Donald Trump faced a rare grilling from normal American voters today as he participated in a televised town hall forum.
The 90- minute event, transmitted by ABC News, gave undecided voters a possibility to ask the US President concerns face to face.
Those concerns covered a range of topics, but the one that kept coming up was the Trump administration’s action to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I elected you in2016 I’m conservative, pro-life and diabetic,” said the first voter to speak, Paul Tubiana.
“I’ve needed to dodge people that don’t care about social distancing and using face masks. I thought you were doing a good task with the pandemic action until about May 1. Then you took your foot off the gas pedal.
“Why did you toss vulnerable individuals like me under the bus?”
The first concern in tonight’s @abc2020 city center comes from a 2016 Trump citizen who’s diabetic: “I thought you were doing a good job with the pandemic reaction … then you took your foot off the gas pedal. Why did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus?” pic.twitter.com/iGEyqMFsNv
— ABC News (@ABC) September 16, 2020
“Well we truly didn’t, Paul,” Trump responded.
He indicated the United States was simply “3 or four weeks” away from having a working vaccine.
“We’re starting to get excellent marks. If you take a look at what we have actually done compared to other nations with the excess mortality rate, we’ve done very, extremely well,” he continued.
“I feel that we have actually done a tremendous task, actually. It’s something that– I don’t feel it’s been identified like it should.
“But when you take a look at our testing, when you take a look at our swabs, when you take a look at our ventilators, when you take a look at what we have actually finished with healthcare facilities. And we have actually made a great deal of governors look great.
“We’re very pleased with the task we’ve done and we’ve conserved a great deal of lives. A tremendous variety of lives.”
The President repeated his claim that America’s excess death rate was “amongst the best in the entire world”.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the US has the world’s 11 th-worst rate of deaths per capita. Its case death rate– the proportion of confirmed infections that lead to death– is much more bearable at simply 51 st worldwide.
America’s raw death toll, at about 200,000, is the highest in the world.
“We have 4 percent of the world’s population, more than 20 percent of the cases, more than 20 percent of the deaths,” mediator George Stephanopoulos stated.
“Well we have 20 per cent of the cases because of the truth that we do far more testing. If we would not do screening, you would not have cases,” Trump argued.
He also mentioned that the US is “a very big nation” by international standards.
Stephanopoulos raised among the discoveries in Watergate press reporter Bob Woodward’s new book, published today.
Woodward taped 18 interviews with the President. In among them, back in March, Trump said he had “played down” the danger of the virus in public since he did not wish to create “panic”.
“All through January and February, you were minimizing– by your own admission– the seriousness of the crisis. You didn’t wish to worry people,” said Stephanopoulos.
“Not downplaying,” Trump inserted.
“Not downplaying. I do not wish to drive our nation into a panic. I’m a cheerleader for this country. I’m the one who closed up our country. I closed it up long before any of the specialists thought I should, and saved numerous thousands of lives.”
Trump has often claimed each and every single among his advisers, including transmittable illness professional Dr Anthony Fauci, informed him not to impose the partial travel restriction on individuals coming from China at the end of January.
In his book, Woodward reports the relocation was in fact suggested by a minimum of 5 of the President’s advisors– Fauci, Health Secretary Alex Azar, CDC Director Robert Redfield, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and O’Brien’s deputy Matthew Pottinger.
Another of the uncertain voters, Julie Bart, asked Trump why he does not support a national mandate requiring individuals to wear masks, and why the President himself does not use one more often.
“Well I do wear them when I need to, when I remain in medical facilities and other locations,” stated Trump.
“However I will state this. They said at the Democrat convention they’re going to do a nationwide mandate. They never ever did it. Due to the fact that they have actually checked out, and they didn’t do it.
“A good concern is, like, you ask Joe Biden. They stated they’re going to do a nationwide required on masks. They didn’t do it. He never ever did it.”
He did not describe how he expected Biden to impose such a mandate before becoming president in January (need to he win the election). The Democratic nominee presently holds no office.
“By the way, a great deal of individuals do not want to wear masks,” Trump continued.
“There are a great deal of people that believe masks are not good.”
“Who are those individuals?” asked Stephanopoulos.
“I’ll tell you who those individuals are. Waiters,” said the President.
“They come by and the serve you, and they have a mask. And I saw it a few days ago, where they were serving me. And they’re playing with their mask.
“I’m not blaming them. I’m just saying what takes place. They’re having fun with a mask, so the mask is over, and they’re touching it. And then they’re touching the plate. That can’t be good. There are a lot of individuals.”
Trump explained, correctly, that Fauci and other health specialists at first told Americans they did not need to use masks.
Stephanopoulos went back to the American death toll, asking Trump whether, with the benefit of hindsight, he believed his administration should have done anything in a different way.
“I believe we might have had 2 million deaths if we had not closed out the country,” the President reacted.
“So you regret absolutely nothing?” the host pressed.
“No, I think we did a terrific task,” said Trump.
He went on to duplicate his assertion that the infection will “vanish” at some point.
“It is going to vanish. It is going to vanish. I still state it, it’s going to vanish, George.
“We’re going to get back– we’re not going to have studios like this, where you have all of this void.
“We’re going to be OKAY. We are going to be OK. And it is disappearing, and it’s most likely going to disappear now a lot quicker, due to the fact that of the vaccine. It would go away without the vaccine, George.”
“It would disappear without the vaccine?” Stephanopoulos interjected.
“Sure, over a time period. Sure, with time it disappears. And you’ll develop like a herd mentality. It’s going to be herd developed, which’s going to occur. That will all happen,” said Trump.
“But with a vaccine it will disappear extremely rapidly. I actually think we’re rounding the corner. And I believe that strongly.”