CNN’s Jake Tapper cut off a Sunday interview with White House trade adviser Peter Navarro after Navarro accused the network of lying to the American people.
What are the details?
Navarro appeared on “State of the Union” where he accused Tapper and CNN of not being forthright in reporting.
At one point during the exchange, Tapper said, “Let’s [talk about] revelations from Bob Woodward’s book. … I want you to take a listen to what President Trump told Woodward in private on Feb. 7.”
The clip in question featured Trump speaking to Woodward about COVID-19.
“He’s stating that the coronavirus is five times deadlier than the regular influenza,” Tapper said of the president’s remarks. “Now here’s what [the president] was saying publicly two weeks later.”
He went on to play a clip of a conversation between Trump and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s senior medical correspondent, in which the president said, “The flu is much higher than that,” referring to a fatality ratio when compared to COVID-19 infections.
‘He was misleading the American people’
“He was misleading the American people,” Tapper said. “Why?”
Navarro responded, “Give me a minute to walk through the timeline, because I think this is really important.”
He continued, “On Jan. 31, that was basically the starting gun to fight this virus that came in from the Chinese Communist Party. Let’s not forget where this started. And that was a signal from this president that this is a serious, serious matter. He’s taking down flights from China. He was called a xenophobe and a racist by Joe Biden, who later had to apologize.”
Tapper interrupted and said that Biden never said those things about Trump and never issued an apology for the remarks. A Biden spokesperson in May said that Biden never called the president racist or xenophobic over the move to ban flights, nor did he issue an apology for the remarks.
Navarro continued, “So, Jan. 31, pulls down the flights, saves probably hundreds of thousands of American lives. … In that first week of February, leading up to Feb. 7, we here at the White House started a strategy. It basically was, hope for the best, prepare for the worst, stay calm, and begin to attack this virus from China on four different vectors. PPE, therapeutics, vaccines.”
“I’m not giving you 10 minutes to do this,” Tapper warned.
An exasperated-sounding Navarro added that Trump spoke to Woodward on Feb. 7.
“What happens on Feb. 9?” Navarro continued. “This is the most important thing. A memo — I write a memo that goes out to the task force here that basically outlines President Trump’s strategy for dealing with the virus. And, in this memo, it brings to the effect that we need N95 masks.”
‘You’re not honest with the American people!’
Clearly impatient, Tapper interrupts several more times before things quickly escalated.
“This is not fair, Jake,” Navarro said, unable to make any headway on the initial question Tapper asked. “You’re constantly interrupting me and you’re not letting me talk. … You just don’t like the answer!”
Tapper then accused Trump of lying to the public about the COVID-19 outbreak in the early days of the pandemic.
“Why wasn’t the president straightforward with the American people?” he demanded.
Navarro responded that Trump was nothing but straightforward and said that Tapper was “cherry-picking” his information and skewing the narrative in doing so.
Tapper then claimed that the president was always aware that COVID-19 was “deadlier than the flu” and had lied to the American public just two weeks after making such an admission.
“You’re not answering the question,” Tapper insisted.
“You’re not honest with the American people!” Navarro shot back. “CNN is not honest with the American people. Do you want to go there? We can do that. … I answered your question. … I answered the question repeatedly, Jake. You just didn’t like the answer.”
Tapper then cut off Navarro, and thanked him for appearing on the show.
“I would just like to remind the American people watching that the United States has less than 5% of the world’s population, and the United States has more than 20% of the world’s coronavirus deaths,” he closed. “That is a fact. It does not matter how many times he insults CNN.”