CNN's Jake Tapper hosted a special show detailing the responses to the coronavirus under President Donald Trump's administration Sunday. "The Insiders," featured former Trump officials and government experts who faced off against the political campaign against the truth about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to former Homeland Security official Olivia Troye and Dr. Rick Bright, who was quickly at work in January trying to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, Tapper questioned the president's ongoing recklessness.
"The president is directly putting the health and even lives of supporters and Americans at risk by holding these rallies all over the country," said Tapper. "No masks, no distancing. Do you think he realizes that? Do you think he understands he is putting their health at risk?"
Troye said she doesn't know how Trump doesn't understand given he's regularly briefed by experts expressing concern about the virus.
"He has been briefed on how contagious the virus is," she told Tapper. "He has been told by the experts on the task force, Dr. [Anthony] Fauci and Dr. [Deborah] Birx and others who are -- every day -- have said this virus is very contagious and it spreads very easily and it spreads especially in mass gatherings. He still continues to behave this way."
Tapper recalled an interview with Dr. Fauci in which he said that Trump is "asking for trouble" by having his massive gatherings.
Troye went on to say that she saw senior White House officials look away from Fauci and "roll their eyes" while he was trying to brief the president.
"Or they would try to put it back and say, 'Well, can't you spin the data this way? We are looking at -- where we're not increasing cases. Isn't it true that cases are decreasing? Isn't it true that children are immune?'" she recalled. "These are people who do not have any medical or scientific backgrounds. I saw this happen again when he would speak out publicly. I saw them try to manipulate the press briefings at the White House. I was complicit in that, Jake. I was the person that would have to call him at times when he was on his way and say, Dr. Fauci, you are not needed today, I'm sorry."
She said that it was because the White House didn't want Fauci delivering the "facts," which might conflict with Trump's reality. It wasn't just him, however. She said that Trump did it to Dr. Birx and Dr. Robert Redfield.
Trump "still refuses to admit that we have a problem," said Dr. Bright. "The first action to get through any challenge, any crisis, is to admit you have a problem. His rhetoric today still tells us he is in complete denial. He forces everyone to believe and buy-in and repeat that narrative. That narrative is what's causing more deaths today. He needs to admit the truth, and he needs to be honest with Americans. He has not done that yet."