CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday abruptly ended an interview with White House trade adviser Peter Navarro following a tense exchange about President Donald Trump’s decision to initially downplay the threat of the coronavirus.
During a segment on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Tapper asked Navarro to discuss a Feb. 7 recording with journalist Bob Woodward, released last week, in which Trump said the virus is five times deadlier than the flu.
In the weeks following the recorded conversation, Trump continued to hold large rallies despite knowing the virus was airborne and deadly. On Feb. 26, he told reporters that the flu was more dangerous than the coronavirus.
“He was misleading the public. Why?” Tapper asked Navarro on Sunday.
Navarro, failing to directly answer the question, laid out the White House’s behind-the-scenes strategy for addressing the virus in early February and praised Trump’s response. Public health experts, however, have largely attributed the United States’ record number of coronavirus cases to the Trump administration’s mishandling of the outbreak.
“You’re not answering my question, Peter,” Tapper interrupted. “The question is about ― you’re talking about what you were doing privately.”
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