President Donald Trump defended himself at Thursday’s news conference as he raised more questions after telling renowned journalist Bob Woodward months ago that he was downplaying the coronavirus.

“I’m not lying. I’m saying ‘We have to be calm. We can’t panic.'” Trump said a reporter asked him.” Why did you lie?”

Trump said the wording of the question was “a disgrace.”

The president was then asked why he told Woodward that COVID-19 was worse than the most virulent flu, but then told the public that it was just like the flu. Trump said “What I went out and said was simple. I want to show a level of confidence, I want to show strength as a leader, I want to show that our country is going to be okay no matter what.”

Trump then repeated the point he made on Twitter earlier in the day, saying Woodward could have reported his comments earlier. And at the start of the White House press briefing, Trump sounded optimistic about the coronary crisis.

“I really believe we’re turning a corner and the vaccine is there. But not even discussing the vaccine or the therapeutics, we’re beating around the bush.” He said.

Related. Coronavirus Update – With more than 190,000 deaths in the U.S., experts slammed Trump for downplaying the virus.

Trump’s comments came 54 days before the Nov. 3 election, which gave Democratic challenger Joe Biden a 3.9-point advantage over the Republican incumbent in a RealClearPolitics moving average poll that focused on the top swing states that could decide the race for the White House. Betting markets give the former vice president a 53 percent chance of winning, compared with Trump’s 46.3 percent.

Biden condemned Trump over developments in the Woodward case, calling it “a betrayal of the American people in life and in death” on Wednesday.

In Thursday’s news conference, Trump also said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will leave for Qatar on Thursday evening to attend the “start of intra-Afghan peace talks”, he also laid out the administration’s withdrawal plan in Afghanistan, as well as the drawdown plan in Iraq.

“We will be down to 4,000 soldiers in a very short period of time. Likewise, Iraq will be down to about 2,000 soldiers in a very short period of time,” he said.

On Thursday evening, Trump will give a campaign speech in Michigan, following Biden‘s visit to that swing state on Wednesday.

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