Stephanopoulos Gets SCHOOLED on Administration’s Early COVID Response

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In a feisty appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who has proudly described himself as a national quartermaster during the pandemic, took ABC chief anchor and Clinton lackey George Stephanopoulos to school on how the Trump administration had responded in the early days of the pandemic. At one point, Stephanopoulos even seemed to concede that the facts were on Navarro’s side.

Noting that President Trump was trying to balance the response to the coronavirus with striking a better trade deal with China, Stephanopoulos attacked the President for saying nice things about China back in February. “It was President Trump who was praising China all through the month of February and, you know, there’s a lot of evidence that those lost weeks made a difference,” he claimed.

“There’s no lost weeks,” Navarro shot back. He then pointed to the ban on travel from China that was put in place in late January, while the World Health Organization was still helping China to cover-up the seriousness of the outbreak.

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Navarro recalled how he was heavily involved in the government’s response immediately following the travel ban. “We were moving on three vectors of attack in February: vaccine development, development of therapeutics like Remdesivir, and building up a capacity for things like N95 masks.”

He went on to explain how the President’s leadership helped to give rise to “beautiful fruit,” in May and beyond:

 

 

And the work we did throughout February has borne beautiful fruit here in the spring. Because what we saw on Friday in the Rose Garden, was the announcement of a 14-company race to a vaccine, with the goal of December, what we have seen is therapeutics like Remdesivir already going into hospitals right now to save American lives, and we had company like Honeywell building two factories in five weeks, George, instead of nine months – Five weeks, that’s Trump time, to produce 20 million N95 masks a month.

“So, don’t tell me we lost February. Because I was there, I’m right here, and this President was directing us to move as quickly as possible, even as publicly we were trying to figure out in the fog of war just how serious this pandemic would be,” Navarro said.

Stephanopoulos appeared to relent and admitted that “it is true, according to all accounts, you were working quite hard in the month of February.

Earlier in their discussion, after Navarro had mentioned that China had taken down the U.S. economy in 30 days with their pandemic, Stephanopoulos swiftly put words in his guest’s mouth and proclaimed: “So, you’re saying they deliberately unleashed the COVID virus on the United States. Do you have any evidence for that?

“I did not say they deliberately did it,” Navarro promptly corrected the record. He then rhetorically held Stephanopoulos’s hand as he walked him through the timeline of events with China hiding the virus since November with the help of the WHO. “They could have kept it in Wuhan, instead it became a pandemic,” he said, after noting that they allowed infected people to leave the country and spreading it to the world.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

ABC’s This Week
May 17, 2020
9:02: 24 a.m. Eastern

(…)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We begin with the response this morning from one of the President’s top advisers — President Trump’s top advisers during this crisis, Peter Navarro. Mr. Navarro, thank you for joining us this morning. You know, President Obama continued this in his second commencement address last night, suggesting that “things are screwed up because people in charge are taking the easy way out.” Your response.

PETER NAVARRO: Well, I’m glad Mr. Obama has a new job as Joe Biden’s press secretary. I note for the record that in his speech that I read there was no mention of manufacturing, no mention of China, as far as I’m concerned, his administration was a kumbaya of incompetence, in which we saw millions of manufacturing jobs go off to China. His new normal was a flat line in terms of wage growth.

I’m happy to report that this President, Donald J. Trump in 3 1/2 years built the most beautiful economy in modern history and the Chinese did take that down in about 30 days, but we are in the process right now of rebuilding that. And this President, Donald J. Trump is the one who has the skills to do so.

Because you know what, George, what we’re going to do is, we’re going to back to the future. Buy American, deregulate, and innovate. What do I mean by that? Bring the jobs home, make it here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say the Chinese took down the American economy. So, you’re saying they deliberately unleashed the COVID virus on the United States. Do you have any evidence for that?

NAVARRO: I did not say they deliberately did it. But their China virus – Let’s go over the facts here. Correctly me if I’m wrong. The virus was spawned in Wuhan, province, patient zero was in November. The Chinese, behind the World Health Organization for two months, hid the virus to the world. And then sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese on aircraft to Milan, New York, and around the world to seed that. They could have kept it in Wuhan, instead it became a pandemic. So, that’s why I say the Chinese did that to Americans and they are responsible.

Now, George, one other thing I think that’s unconscionable about the Chinese behavior as we speak. We signed a trade deal on January 15 and they promised not to steal our intellectual property. Big part of that deal. Guess what. The FBI has now issued warnings that the Chinese government is hacking the intellectual property so they can steal vaccines for the world and what would they do it? It wouldn’t be a benign experience. They’d use that vaccine to profiteer and hold the world hostage.

So yes, I do blame the Chinese. And it would be really interesting, George, as to how this election unfolds because you got Joe Biden, who has been a long friend of China versus President Trump, who’s the only president whose ever to stood up to China.

(…)

STEPHANOPOULOS: It was President Trump who was praising China all through the month of February and, you know, there’s a lot of evidence that those lost weeks made a difference.

NAVARRO: There’s no lost weeks. This starting gun for the China pandemic started on January 30th when President Trump had the courage to pull down the flights from China. That was an enormously courageous decision. He took a lot of heat from that. And from that day – and I was personally involved in a lot of this – we were moving on three vectors of attack in February: vaccine development, development of therapeutics like Remdesivir and building up a capacity for things like N95 masks.

And the work we did throughout February has borne beautiful fruit here in the spring. Because what we saw on Friday in the Rose Garden, was the announcement of a 14-company race to a vaccine, with the goal of December, what we have seen is therapeutics like Remdesivir already going into hospitals right now to save American lives, and we had company like Honeywell building two factories in five weeks, George, instead of nine months – Five weeks, that’s Trump time, to produce 20 million N95 masks a month.

So, don’t tell me we lost February. Because I was there, I’m right here, and this President was directing us to move as quickly as possible, even as publicly we were trying to figure out in the fog of war just how serious this pandemic would be.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, you mentioned what was going on in the month of February, and it is true, according to all accounts, you were working quite hard in the month of February. Including the account of whistle-blower Richard Bright; talks about several meetings with you during the month of February.

On all the issues you just mentioned, he said you and he were allies on this trying to break through road blocks coming from HHS and other parts of the government.

(…)

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