WHITE House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany got into a heated debate with Jim Acosta after the CNN correspondent accused President Trump of "not telling the truth" about the coronavirus.
Acosta pointed out that Trump claimed the virus "affects virtually nobody" at an Ohio campaign rally – even as the number of COVID-19 deaths in the US reached 200,000.
"At 200,000 deaths, shouldn't the president be telling people the truth about this virus at his rallies?" Acosta asked McEnany during a Tuesday briefing.
The comments Acosta took issue were made Monday.
"It affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems, and other problems," Trump said of COVID-19, which has infected 6.8million Americans so far.
"If they have other problems, that's what it really affects, that's it," he continued. "You know, in some states thousands of people, nobody young. Below the age of 18, like nobody."
McEnany was quick to defend the president, accusing Acosta of taking his words out of context.
"The president is telling people the truth," McEnany began, before Acosta interrupted her with, "No, he's not."
"He's saying it 'affects virtually nobody,' and it doesn't affect young people. He is not telling the truth," Acosta added.
"You are taking the president out of context," McEnany said, before saying that the president was talking about young people, but he was also "sharing critical information."
Still, Acosta persisted that the president of the United States downplayingthe severity of the virus is dangerous and dismissive.
"For the president, with 200,000 deaths, to go to a rally and say it virtually affects nobody and that in some states it's not affecting young people, that is glossing over the fact, and really diminishing the fact, that young people can catch this virus and spread it to older people," he said.
"Younger people can also be sickened and killed by the virus," he added.
McEnany fired back with a list of states where nobody under the age of 18 has been killed by the coronavirus.
"And as you may not know, Jim," she added. "The Covid has a .01 percent mortality rate for people under the age of 18."
"It is not a disease that affects young people in the same way as older people, which is the exact point the president was making last night."
The Trump Administration has been heavily criticized for how they've handled the coronavirus pandemic, with many accusing the president of downplaying the severity of the virus so that the economy could be re-opened.
Trump was recorded in a February interview with Bob Woodward admitting that he knew the virus was "deadly stuff" and that it was five times "more deadly" than the flu.
Still, he downplayed those facts when the virus first began making the rounds in the US in March.
Asked about his comments, Trump said if he downplayed what he knew about the virus, he only did so to reduce "panic."
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