President Trump continued on Thursday to defend his interviews with Bob Woodward, whom he had some harsh words for. Earlier in the day, at a White House press conference, Trump snapped at a reporter following up on the Woodward tapes, apparently referencing a recording made in February in which Trump acknowledged knowing how deadly the coronavirus was—a stark contrast from the picture he was painting publicly at that time, a downplaying he admitted to in a March phone call with Woodward. "Why did you lie to the American people, and why should we trust what you have to say now?" the reporter at the presser asked, as Trump shook his head at the podium. "That's a terrible question," Trump responded, per NBC News. "I didn't lie. What I said was we had to be calm, we can't be panicked." He then called the reporter's question "disgraceful."
Then, at a Michigan rally later Thursday, Trump went after Woodward himself, insisting again that he'd initially downplayed the virus solely as an anti-panic strategy. "That's what I did." Trump told the crowd. "This whack job that wrote the book, they wanted me to come up and scream, people are dying. We have to be calm." Trump then compared himself to Winston Churchill. "When Hitler was bombing London, Churchill, a great leader, would oftentimes go to a roof in London and speak and he always spoke with calmness," Trump said. "No, we did it the right way." Politico pushes back, writing that "in reality, Churchill was unsparingly blunt about the existential threat of German fascism to Britain." Per FOX 2 Detroit, Trump also made an ambitious vow. "Before the end of the year, we will have a safe, effective vaccine," he said, telling the crowd that even without the vaccine, "we are coming around the turn." (Read more President Trump stories.)