In response to the reports about Woodward's new book, "Rage," Trump did not deny that he sought to publicly play down the seriousness of the virus but instead defended his rosy public assessments as an effort to not "create panic.” He ultimately denounced the book as a political "hit job."
"I blame [Trump] pretty fundamentally," Clinton said on "The View," referring to the American lives lost because of the virus. "It's unconscionable [that] he lied to the American public about COVID, that he's continued to lie to the American people."
"He has such a blatant disregard for public health and ... the advice from public health experts that's pretty uniform around things like masks, the continued importance of social distancing, how much safer it is to be kind of outside than inside, how important good ventilation is. Things that we have known for months," Clinton said.
"I blame him, full stop. I also blame him for all that he's not doing now to help prepare for when the scientists have a proven vaccine that's safe and effective at scale. I blame him for not kind of marshaling a real effort to kind of build ... public confidence and demand for a vaccine that, again, is proven safe and effective," Clinton said. "I blame him for not having a transparent national plan for how he's gonna ensure that our front-line workers are vaccinated, that our elderly and medically compromised are vaccinated and then how the rest of us are gonna get vaccinated."
"I blame him, you know, for lying to the American people, for continuing to kind of disparage science and public health advice and for not helping to prepare and protect us today, including preparing us for when we do have a vaccine," she added. "There's a lot of blame for the president and his administration for where we are and where we're supposed to be."
COVID-19 has taken a particularly brutal toll on Americans since it was first detected in China in December. The U.S. currently has the largest share of the world's 930,000 COVID-19 deaths with 21%.
In February, Trump said, "A lot of people think that it goes away in April with the heat."
When that didn't happen, he told Fox News this summer: "It's going to disappear, and I'll be right."
By a nearly two to one margin, Americans distrust what the president says about the pandemic, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll from July. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll from this month also found that 62% of Americans were worried that political pressure from the Trump administration would lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to rush to approve a COVID-19 vaccine without making sure that it is safe and effective.
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