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Trump Throws Down with Liberal Hacks Karl, Rucker Over Woodward Book; ‘Why Did You Lie?’



On Thursday afternoon, President Trump continued to distinguish himself from Joe Biden on access with another White House press conference that featured snarky, Jim Acosta-like questions from ABC’s Jonathan Karl (even though he’s written about his disdain for Acosta’s style) and far-left Washington Post reporter and MSNBC contributor Phil Rucker as they both accused him of having lied to the American people about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump closed his lengthy opening remarks by calling on Karl, ABC’s chief White House correspondent, who didn’t mince words in this short question: “Why did you lie to the American people and why should we trust what you have to say now?”

 

 

The President shook his head as Karl asked his question and called out his “terrible question and the phraseology” because “I didn’t lie.” Instead, Trump insisted that he wanted Americans “to be calm” and not “be panicked.”

Karl then jumped in as Trump torched his question as “a disgrace” and noted that, if the Woodward interviews were so bad, then he should have gone public sooner (click “expand”):

TRUMP: But certainly, if he thought that was a bad statement, he would have reported it because he thinks that, you know, you don’t want to have anybody that’s going to suffer medically because of some fact. And he didn’t report it because he didn’t think it was bad. Nobody thought it was bad. [INAUDIBLE KARL] Wait a minute. Your question — the way you phrase that is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace to ABC Television Network. It’s a disgrace to your employer and that’s the answer. Are you ready? Because I – I love –

KARL: Are you saying that you didn’t lie?

TRUMP: Of course, I didn’t.

KARL: I mean, you told him you knew —

TRUMP: Of course, I didn’t.

KARL: — it was deadlier —

TRUMP: No, no.

KARL: — than the flu and then you went out and told the American public that this was just like the flu. 

TRUMP: Let me tell you something.

KARL: You told Bob Woodward one thing and you told everybody else something else. 

TRUMP: No. Five times, right? Five times. You ever hear the expression five times? We’ve had flu years where we lost 100,000 people. The flu is a very serious problem for this country also. And we’ve been losing them — Scott, what kind of number have we lost over the year with flu into the hundreds of thousands? 

SCOTT ATLAS: Well, I mean, the last five years have been something like 35 to 80,000 per year, every year even with anti-viral drugs and flu vaccines.

TRUMP: Flu is a very serious problem also.

KARL: But you told Bob Woodward this was worse the most — deadlier than the most strenuous flu. 

TRUMP: Okay.

KARL: And then you went out and said it’s just like the flu. 

Trump finally got a chance to elaborate by emphasizing while no one should have lost their life, the real onus should be placed on China for having lied. In contrast, the administration acted early instead of sitting on its hands as they enacted travel bans to China and Europe.

Most notably, Trump argued that, if he didn’t think the virus was serious, he wouldn’t have enacted the travel bans.

Climbing into the minds of the journalists there, Trump added that he wasn’t “going to jump up in the air and say people are going to die,” explicitly telling Americans to panic.

Before going to Rucker, Trump doubled down on how he wasn’t going to “start screaming death, death because that’s not what it’s about” because, contrary to the liberal media’s disdain for American simply because Trump’s in office, the U.S. is “a great country and doing a great job and the people who have done a great job should be given the kind of credit they deserve.”

Rucker was similarly snarky, reminding viewers of how he drew Trump’s ire on April 23 with the line “I’m the President and you’re fake news”:

Mr. President, you talked about the need to stay calm and just jumping up and down and scaring people. A lot of other leaders were calm. Angela Merkel was very calm and presented information to the German people so that they could stay safe and protect their families. So, why did you, as President of the United States, did you not level with the American people? Why didn’t you share the information that you knew at the time, in real time?

After Rucker briefly interjected seconds after Trump began speaking, the fight was on (click “expand”):

TRUMP: Phil, we’ve done much, much better than the European Union. I just read you numbers that are not good on their behalf and that are very good for ours. We’ve rounded the final turn. And we have — we’re going to have vaccine very soon. [INAUDIBLE RUCKER] Listen, maybe much sooner than you think. We have done a phenomenal job and the people that have done this job, including the American public that’s had to put up with a lot with the lockdowns and all of the things that they had to do. They have to be given credit. They have to be given credit.

