Top White House adviser Peter Navarro humiliated CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday after the star journalist challenged Navarro to explain remarks made by President Donald Trump to author Bob Woodward that seemed to indicate the president had downplayed the severity of the coronavirus in the first weeks of the pandemic.
According to the Washington Examiner, Tapper was referring to remarks revealed in an audio recording that was recently made public. Asked to justify Trump’s comments, Navarro explained in detail the president’s strategy for taking on COVID-19. But the CNN host wasn’t satisfied.
“In the fog of war”
“I’m not giving you 10 minutes to do this,” Tapper told Navarro, according to the Examiner. “I’m specifically talking about what President Trump was saying to the public in February and March.”
The Trump administration official wasn’t intimidated by Navarro’s hostility, however.
Navarro complained that Tapper was “constantly interrupting” him before comparing the president’s remarks on the coronavirus to comments made “in the fog of war.” Few details about the virus were known during the first months of the outbreak, he noted.
“In February, nobody knew,” Navarro told Tapper, according to NBC News. “No, nobody knew. Not the president, not you, not [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, not [New York City Mayor] Bill de Blasio.”
But Tapper still wasn’t sold. “On Feb. 7, he knew that it was in the air, that it was 5 times deadlier than the flu. That’s on the tapes,” the CNN host pressed, as the Washington Examiner reported. “Two weeks later, he is saying that the flu is deadlier than the coronavirus. Why wasn’t he honest? I want you to answer the question.”
Navarro replied: “I am answering your question. You just don’t like the answer.”
“Do you want to go there?”
According to Navarro, Trump’s true feelings about COVID-19 can be seen through his actions “in February all the way through the middle of March, when the World Health Organization finally said there was a pandemic and China was hiding the information, finally. That’s when we knew that there was a pandemic,” the White House aide contended.
Neither Navarro nor Tapper seemed to leave the interview feeling satisfied. “You’re not honest with the American people. CNN is not honest with the American people,” Navarro shot at Tapper, according to Fox News. “Do you want to go there? We can do that.”
“Why wasn’t the President straightforward with the American people?” CNN’s @jaketapper presses White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on President Trump concealing the threat of Covid-19 https://t.co/BfoWL4UaMV #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/iIt5rIvHvV
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 13, 2020