White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday found himself in a heated exchange with CNN’s Jake Tapper as the anchor took him to task on President Trump’s purposeful downplaying of the COVID-19 pandemic in its early stages, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book.
When pressed on why Trump misled the public on COVID-19 — citing his remarks to Woodward in a Feb. 7 interview when the President privately expressed fear over COVID-19 after being warned by national security officials in late January that it would be the worst pandemic in a century, which contrasted his public downplaying of the threat in the following weeks — Navarro brought up Trump’s so-called travel ban on China imposed at the end of January and plans that the White House made in early February in preparation for COVID-19.
After calling Navarro out for dodging his question, Tapper grilled him on the stark contrast between Trump’s public comments versus his remarks those to Woodward on COVID-19.
“Why wasn’t the president straightforward with the American people?” Tapper asked.
Navarro insisted that Trump was “straightforward” before accusing Tapper of “cherry-picking.”
Tapper continued pressing Navarro to answer his question as he denied that he was “cherry-picking.”
After Navarro defended Trump’s comments again and claimed that “CNN is not honest with the American people,” Tapper abruptly ended the interview by talking over Navarro — who insisted that he “answered the question” — and reminding the American public of the country’s dire statistics on COVID-19.
“I would just like to remind the American people that are watching that the United States has less than 5% of the world’s population, and the United States has more than 20% of the world’s coronavirus deaths,” Tapper said. “That is a fact. It does not matter how many times he insults CNN.”
Watch Navarro’s remarks below:
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro accuses CNN's Jake Tapper of "cherry-picking" Trump's COVID response pic.twitter.com/n9Ue425gXN
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 13, 2020