- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 10, 2020

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday called President Trump “the biggest threat to the American people” over revelations about his handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Ms. Whitmer slammed the president during a press conference in response to excerpts from reporter Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book about the Trump administration recently made available.

Speaking in Lansing, Ms. Whitmer accused the Trump administration of being “reckless,” “ignorant” and “deceptive” with respect to countering COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“I think the biggest enemy of the state right now is the misinformation that’s coming out of the head of the state. I think the biggest threat to the American people is the American president right now,” Ms. Whitmer told reporters.

“It’s devastating, and I do not relish saying that, but the fact of the matter is there’s been so much more loss of life because we haven’t had accurate, consistent medical information just coming out of the chief executive of our nation,” Ms. Whitmer added.

Ms. Whitmer was reacting to excerpts released Wednesday from “Rage,” Mr. Woodward’s latest book, that demonstrated how the president knowingly downplayed the disease to the public in early 2020.

In February, while Mr. Trump was publicly comparing COVID-19 to the common flu, the president was at the same time privately telling Mr. Woodward it was more dangerous, the excerpts revealed.

Mr. Trump held indoor campaign rallies after telling Mr. Woodward the disease was airborne and dangerous, the excerpts revealed. He also later acknowledged having downplayed its seriousness.

Experts believe tens of thousands of lives could have been saved if the U.S. had acted just a week sooner at taking steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, Ms. Whitmer noted early Thursday.

Ms. Whitmer also noted Mr. Trump was set to hold a presidential reelection campaign event in her state Thursday evening and said she was concerned about it taking place amid the pandemic.

“If the rallies are like those he’s held in recent days in other states, there will be lots of people close together without masks on, projecting their voices. I’m concerned about it. And this is not a partisan observation. We are in a public health crisis. We all want to get out of this public health crisis. And it’s going to take everyone of us doing the right things to get out of it together and to make it as short as possible,” Ms. Whitmer said.

Mr. Trump is set to campaign Thursday evening at MBS International Airport in Freeland near Saginaw.

Sarah Matthews, White House deputy press secretary, reacted to the governor’s remarks by saying it is “absurd” to suggest Mr. Trump misled the public or concealed information that cost lives.

Mr. Trump, Ms. Matthews told The Washington Times, “always put the health of the American people first,” as evidenced by his administration’s handling thus far of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“During times of crisis, people want a leader who will make decisive actions in a calm manner and as the President noted, he didn’t want to induce unnecessary panic and was seeking to calm the nation.” Ms. Matthews told The Times.

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