiang with CBS News.

TRUMP: So if you look at what I did in terms of cutting off or banning China from coming in --

JIANG: Chinese nationals. But by the way, not Americans who were also coming from China.

TRUMP: Just relax. We cut it off. People were amazed. Everybody was amazed that I did it. With 21 people in the room, everyone was against it but me. Dr. Fauci said, had I not done that, perhaps tens of thousands, may much more than that, people would have died. I was very early. Very, very early.

You saw Bret Baier making a statement. They had a debate well into February and not even mentioned, it wasn't mentioned, the Democrats. We were very early. Oh, I'm the president, and you know what I just did?

JIANG: When you issued the ban, the virus was already here.

TRUMP: You know how many people when I issued the ban -- how many cases of virus were in the United States when I issued the ban? Do you know the number?

JIANG: There was --

TRUMP: No, how many cases were there? Remember I said one person. How many cases were here when I issued the ban?

JIANG: But did you know --

TRUMP: No, no, no. You have to do your research.

JIANG: I did the research. On the 23rd of March, you said you knew this was going to be a pandemic.

TRUMP: I did know it, I did. All you have to do is look.

JIANG: So you knew it?

TRUMP: Anybody knew it. Are you ready? How many cases were in the United States when I did my ban? How many people had died in the United States when I did this?

JIANG: Do you acknowledge you didn't think this wouldn't spread?

TRUMP: Keep your voice down, please. Keep your voice down.

JIANG: Did you not think it would spread?

TRUMP: How many cases were in the United States? I did a ban where I was closing up the entire country. How many people died?

JIANG: And that's a fair point.

TRUMP: How many people died in the United States and yet I closed up the country and I believe there were no deaths. Zero deaths at the time I closed up the country. Nobody was there. And you should say thank you very much for good judgment.




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