Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, on Sunday defended calling the novel coronavirus outbreak "contained" just days before large swaths of the country were forced to shelter inside their homes.
In an interview on ABC's This Week, host Martha Raddatz asked the White House adviser why he was predicting "weeks, not months" of economic turmoil due to the global pandemic.
"How can you be sure this economic tragedy won't be longterm if there's not a guarantee people will have jobs to return to?" Raddatz said. "I don't see how it can be just weeks."
"Well, listen, I say that -- weeks -- it could be four weeks, it could be eight weeks," Kudlow replied. "I say that hopefully and I say that prayerfully. That's what some of the science experts have been telling us. I don't know if they'll be right."
Raddatz interrupted to point out that Kudlow had called the COVID-19 outbreak "contained" in an interview on CNBC.
"It was just a month ago you told CNBC that you thought the virus was contained in the country even though doctors were warning otherwise," Raddatz observed. "You also downplayed the threat of a long-lasting economic tragedy."
"Why should people trust you?" the ABC News host wondered.
"I'm as good as the facts are," Kudlow replied. "And at the time I made the statement, the facts were [that the virus was] contained, the president had just put the travel restrictions on China. And a lot of people agreed with me. A lot of people felt that the flu was worse than this virus."
"But as soon as the facts changed, we changed our whole posture," he insisted