President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats, advocates seethe over Florida voting rights ruling Russian jets identified in Trump campaign ad calling for support for the troops Democratic Senate candidate ‘hesitant’ to get COVID-19 vaccine if approved this year MORE on Tuesday said he doesn’t believe he could have done anything different to stop the coronavirus pandemic from spreading across the United States as part of a town hall event where he fiercely pushed back on criticism of his response to the outbreak.
The president was asked by one prospective voter what the most difficult challenge of his presidency has been, and what he learned from it.
“I learned that life is very fragile. I knew people that were powerful people, strong people, good people, and they got knocked out by this, and died — six people,” Trump said. “It was five until about two weeks ago, now it’s six.”
“But I’ve learned that life is very fragile, because these were strong people, and all of a sudden they were dead; they were gone,” he continued. “And it wasn’t their fault. It was the fault of a country that could have stopped it.”
Trump repeated his belief that the pandemic could have been contained by China, prompting anchor George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosTrump officials defend president’s coronavirus response amid Woodward revelations Trump campaign senior adviser says president is ‘not at all’ downplaying the severity of the pandemic Biden senior adviser: ‘We know that we have work to do’ to gain Latino support MORE to ask if the president could have done more himself to keep the virus outside the U.S.
“I don’t think so,” Trump said. “I think what I did by closing up the country, I think I saved two, maybe two and a half, maybe more than that lives. I really don’t think so. I think we did a very good job.”
“What has been the most difficult part of your presidency?” an uncommitted voter asks in special @ABC2020 town hall.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 16, 2020
The president throughout the town hall event offered a rosy outlook of his response to the virus and the state of the pandemic in the United States, which has reported more infections and more deaths from COVID-19 than any country in the world.
Several of the questions focused on the pandemic, with one woman noting that the virus has hit minority communities the hardest and another asking why Trump did not wear a mask more often.
He repeated his unsupported belief that the virus will go away even without a vaccine, claimed he “up-played” the severity of the crisis despite his statements to the contrary earlier this year, and pointed to waiters when asked who has argued masks may be bad for preventing the spread of the disease.
“So you regret nothing?” Stephanopoulos asked at one point.
“No, I think we did a great job,” Trump replied.