Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Sunday lambasted President Donald Trump for downplaying the coronavirus pandemic, saying the president’s actions cost lives in the city and around the country.
“If we had known and had leadership that didn’t say ‘calm,’ but actually allowed us to do the work and provided us the resources to do so we would have taken action much earlier, and thousands of lives in my city, and obviously, maybe tens of thousands if not 100,000 lives in America could have been saved,” Garcetti said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Asked if he would have acted sooner to issue the city’s stay-at-home order, Garcetti responded: “Unquestionably.”
L.A.’s more than 10 million residents were ordered to stay at home on March 19. At the time, there were 231 coronavirus cases confirmed countywide.
“This was a rough week for the president, because he’s failing on the basics — the basics of supporting our troops, the basics of responding to a fire, the basics of managing the worst health pandemic that we have had,” Garcetti said.
A total of 253,985 people in L.A. County have tested positive for the coronavirus and 6,208 people have died. Nationwide, more than 194,000 people have died of COVID-19.
“We were the first city to close things down, the first city to offer widespread testing, but we had to do it alone,” Garcetti said.
The mayor’s criticism comes after journalist Bob Woodward released recordings of calls with the president from the early days of the pandemic, in which Trump said he deliberately minimized the danger of the coronavirus.
“I wanted to always play it down,” the president is heard saying. “I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”
In a Feb. 7 call with Woodward, Trump said of the virus: “You just breathe 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 flus.”
“This is deadly stuff,” Trump said.