“Were you ever warned early on by the intelligence community that this was coming?” the Fox News host asked.
“You know, I want to be careful talking about specific intelligence,” Mnuchin replied. “But let me be clear — and this is not just in the U.S., this is around the world.”
"Nobody expected this to take off at the rate it did.”
ESPECIALLY MR. TRUMP
“The situation has changed very quickly and the president has responded to that,” he added.
The Treasury secretary, however, declined to say if the Trump administration ignored intelligence officials on the COVID-19 outbreak.
Poll: Most Americans don’t trust Trump on coronavirus information
The president’s trust ratings regarding the pandemic rank lower than other prominent sources of information.
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Tuesday shows that only 37 percent of those polled have either “a good amount” or “a great deal” of trust in the the information they hear from the president about the coronavirus, while 60 percent say they do “not very much” or “not at all” trust Trump’s words on the subject.
An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday reports that 55 percent of respondents approve of Trump’s management of the public health crisis, while 43 percent disapprove. The latest figures represent a boost in the president’s rating from the previous iteration of the survey, published one week ago, which showed only 43 percent approval for Trump and 54 percent disapproval.
In a brutally blunt piece for the New York Times, columnist Jennifer Senior went scorched earth on Donald Trump for his lie-filled performances in the now daily press briefings on the coronavirus pandemic — suggesting the media call them what they are: presidential “propaganda.”
“In a time of global emergency, we need calm, directness and, above all, hard facts. Only the opposite is on offer from the Trump White House. It is therefore time to call the president’s news conferences for what they are: propaganda,” she wrote. “We may as well be watching newsreels approved by the Soviet Politburo. We’re witnessing the falsification of history in real time. When Donald Trump, under the guise of social distancing, told the White House press corps on Thursday that he ought to get rid of 75 to 80 percent of them — reserving the privilege only for those he liked — it may have been chilling, but it wasn’t surprising. He wants to thin out their ranks until there’s only Pravda in the room.”