WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- United States President Donald Trump lashed at the New York Times for its report about the country’s response to the pandemic.
- The story says the Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary warned Trump about the possibility of COVID-19 outbreak long before Trump took action.
- The president claims that the report is fake news, saying that Azar told him “nothing” until later on.
President Trump condemned the New York Times for publishing a story on Saturday, April 11, about how HHS Secretary Alex Azar had warned him numerous times of the possible coronavirus outbreak weeks before the White House started its measures in response to the pandemic.
The president denied the published news in a tweet on Sunday, April 12. He claimed that it was “fake news”, adding that Azar did not tell him anything until after he implemented the travel ban from China.
“The @nytimes story is a Fake, just like the ‘paper’ itself. I was criticized for moving too fast when I issued the China Ban, long before most others wanted to do so,” tweeted Trump.
Trump added, “@SecAzar told me nothing until later, and Peter Navarro memo was same as Ban (see his statements). Fake News!”, in reference to The Times’ report about White House trade adviser Peter Navarro’s memo, warning Trump of the consequences of the outbreak on January 29.
The memo also urges Trump to put travel limitations from China, where the virus first emerged.
At a press briefing held earlier in the month, the president was asked about Navarro’s memo. Though he also denied having seen them, he said the actions he would have taken in response to the virus had not been any different from what Navarro had advised.
“I don’t think it would’ve changed it, because I basically did what the memo said,” the president said then.
Source: The Hill