RUCKER: But you knew it was a deadly virus. You knew it was airborne. You told Bob Woodward how it transferred from person to person in the air, how deadly it was. Why did you not come to the podium and tell the American people what you knew? 

TRUMP: Well, let me ask you this. If Bob Woodward thought that was bad because this is stuff that everyone knew. There’s a report that I have here someplace where China said it was airborne earlier than the statements I made. People knew it was airborne. This was no big thing – when I say it was airborne everybody knew it was airborne. This was no big thing.

RUCKER: Why didn’t you say that in February? 

TRUMP: Well, read the reports. China came out with a statement that it was an airborne disease. I assumed it early on. The fact is there has to be a calmness. You don’t want me jumping up and down screaming there’s going to be great death, there’s going to be – and really causing very serious problems to the country. If Bob Woodward thought what I said was bad, then he should have immediately right after I said it gone out to the authorities so they could prepare and let him know. 

RUCKER: But Bob Woodward is not the President.

TRUMP: But he didn’t think it was bad and he said he didn’t think it was bad. He actually said he didn’t think it was bad.

RUCKER: Bob Woodward is not the President. 

TRUMP: The only one that said it was bad or think it was bad was the fake news media because they take it and try to put it a certain way. If Bob Woodward thought it was bad, then he should have immediately gone out publicly, not wait four months.

Once Trump finished with Rucker, he took questions Newsmax’s Emerald Robinson about the Durham investigation before promptly leaving the room.

Since this was a White House Press Briefing, there were no corporate advertisers to link to. But for a list of some of the advertisers on liberal broadcast and cable networks, go here to check out the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant transcript from September 10’s briefing, click “expand.”

White House Press Briefing
September 10, 2020
3:48 p.m. Eastern

JONATHAN KARL: Why did you lie to the American people and why should we trust what you have to say now? 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: That’s a terrible question and the phraseology. I didn’t lie. I said we have to be calm. We can’t be panicked. I knew that the tapes were – these were a series of phone calls we had, mostly phone calls and Bob Woodward is somebody that I respect just from hearing the name for many, many years. Not knowing too much about his work. Not caring about his work, but I thought it would be interesting to talk to him for a period of, you know, calls. So, we did that. I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I don’t know if the book is good or bad. But certainly, if he thought that was a bad statement, he would have reported it because he thinks that, you know, you don’t want to have anybody that’s going to suffer medically because of some fact. And he didn’t report it because he didn’t think it was bad. Nobody thought it was bad. [INAUDIBLE KARL] Wait a minute. Your question — the way you phrase that is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace to ABC Television Network. It’s a disgrace to your employer and that’s the answer. Are you ready? Because I love –

KARL: Are you saying that you didn’t lie?

TRUMP: Of course, I didn’t.

KARL: I mean, you told him you knew —

TRUMP: Of course, I didn’t.

KARL: — it was deadlier —

TRUMP: No, no.

KARL: — than the flu and then you went out and told the American public that this was just like the flu. 

TRUMP: Let me tell you something.

KARL: You told Bob Woodward one thing and you told everybody else something else. 

TRUMP: No. Five times, right? Five times. You ever hear the expression five times? We’ve had flu years where we lost 100,000 people. The flu is a very serious problem for this country also. And we’ve been losing them — Scott, what kind of number have we lost over the year with flu into the hundreds of thousands? 

SCOTT ATLAS: Well, I mean, the last five years have been something like 35 to 80,000 per year, every year even with anti-viral drugs and flu vaccines.

TRUMP: Flu is a very serious problem also.

KARL: But you told Bob Woodward this was worse the most — deadlier than the most strenuous flu. 

TRUMP: Okay.

KARL: And then you went out and said it’s just like the flu. 

TRUMP: What I went out and said was very simple. What I went out and said was very simple. I want to show a level of confidence and I want to show strength as a leader. And I want to show our country is going to be fine one way or the other. Whether we lose one person – we shouldn’t lose any because this shouldn’t have happened. This is China’s fault. This is nobody’s fault but China. China shouldn’t have allowed it to happen. Whether you have one person, 180,000 people, or 2.5 or 3 million people which it could have been very seriously if we didn’t make the moves. And when you look at the opposition where they said, oh why did he put the ban on, Dr. Fauci said we saved hundreds of thousands of lives by putting the ban on China and then ultimately putting the ban on Europe. There was no lie here. What we’re doing is we’re leading and we’re leading in a proper way. And if frankly, somebody else was leading it, they wouldn’t have closed it. If you look at Nancy Pelosi, you look at Cuomo, you look at de Blasio, you look at Biden, months later they said there’s no problem. They’re talking about me. Months later and before any statement was made, you have to remember I put the ban on China. And obviously, outwardly, I said it’s a serious problem and it’s always a serious problem. That doesn’t mean I’m going to jump up in the air and say people are going to die. No. No. I’m not going to do that. We’re going to get through this. And we’re – right now — I hope — really think we’re rounding the final turn. And a lot of good things are happening with vaccines and therapeutics. But there’s no lying and the way you asked that question is very disgraceful. 

