President Trump has stepped up the administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak—and he is apparently trying to retroactively step up his level of concern. The president claimed Tuesday that he always knew that it was a pandemic, contradicting months of statements downplaying or even mocking the level of risk, reports the New York Times. "This is a pandemic," Trump said Tuesday. "I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic." The Times notes that on Jan. 22, when asked if he was worried about a pandemic, Trump said: "No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine."
In recent weeks, Trump has also attacked Democrats and the media over the outbreak, calling it the rival party's "new hoax," the Hill reports. On March 9, he tweeted: "The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant" and quoted the surgeon general as saying "the risk is low to the average American." When he spoke to reporters Tuesday, the president denied changing his mind about the outbreak. "No, I’ve always viewed it as very serious," Trump said. "There was no difference yesterday from days before. I feel the tone is similar, but some people said it wasn’t." (Read more coronavirus stories.)