Trump Blasts NY Times Over ‘Fake’ Story He Ignored COVID-19 Warnings
President says story was 'fake news' and that Azar told him 'nothing'
President Donald Trump blasted a The New York Times report that claimed the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar warned him repeatedly of the likelihood of a coronavirus outbreak, weeks before his administration responded to the threat.
Trump said the story was “fake news” and that Azar told him “nothing” until his office began issuing travel restrictions 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."
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. @SecAzar told me nothing until later, and Peter Navarro memo was same as Ban (see his statements). Fake News!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2020
"@SecAzar told me nothing until later, and Peter Navarro memo was same as Ban (see his statements). Fake News!" Trump added, referring to he outlets claim that White House trade adviser Peter Navarro warned him of the consequences of an outbreak in a memo on Jan. 29.
Navarro also reportedly urged Trump to place restrictions on travel from China.
Trump faced criticism for brushing off concerns about a potential outbreak in America.
But the president denied seeing the memos, before saying he doubted his response to the issue would have been any different if he had seen them.
"I don’t think it would’ve changed it, because I basically did what the memo said," Trump said.
Trump's criticism against The Times comes after he blasted at Fox News anchor Chris Wallace for suggesting there would have been fewer deaths from the coronavirus if he had taken the epidemic seriously in January and February.
"Just watched Mike Wallace wannabe, Chris Wallace, on @FoxNews. I am now convinced that he is even worse than Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of Meet the Press(please!), or the people over at Deface the Nation. What the hell is happening to @FoxNews. It’s a whole new ballgame over there!" he wrote.
Enough with the 3rd grade name-calling. Chris is doing his job. The news should not be any president’s friend, ally, or buddy. If it bothered you when Obama complained about Fox News, but you’re silent on this complete nonsense, then just stop. Seriously. Enough. https://t.co/uW1Dw275Or— Jedediah Bila (@JedediahBila) April 12, 2020
This is not the first time the New York Times has tried to smear Trump with fake stories.
Last month, the outlet edited Trump's quote from a call with state governors, regarding medical ventilators, which was shared by at least eight authors.
The edited quote created the false impression that Trump was denying federal support for much-needed ventilators for hospitals treating coronavirus victims.
Trump's quote was as follows:
“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves."
“We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”
But the Times journalists left out most of what the president said in the body of their posts, only using the first part which made it look like he was withholding the equipment.