Navarro, Tapper Spar Over Trump Response to Coronavirus Following Woodward Tapes

Written by Martin Walsh

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion

CNN anchor Jake Tapper and White House adviser Peter Navarro had quite the back and forth recently over President Donald Trump’s comments about the coronavirus.

During an interview Sunday on CNN, Tapper began by discussing Trump’s interview with leftist reporter Bob Woodward, which went viral last week.

Woodward released a snippet from the interview that features Trump trying to downplay the severity of the coronavirus back earlier this year.

Trump told Woodward in early February that the coronavirus was more fatal than the seasonal flu but then told the public that the flu was more serious than COVID-19 in March.

When Navarro tried to explain what the president meant, Tapper almost immediately cut him off.

“I’m not giving you 10 minutes to do this,” Tapper said. “I’m specifically talking about what President Trump was saying to the public in February and March.”

Navarro accused Tapper of “constantly interrupting” and not letting him answer the question.

He continued to explain that he believed that Trump was “in the fog of war” because so little was known about the virus during the early days of the pandemic.

Tapper again cut off Navarro and asked him to address why Trump told the public that COVID-19 was less deadly than the flu.

“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,” Tapper said. “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.”

Navorro responded, “I am answering your question. You just don’t like the answer. The answer is 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 interview remained contentious until the end.

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The CNN anchor accused Navarro of dodging the question while the White House adviser told Tapper, “You’re not honest with the American people. CNN is not honest with the American people.”