One of the doctors cited in a White House video derided as “propaganda” by critics of President Donald Trump is defending himself ― and offering up a mea culpa for his coronavirus prediction.
Trump on Monday showed off a campaign-like video of media figures speaking about the COVID-19 threat, claiming they “minimized” the risk.
One clip featured CBS News contributor Dr. David Agus predicting on Feb. 8 that “coronavirus is not going to cause a major issue in the United States.”
But Agus, a professor at the University of Southern California’s medical school, replied on Twitter shortly afterward that he was speaking based on what he had been told about the nation’s capacity to test for the virus and ability to quarantine the infected:
Those abilities did not exist; coronavirus tests promised by Trump and others on his team never materialized, setting back the effort to track the infection by weeks or longer.
Trump’s video montage suggested that media figures were downplaying the risk while the president was taking action.
In reality, Trump was attending campaign rallies, playing golf and downplaying the risk himself in his public statements despite being warned by aides and experts about the urgent need for action.
The president declared on Jan. 22 that coronavirus was “totally under control,” on Feb. 10 predicted it’ll “go away in April” and on Feb. 26 said the number of cases “within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”