"Special Report" anchor Bret Baier pressed Trump 2020 campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh Thursday over his claim that there was no difference between President Trump's statements on the coronavirus pandemic to journalist Bob Woodward earlier this year and what Trump was telling Americans publicly.
"The things that are being said in there [to Woodward] are the same things that President Trump has said publically," said Murtaugh, to which Baier responded: "That's not true, Tim. That's not true."
"Yes it is," Murtaugh shot back.
"He was saying publically that the virus would go from 15 [cases] to 0 and that it was magically going to wash away," Baier answered. "That is not the same thing he’s telling Bob Woodward – that it’s a deadly virus, that it travels over the air, that it’s very serious, that I like to downplay it. He was not saying the same things publicly as he was to Bob Woodward."
Baier was referring to audio excerpts from interviews Woodward conducted with Trump in February and March that were published by The Washington Post Wednesday. The interviews form the basis for Woodward's forthcoming book, "Rage."
"It was public knowledge at the time … and it was discussed in coronavirus briefings," Murtaugh said. "Everyone knew that it was transmitted through coughing and sneezing and the president –
"OK," Baier interrupted, "but what you just said is what he was saying privately and publically was the same. It's not."
"Dr. Fauci says it is the same," Murtaugh responded. "You just played the sound bite. Dr. Fauci said there's no appreciable difference between what the president was discussing privately versus what he was saying publicly"
"The question was, was the president being straight with the American people?" Murtaugh added later in the segment. "And he was. Every step of the way, the President was straight with the American people. There's no question of that."