KARL: But should people trust you now?

TRUMP: Phil, go ahead, please.

PHIL RUCKER: Mr. President –

TRUMP: I think we did a great job. I think we did a great. And the people that did such are our generals, our admirals, Mike Pence, all the people that have worked so hard and now Dr. Atlas — all of the — Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, they should be respected for the job they done. You haven’t –

KARL: So you won’t downplay it again? You won’t downplay it again? Cause you said you downplayed it. That’s what you told Bob Woodward.

TRUMP: No, I don’t want to jump up and down and start screaming death, death because that’s not what it’s about. We’re leading a great country and doing a great job. And the people who have done a great job should be given the kind of credit they deserve. We possibly have done the best jobs when you start looking at what we’re doing with vaccines, and therapeutics, and ventilators. We had no ventilators, Jon. We make thousands of ventilators a month now and we’re supplying them to the whole world. The job we’ve done is the best job. And don’t give me any credit. Give the people that have done this the credit. They’ve done a great job. Yeah, Phil, go ahead.

RUCKER: Mr. President, you talked about the need to stay calm and just jumping up and down and scaring people. A lot of other leaders were calm. Angela Merkel was very calm and presented information to the German people so that they could stay safe and protect their families. So, why did you, as President of the United States, did you not level with the American people? Why didn’t you share the information that you knew at the time, in real time?

TRUMP: Well, I don’t know what Angela said. But if you look at the European Union right now, they’re having break-outs like you’ve never seen before and frankly, their numbers are at a level that are much worse than the numbers here. We have —

RUCKER: They’re not as bad as the United States.

TRUMP: — Phil, we’ve done much, much better than the European Union. I just read you numbers that are not good on their behalf and that are very good for ours. We’ve rounded the final turn. And we have — we’re going to have vaccine very soon. [INAUDIBLE RUCKER] Listen, maybe much sooner than you think. We have done a phenomenal job and the people that have done this job, including the American public that’s had to put up with a lot with the lockdowns and all of the things that they had to do. They have to be given credit. They have to be given credit.

RUCKER: But you knew it was a deadly virus. You knew it was airborne. You told Bob Woodward how it transferred from person to person in the air, how deadly it was. Why did you not come to the podium and tell the American people what you knew? 

TRUMP: Well, let me ask you this. If Bob Woodward thought that was bad because this is stuff that everyone knew. There’s a report that I have here someplace where China said it was airborne earlier than the statements I made. People knew it was airborne. This was no big thing – when I say it was airborne everybody knew it was airborne. This was no big thing.

RUCKER: Why didn’t you say that in February? 

TRUMP: Well, read the reports. China came out with a statement that it was an airborne disease. I assumed it early on. The fact is there has to be a calmness. You don’t want me jumping up and down screaming there’s going to be great death, there’s going to be – and really causing very serious problems to the country. If Bob Woodward thought what I said was bad, then he should have immediately right after I said it gone out to the authorities so they could prepare and let him know. 

RUCKER: But Bob Woodward is not the President.

TRUMP: But he didn’t think it was bad and he said he didn’t think it was bad. He actually said he didn’t think it was bad.

RUCKER: Bob Woodward is not the President. 

TRUMP: The only one that said it was bad or think it was bad was the fake news media because they take it and try to put it a certain way. If Bob Woodward thought it was bad, then he should have immediately gone out publicly, not wait four months. You know, he’s had that statement for four months, maybe five months. He’s had it for a long time. It was a series of taped interviews mostly by telephone. Quick ones, not long ones. Quick ones and it was – I did it out of curiosity because I do have respect and I want to see – I wonder whether somebody like that can write good. I don’t think he can, but let’s see what happens.



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