Los Angeles Mayor Eric GarcettiEric GarcettiSunday shows preview: With less than two months to go, race for the White House heats up TikTok stars Bryce Hall, Blake Gray charged for throwing house parties during pandemic Latino Victory to boost Alex Padilla to fill Harris’s potential Senate seat MORE (D) said on Sunday that he would have responded differently to the coronavirus outbreak if President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump slams Nevada governor at rally, takes aim at mail-in voting Former NFL coach Mike Holmgren slams Trump pandemic response, throws support to Biden Watch Live: Trump rallies supporters in Nevada MORE had not downplayed its threat earlier this year.
Garcetti said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he would have taken action earlier, and saved lives in the process, if Trump had publicly shared what he said privately to journalist Bob Woodward.
“We were the first city to close things down, the first city to offer widespread testing. But we had to go it alone. And we heard that consistently. That’s up to the states. That’s up to the local governments,” Garcetti said.
Garcetti said Trump’s decision to downplay the threat at the same time he was describing the coronavirus as “deadly” to Woodward and the delayed local action cost thousands of lives in his city and possibly 100,000 across the nation.
“I had firefighters providing tests to people, volunteers who would give their time because we had no leadership at the national level,” Garcetti said. “If we had known and had leadership that … actually allowed us to do the work and provided us the resources to do so, we would have taken action much earlier, and thousands of lives in my city and, obviously, maybe tens of thousands if not 100,000 lives in America could have been saved.”
Trump acknowledged last week that he may have downplayed the threat of the coronavirus to the public. Asked after the Woodward recordings were released if he misled the public or downplayed the coronavirus, Trump told reporters, “If you said in order to reduce panic, perhaps that’s so.”
Trump was widely criticized by Democrats after the recordings of the interviews with Woodward were released and was even called out by some Republicans. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins: Trump ‘should have been straightforward’ on COVID-19 The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind – Trump seeks to flip ‘Rage’ narrative; Dems block COVID-19 bill Senate Republicans scramble to contain fallout from Woodward bombshell MORE (Maine), one of the most vulnerable GOP senators who is seeking reelection, said Friday during a debate that she believes Trump “should have been straightforward with the American public.”
CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperOvernight Defense: Trump announces new US ambassador to Afghanistan | Pentagon officially withdraws plan to end ‘Stars and Stripes’ | Biden says Trump doesn’t understand national security, intel officials ‘don’t trust’ him Biden vows to be ‘totally transparent’ on his health if elected Biden says Trump doesn’t understand national security, intel officials ‘don’t trust’ him MORE pressed White House adviser Peter Navarro during a separate Sunday interview on “State of the Union” on why Trump was not straightforward with the public.
Navarro said Trump “was straightforward,” but he did not fully address Tapper’s questions in the heated interview regarding Trump’s conflicting statements in February between the Woodward interview and a press conference Trump held just days later.
The interviews were conducted for Woodward’s forthcoming book, titled “Rage.” It is Woodward’s second book on the Trump presidency.