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Trump denies disparaging service members or minimizing pandemic threat on ABC News town hall

ABC News
President Trump during an ABC News town hall.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- Exactly seven weeks before Election Day and two weeks before the first presidential debate, President Donald Trump was facing uncommitted voters in a 90-minute town hall special hosted by ABC News from the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

Asked Tuesday night by an uncommitted voter at "The President and the People," why he would "downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities," Trump denied ever understating the disease's threat.

"Yeah, well, 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.

As evidence of his claim that he "up-played" the disease "in terms of action," Trump cited a pair of travel bans imposed against China and Europe in February and March. But pressed by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, who moderated the town hall, about "his own words" about the pandemic threat, Trump said, "We did a very, very good job when we put that ban on."

"Whether you call it 'talent' or 'luck,' it was very important," Trump continued, "so we saved a lot of lives when we did that."

The president has faced backlash in recent days after comments he made to journalist Bob Woodward in March which appeared to conflict with his dismissive public stance on the virus at the time -- a virus that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic populations.

Meantime, presented with the allegations in The Atlantic magazine that he made disparaging comments about American troops, Trump slammed the reporting as "fake."

"It's easy because I never made those statements," Trump said, defending that he wanted to visit the cemetery on his 2018 trip to Paris. "As far as John McCain, I was never a fan of John McCain. I never thought he treated our vets well. He didn't do the job. I was never a fan of his. And I think that's fine and everybody knows that and I said it to his face."

Trump went on to say his actions in office show his support for the military.

"I have done so much for our vets and for our military. I rebuilt our military. Our military, when I came into this great office, our military was depleted, it was in the worst shape it was in probably ever. It was depleted. The planes were old and broken, the ships, everything. You see what I've done. I've rebuilt, $2.5 trillion. And you think that was easy getting that money from Democrats? Because they don't like the military," Trump claimed.

Asked how he responds to former top military advisers in his administration like former Defense Secretary James Mattis and former national security adviser John Bolton who have each publicly said he's unfit for office, Trump painted them as "disgruntled employees."

"Mattis was a highly overrated general. He didn't do the job. He didn't do good on ISIS," Trump said, continuing to insist he fired Mattis, though Mattis says he resigned. "John Bolton, all he wanted to do is blow people up."

Trump went on to say Americans deploying to the Middle East has been "the worst decision in the history of our country" and he's working to move more troops out.

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  1. love how much the media scutinizes anything trump says but they’re ignoring Harris saying she’ll be president and Biden saying the same. What a crock. ….don’t act surprised when it’s a wash

      1. I did see the ambush by the liberal marxists from all sides and Mr Trump answered all the questions asked even as they interrupted constantly. Mr Trump owned the night. Like to see biden be asked the same questions. He would faint and fart as he goes down from exhaustion after 3 minutes.

        1. All Biden can do is run from the reporters. He needs his teleprompter. The Democraps are perpetrating a big hoax that will unravel November. The man has dementia and clearly unfit to be the POTUS.

    1. President Trump allegedly disparaging service members was fake news and totally debunked. Your TDS is getting worse. Why don’t you stop lying and tell the truth that you are that dumbass psycho Alberto Velarde.

  2. Deny, Distort, Deflect. Trump was like a fish out of water. No Trumpies to agree with everything “the greatest president of all time and space,” had to say. Looked like a deer in the headlights when the lady basically told him to shut up and let her finish her question. For psychopath Trump ignorance is Strength, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, and 2+2 is 5.

  3. Hard to believe that in a Free and Democratic country many people believe 100 percent of what a political leader such as Trump has to say to them. No questions asked, no analysis, no dissension just a million heads nodding their heads in simultaneous agreement to the words coming out of their leader’s mouth. Reminds me of the Hitler rallies in Nuremberg or Mussolini speaking before the Italian Parliament. Hard to believe that these people have not learned from History and to always question their government leader’s motives or ultimate goals.

    1. Hey moron the U.S. is a constitutional republic. BTW – No one believed Obama. Well over 64 million Americans will vote for President Trump this November for obvious reasons. That will include 20% of blacks and 40% Latinos. JO HO 2020 is a total trainwreck and will be DOA. Game over.

    2. That is completely wrong. I can’t speak for everyone who supports him but I do my research. When he says things that don’t quite add up, I do question them and I look into it. More often than not he turns out to be right. The so-called “lies” occur when the media suddenly change the narrative or flat out change the stories to make his comments APPEAR to be wrong. The media OWN the left. Now go back to your basement and play your video games.

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