Chuck Todd pressed HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Meet the Press Sunday over President Donald Trump’s public health messaging being at odds with top officials like the head of the CDC.
Azar defended the administration’s response to the pandemic and said “we’ve seen incredible progress thanks to the vigilance of the American people,” talking up “President Trump’s and my call to action to individual responsibility.”
Todd questioned if he really think the pandemic response can be considered successful with the death toll reaching 200,000.
“I mourn the death of any American from this absolutely unprecedented pandemic,” Azar said. “I remember though that Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci have said that if the president had not taken the aggressive actions that we took, we could have lost as many as two million Americans. So, we don’t want anyone to die in this country from this disease, but the aggressive actions, closing our borders, shutting down our economy, controlling most of the global supply of Remdesivir, bringing convalescent plasma to people, changing the death rate of people 70 and over in hospitalization in April from over 30 percent to now down near five percent, these are the changes that should bring people hope for the future.”
At one point Todd brought up the president publicly contradicting his own CDC director, with Robert Redfield talking up the effectiveness of masks and even saying “I might even go so far as to say that this facemask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine” and Trump subsequently publicly saying what his own top official said was not correct.
“I believe if you asked him, he would probably say he didn’t understand the question.”⁰⁰Trump also said CDC director Redfield is mistaken in claiming masks would do more to protect against coronavirus than a vaccine pic.twitter.com/N7Guy8UJGn
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) September 16, 2020
“Who should the American public listen to when it comes to masks?” Todd asked. “You and Dr. Redfield, or the president?”
Azar defended the president and said he was making a point that “there’s not an equivalence between masks and vaccines.”
You can watch above, via NBC.
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