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CNN anchor confronts senior Trump campaign adviser after motorcade: Trump's 'downplaying the virus'

The Hill logo The Hill 10/4/2020 John Bowden
Jason Miller wearing a suit and tie: CNN anchor confronts senior Trump campaign adviser after motorcade: Trump's 'downplaying the virus' © Getty CNN anchor confronts senior Trump campaign adviser after motorcade: Trump's 'downplaying the virus'

CNN anchor Ana Cabrera battled Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller on Sunday over whether President Trump and his campaign had followed the necessary protocols for preventing the spread of COVID-19 over the past few months.

In a lengthy interview with Miller, Cabrera repeatedly challenged the Trump aide over the president's frequent refusal to wear masks in public appearances, the lack of mask requirements at the campaign's rallies and audio published by The Washington Post in which Trump can be heard admitting that he downplayed the virus's danger in an attempt to avoid causing panic.

"He's been downplaying the virus, and let's just be honest, let's call a spade a spade," Cabrera told Miller. "He hasn't worn a mask every time, he's been holding these rallies without social distancing, without most of the people in the crowd wearing masks."

"Even as he goes out there, he's not taking the simple precautions that could save lives," Cabrera added at another point, cutting Miller off after he attempted to defend the president's behavior. "Jason, let's be clear: The president is in the hospital right now because he contracted the virus and he has put himself at risk by conducting the business the way he has."

Trump revealed early Friday morning that he had been diagnosed with coronavirus. The interview with Miller came shortly after Trump left his hospital room at Walter Reed Military Medical Center to wave at supporters outside from the back of an SUV.

Miller attempted to deflect criticism to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden during the interview, accusing the former vice president of supporting regulations aimed at stopping the virus that Miller said were too restrictive.

"Everyone around him was tested, and still, somehow, he contracted it," Miller said. "My whole point earlier is that there's a whole lot of things we just don't know [about the virus.]"

"Every time I'm with him, I'm tested about an hour in advance," Miller added.

The exchange comes as the White House has put out numerous contradictory statements over the past 72 hours regarding the president's health, with White House physician Sean Conley even admitting that he gave vague information about whether the president had been receiving supplemental oxygen in an attempt to be "upbeat" about Trump's health status.

At a press conference Sunday, Conley insisted that his statements had been aimed at preventing the president's illness from being steered "in another direction."

"I didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn't necessarily true," he said.

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