President Donald Trump participated in a town hall event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia anchored by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday entitled “The President and the People.”
According to the network, the forum provided uncommitted voters the opportunity to ask the president their questions on issues affecting Americans from the coronavirus pandemic and economic recovery to protests for racial justice and climate change.
“I didn’t downplay it, I actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action, my action was very strong,” Trump said at the National Constitution Center, where he took questions from undecided voters in an event hosted by ABC News.
“I don’t want to scare people, I don’t want to make people panic and you’re not going to go out and say, ‘This is going to be death, death, death,'” Trump said.
QUESTION: Hello, hi.
My question is, if you believe it’s the president’s responsibility to protect America, why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities?
Well, I didn’t downplay it. I actually — in many ways I up-played it in terms of action. My action was very strong.
QUESTION: Did you not admit to it yourself?
TRUMP: Yes, because what I did was, with China – I put a ban on with Europe, I put a ban on. And we would have lost thousands of more people, had I not put the ban on.
So that was called action, not with the mouth, but an actual fact. We did a very, very good job when we put that ban on. Whether you call it talent or luck, it was very important. So we saved a lot of lives when we did that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There were holes in the ban, and the European ban didn’t come for another month —
TRUMP: Well, they were Americans – I mean, the holes in – were, if you have somebody in China that’s an American citizen, we had to let them in. I mean, there were actually some people that said, well – once it got going, they said, wait a minute, that is really a heavily infected place.
And we had a case where we had a lot of Americans, they were probably – they probably had COVID, and we’re saying, do we let them into our country? We let them in very carefully, we quarantined them, but we let them in.
But yes, they say that we allowed certain people in – it’s true, but they were American citizens.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to move onto some other subjects. But we’re still – are dealing with 195,000 deaths in the United States right now. When you see that – when you think about that, does that give you any pause? Does it make you think, is there anything I could have done differently? Anything –
TRUMP: I think we could have had two million deaths if we didn’t close out the country -–
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you regret nothing?
TRUMP: We did close it — no, I think we did a great job.
If we didn’t close the country – look, we created – I created, we all created together –you helped everybody. The fact is, we created the greatest economy in the history of the world, best employment numbers for African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-America, women – everything.
The best employment – high school, no high school, college – we had the best economy we’ve ever had. One hundred and sixteen million people – almost just short of 160 million people – we were never close.
And then somebody comes in and then somebody else – doctors, and they start talking about the pandemic and about closing – they want to close up our country.
I said, wait a minute. We’re the greatest country, the greatest economy, and it was coming together even in terms of unity, because it was so successful that people that weren’t getting along were starting to get along, George. That’s the way we solved that problem.