Trump Defends CCP Virus Response After Woodward’s Book: ‘I Want People Not to Panic’

September 10, 2020 Updated: September 10, 2020

President Donald Trump, in a Sept. 9 interview, defended comments he made about the CCP virus pandemic during interviews with reporter Bob Woodward earlier this year, saying that he wanted to “show a calmness” in the face of nationwide adversity.

“I’m the leader of the country. I can’t be jumping up and down and scaring people,” Trump told Sean Hannity of Fox News. “I don’t want to scare people. I want people not to panic, and that’s exactly what I did.”

Portions of Woodward’s upcoming book, “Rage,” were published by The Washington Post on Sept. 9.

“I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic,” Trump told Woodward in February, according to audio excerpts, which is similar to remarks he gave in public around the same time.

Trump said on Sept. 9 that Woodward, of Watergate fame, published a hit-piece against him.

“He does hit jobs with everybody, he even did it on [former President Barack] Obama … constant hit jobs. On [George W.] Bush, I guess, they did three books, they were all terrible,” Trump told Hannity.

The president then explained why he sat down to be interviewed by Woodward.

“So I figured, you know, ‘Let’s give it a little shot, I’ll speak to him.’ It wasn’t a big deal, I’ll speak to him and let’s see. I don’t know if the book is good or bad, I have no idea. I probably, almost definitely won’t read it because I don’t have time to read it. But I gave it a little bit of a shot, sounds like it’s not going to be good,” he said.

In the interview, Trump again defended how he had directed the federal government to respond to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, namely in how he limited flights from the United States to China in January. Some Democratic politicians decried the move, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as well as nominee Joe Biden, who said the travel ban was engaging in “hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.”

“If you look at the representatives of Joe Biden, you see what they were saying. They were saying ‘no problem, this won’t be a problem,'” Trump said Sept. 9. “He didn’t think it was going to be a problem until months later. He was way late.”

nancy pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks to reporters in Washington on Aug. 27, 2020. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Later in the interview, Trump noted that Pelosi had toured San Francisco’s Chinatown area in February to ease fears about the CCP virus, which originated in mainland China.

“Nobody wanted me to do the ban on China,” Trump said, adding that he also banned travel from Europe “because I saw what was going on in Italy and in Spain and in France.” He reiterated that if those bans were not implemented, the COVID-19 transmission and death rate would be much worse.

On Sept. 9, following the publication of Woodward’s excerpts, which comes less than two months before the November election, Biden said Trump engaged in a “life-or-death betrayal.”

“He knew how deadly it was. He knew and purposely played it down,” Biden said at an event in Michigan. “Worse, he lied.”

Pelosi, in an interview on Sept. 9, said that Trump’s family and other GOP members should stage “some kind of intervention,” suggesting that he is incapable of leading.