Top senior health officials on Saturday, Sept. 12, came to President Donald Trump’s defense against allegations by journalist Bob Woodward about the the president’s handling of the CCP Virus (coronavirus).

Woodward claimed in his new book that President Trump said he knew the CCP Virus was “deadly” but downplayed the virus in public.

However, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and HHS Secretary Alex Azar insisted that the president used the best scientific advice to make crucial decisions and saved lives, according to the Washington Examiner. 

“President Trump has sought the counsel of the White House task force doctors throughout the COVID-19 [CCP Virus] response. He has relied on the data and science, presented to him at that time, to make decisive decisions to protect the health and safety of the American people,” Redfield told the Examiner.

According to The Washington Post, “The president reportedly told Woodward on a Feb. 7 call, ‘You just breath the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so, that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.'”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House’s CCP Virus response team, was one of the first health officials who countered Woodward’s allegations.

Fauci said that he does not believe the president intentionally “distorted” information about the virus and that President Trump delivered remarks on the virus consistent with what the task force had discussed with him.

“I didn’t get any sense that he was distorting anything,” Fauci said. “I mean in my discussions with him, they were always straightforward about the concerns that we had. We related that to him. And when he would go out, I’d hear him discussing the same sort of things. He would often say, ‘We just got through with a briefing with the group from the task force,’ and would talk about it. So it may have happened, but I have not seen that kind of distortion.”

Azar echoed his colleagues’ comments, insisting that President Trump has been “receptive to the data and science” and has saved lives.

“As the secretary of health and human services, I have briefed President Trump alongside the nation’s top doctors, and I have insisted that he have direct access to these doctors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Azar said, according to the Washington Examiner. 

“He has always been receptive to the data and science presented by me and other members of the task force. President Trump’s science-based decision making has saved lives,” he added.

President Trump defended his comments, saying that he did not want to incite unwarranted panic. The president fired back at Woodward on Thursday, arguing that if he really thought the comments were “bad and dangerous,” he would have not held the quotes for months. 

“Bob Woodward had my quotes for many months. If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives?” President Trump tweeted. “Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!”

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